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.
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The little patch of grass, and the one-way road that encircles it is called Lilybank Gardens, owned and maintained by the University. The row of tenements hold within it the offices and the Departments of Public Health (1-3 Lilybank Gardens), MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit (4-7 Lilybank Gardens), Central & East European Studies (8-9 Lilybank Gardens), and Computing Science (17-18 Lilybank Gardens). 18 Lilybank Gardens is the newer Sir Alwyn Williams Building, at the right hand side of the photo. You can find a larger version here.
(I’m not sure what’s at 10-16 Lilybank Gardens, I’ll update this post after I’ve walked past it and had a closer look.)
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The several pairs of shoes hanging on a cable next to the library are sadly/finally gone, but fear not, I have found a new pair of shoes on a cable on campus! The above pair of shoes is hanging just outside the Boyd Orr Building, above a part of the car park.
I featured the Hillhead Shoes last August, although by the time I posted that particular photo, taken some months earlier, they had already been removed.
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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.)
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Continuing with the same view as yesterday, we stay with one of Glasgow’s most recognizable landmarks, the Glasgow University Tower, the spire of which was added to the tower in 1883, 13 years after the building has opened.
The University of Glasgow stands on Gilmorehill, one of the tallest spots within Glasgow. In 1864 the University bought the Gilmorehill estate for £65,000 from the Gilmorehill Company (or Gilmour Hill Company) and began development of a new campus away from the incresing squalor of High Street in the city’s East End.
The location of the Main Building is one of the best in the city, but it almost wasn’t so. In 1802 a mansion, Gilmorehill House, was built on Gilmorehill for a West Indies merchant. In 1845 is was sold and a cemetery was planned on the site. Alternatively, another plan proposed terraced housing on the side of the hill. Fortunately the lot was sold to the University of Glasgow before Glasgow got another Necropolis like the one by the Glasgow Cathedral, as opposed to the Gilbert Scott Building and its Tower as you see above.
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