Your University, One Photo at a Time

T is for… Tower [ABC Sundae]

T is for... Tower [ABC Sundae] When thinking about something around and about the University beginning with the letter ‘T’, the first thing that comes to mind is naturally the one thing on campus which you cannot miss, one that’s very likely the most photographed part of the University and one of its most recognizable features: The University Tower, frequently referred to as merely The Tower.

The Gilmorehill campus was built resemble the original campus on High Street, as the Old College contained a clock tower built in 1686. (Tidbit: A gold-tipped lightning conductor was attached to the tower in 1772, and it was the only one in Glasgow for nearly forty years.) Think of the Main Building as an upgrade to the Old College. When building the centrepiece of the new campus, Sir George Gilbert Scott, the architect who the building is named after, included a tall belltower twice the height of the one at the Old College, incorporating the old bells but leaving out the old clockface.

What is now one of Glasgow’s most recognizable landmarks, the Glasgow University Tower stands at some 85m tall and offers fantastic panoramic views in all directions. Financial difficulties and the death of the original architect in 1877 left the top of the tower without its signature spire and turrets, and other parts of the building were left unfinished until the original architect’s son, John Oldrid Scott, finished the job in 1887-1891. It’s a good thing the tower was finished, as without the spire it looked rather odd. TheGlasgowStory website has an old photograph of what the tower looked like pre-spire, which you can find here.

In order to get up to the tower, one must enter a narrow door on the upper levels of the Main Building and proceed up a very narrow and winding staircase some 200 steps in the north-west corner of the tower. If you’re claustrophobic, it’s not the most comfortable of hikes.

Unfortunately students and visitors are no longer allowed to the top of the tower because of safety concerns. Being built to the safety standards of the 1870s, it is no longer considered safe. The only thing stopping you from falling off it is a very low railing. I’ve also heard rumours that the tower itself is structurally unsound and in need of repair, or alternatively in need of a very high railing. I keep checking every now and then if the tower is open to visitors again, and if that day comes during my time at the University of Glasgow, you’ll hear about it here.

More photos of the University Tower, from pretty much every conceivable angle, can be found here.

ABC Sundae is a fortnightly theme day, occurring every other Sunday, one letter of the alphabet at a time. Click here for more ABC Sundae.

[Poll #12: What is your favourite place to study for exams?]
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© 2010 GlasgowUniPhoto.com

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