Your University, One Photo at a Time

Memorial Gates

North Front in the Fog

North Front in the FogThe North Front of the Gilbert Scott Building and the Memorial Gates in the foggy night. I’m quite fond of the shadows the lights create onto University Avenue. Shame about the scaffolding covering the eastern side of the North Front (but they should be coming down by the end of the academic year).

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J is for… James II, Bishop Turnbull, and Pope Nicholas V [ABC Sundae]

J is for... James II, Bishop Turnbull, and Pope Nicholas V [ABC Sundae]The University of Glasgow was founded by James II, King of Scots, William Turnbull, Bishop of Glasgow, and Pope Nicholas V. I figured I would write a little bit about the founders. Just a tiny bit, not a full history or anything.

King James II
James II (1430-1460) reigned as King of Scots from 1437 to his death. He ascended to the throne after the assassination of his father, James I. He took up the regency in 1448 at the age of 18, having studied at the University of St Andrews, which had been founded in 1410-1413.

He died in 1460, but unlike his father he was not assassinated. No, the story is a bit weirder. Short story: James II died at the siege of Roxburgh Castle when one of his cannons exploded. Long story: An ardent supporter of artillery, James II was testing his new cannon (which he called Lion) on the battlements when he died. The cannon, as cannons from the era sometimes did, exploded, and he had insisted on standing by when they tested the cannon. The explosion shattered his right leg and he eventually died of loss of blood.

Bishop Turnbull
William Turnbull (c1400-1454), the Bishop of Glasgow, was instrumental in founding the University of Glasgow, and is considered its founder. Having studied at the Universities of St Andrews, Leuven (Belgium) and Pavia (Italy), he befriended James II upon his return and became Keeper of the Privy Seal and Royal Secretary. In 1448 he was appointed Bishop of Glasgow which he held until his death in 1454.

Turnbull believed that a University would increase the status of Glasgow (which at the time had a population of less than 3,000). Although having a history stretching back centuries and several notable ecclesiastical institutions such as the Glasgow Cathedral, it was an inconsiderable town.

Upon the establishment of the University of Glasgow, Turnbull became the first Chancellor of the University and oversaw the first years of the fledgling institution at the Glasgow Cathedral.

Pope Nicholas V
Tomaso Parentucelli (1397-1455) became Pope in 1447. He studied Theology at the University of Bologna. He issued the Papal Bull which granted the establishment of the University of Glasgow, and provided for the foundation of studies in not just law and theology, but also the study of arts for younger students.

The University of Glasgow was to be modelled after the University of Bologna, where the students had an important influence in the corporation. In the case of Glasgow, matriculated students and the Rector (who represents the students) were to be part of the general meetings of the University’s decision-making process.

Considering the three men died within a decade of the establishment of the University, and within five years of each other, it was just the right time in history for the University of Glasgow to be established.

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.

[January-February 2011 Poll: Which of the University's student media do you follow?]
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© 2011 GlasgowUniPhoto.com

1451 – Establishment of the University of Glasgow

1451 - Establishment of the University of GlasgowAs yesterday was the 560th anniversary of the University of Glasgow, I’m going to quickly recount the story of the establishment of the University of Glasgow, and its early years.

In the middle of the 15th century William Turnbull, then Bishop of Glasgow, pursued the establishment of a second University in Scotland at the encouragement of King James II, for the purpose of providing . The idea, proposed by James II to Pope Nicholas V, culminated in the issuing of a papal bull, dated January 7th, 1451, establishing a studium generale to provide classes in theology, canon and civil law, arts, and other lawful faculties. The papal bull arrived in Glasgow on June 20th that same year.

The papal bull, the only means of establishing that the university has a historic power to confer degrees, was taken to Paris in 1560 for safekeeping during the Reformation, along with other valuables of the University, including the University Mace. The Mace was returned in 1590, but the papal bull sadly remains lost.

Unfortunately, the University was not blessed with riches and significant endowments in its infancy. The founders of the University passed away very shortly after the foundation. For the first nine years of its existence classes were taught in a chapter house in the Glasgow Cathedral, as well as in the Blackfriars Church, and funds were gathered from certain small fees levied to the students. Thankfully the following decades saw endowments and land been granted to the University by benefactors, allowing the University to eventually build what came be known as the Old College on High Street.

You can read the entire text of the Papal Bull on the University of Glasgow Story website, in both the original Latin and the English translation.

The photo above is of the Memorial Gates on University Avenue.

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© 2011 GlasgowUniPhoto.com



560th Anniversary of the University of Glasgow

560th Anniversary of the University of GlasgowThe papal bull which granted permission for the foundation of the University was signed 560 years ago on this day, January 7th, 1451, by Pope Nicholas V. In other words, congratulations to the University of Glasgow! I once came across a photo of the University’s fifth centenary celebrations in 1951, when they had five spotlights beaming towards the heavens at night from the University, which you can see here. Wish I’d been here then, but being in a University that’s 560 years old is still quite fantastic. The Memorial Gates, which are visible behind the light-writing, were installed in 1951 to mark the 500th anniversary of the University of Glasgow.

The above night-time photo is from the very first time I attempted light-writing, you can see another example of this from a week ago here. I don’t know if it’s any good, but I quite like it. If people think the above is good, I’m tempted to go attempt more sometime soon.

[January-February 2011 Poll: Which of the University's student media do you follow?]
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© 2011 GlasgowUniPhoto.com

Memorial Snow Gates

Memorial Snow GatesAs you can see, there really isn’t much snow on the ground around Glasgow University, but it’s still preferable to leafless trees and constant rain. Haven’t featured the Memorial Gates in ages, so here they are, slightly covered in snow.

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Lion

Lion

The combination of a lion and a unicorn in representation of the United Kingdom goes all the way back to the Union of the Crowns in 1603 when King James VI of Scotland (King James I of England ascended to the crown after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland features two unicorns as the heraldic supporters, whereas the English Royal Arms featured various supporters, including most frequently the lion.

The unicorn was thought to rule through harmony while the lion rules through might, and the two of them symbolized the shared rule of the Scottish unicorn and the English lion over the United Kingdom. That concludes our brief history lesson into the Lion and the Unicorn.

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© 2010 GlasgowUniPhoto.com

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Unicorn

Unicorn
Residents of the UK might know the meaning behind the lion and the unicorn statues in several places around campus, but foreign students (such as myself) might not, so to the benefit of everyone who doesn’t know the meaning and symbolism behind them, here you go.

The Lion and the Unicorn are most often represented together in the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. Specifically, they are referred to as ‘heraldic supporters’. The Unicorn, seen above on top of the Memorial Gates at Glasgow University, represents Scotland. The Lion, one which sits just to the right of the above, represents England. More history in tomorrow’s post.

[Summer 2010 Poll: Where Are You From?]
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Golden Gates

Golden Gates

To make up for the gloomy Christmas shot from a few days back, here’s a glowing and golden view of the North Front of the Main Building and the Memorial Gates, taken about a week before Christmas.

Now, for a little game. Can you spot the boat? (Why is there a boat on the Memorial Gates?)

[Poll #7: What grade would you give the year 2009?]
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Memorial Gates and Round Reading Room

Memorial Gates and Round Reading Room

I’ve shown the Memorial Gates a few times, from the University Avenue side. Yes, it looks pretty much the same from the other side, except the names of the important people associated with the University of Glasgow are only on the other side.

Instead of the North Front of the Main Building, the round building on the other side of the gates is theRound Reading Room. With the exception of the University Tower and the Cloisters, the Memorial Gates is probably the most often photographed part of the University, typically from either right on the other side of the gates or from the front of the Round Reading Room. This, however, is not a typical shot. Enjoy. (I’ll get one late at night one day.)

[Poll #7: What grade would you give the year 2009?]
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The Memorial Gates at Night [Photo #100!]

Memorial Gates at Night

Today marks the 100th Photo at Glasgow University in Photos! Statistics-wise, the numbers are rising and I’m happy to be getting valuable feedback and a nod from several people at the University. I’ve been contacted by the Library staff and the Archive Services staff with kind offers of assistance. Some time in the near future I will have another week-long Theme Week featuring the library, who have offered to collaborate with me for it. (If you have anything from the Library that you would want to see featured during that week, do let me know in the comments below or through the contact form.) I’m also going to visit the Archive Services building soon on a fact-finding mission so I will be capable of offering you, the reader, more information about the University of Glasgow (basically saving you a trip to the Archives or to Wikipedia). I’ve also received visitors from the Glasgow University Student Network page, as they kindly posted a link to this blog on the Student Blogs page, as well as the Glasgow University Business School news page, which listed this blog under External News and Blogs.

I’ve featured the Memorial Gates before, but only by showing the detail for “Smith” and “Adam Smith”. This is the first successful photo of the whole of the Memorial Gates that I’ve managed to get, albeit I did inadvertently leave out King James II and William Turnbull. Oops! (For the record, the thing in the photo that kinda looks like the moon is just a glare form the street light just outside the shot.)

As this is a special 100th photo post, I won’t dwell on the Memorial Gates, instead directing you to my previous posts on the Memorial Gates, and to the fantastic University of Glasgow Story website by the Archives Services. Oh, and the Memorial Gates now has a Wikipedia entry as well. Interestingly, whoever wrote the article decided to use this blog as one of its sources. Go figure.

Anyhow, that was photo number 100! Number 101 will come tomorrow, number 102 the day after that, and so on until I graduate some 1000 photos from now in 2012!

As Freshers’ Week ’09 is just around the corner, help me out by having your say in the poll below!

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© 2009 GlasgowUniPhoto.com

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