Hidden Gems of Garnethill

-When you work from home, it’s easy to let your world become very small. Some days I realise that I’ve only gone as far as the wheelie bin (don’t you envy my rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?).

I’ve written about suffering from cabin fever before and how important it’s for me to get out and about and not to stagnate at home. I can’t complain, I’m very lucky to live in a beautiful countryside setting and there’s a lot to be inspired by on my doorstep.  But it’s healthy to meet new people and learn new things, especially about the past and how it has shaped the world we live in today.

downloadI studied Higher History at school and have always had a fascination for the stories behind people and places.  But when I was at school, the history lessons were as dry as a stick, copying from textbooks and basically being taught to pass a test. There were no field trips to bring the subject alive and it’s surprising that my interest in history survived a very dull school experience.

gwl-logoThat’s why I’m making up for lost time and looking for experiences that will educate and inspire me more than my schooldays. Thanks to Twitter, I came across the work of the Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) and was intrigued to see that they organise a series of heritage walks around the city with different themes.  I love Glasgow and history so it was the perfect combo.

imagesI went on my first heritage walk on Sunday afternoon with my bestie, Veronica and the added bonus was that it was a beautiful sunny day. We met up with the others and our tour guides on Sauchiehall Street to explore the, ‘Hidden Gems of Garnethill’. For those of you unfamiliar with Glasgow, Garnethill is at the heart of the city centre .  I worked for Glasgow City Council for 15 years and was based not far from Garnethill and I’ve read Denise Mina’s novel, ‘Garnethill’. But I knew little about the area and had never taken the time to stop and appreciate its grand tenements, painted gables, park chockablaock with public art, stunning synagogue and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s world famous Glasgow School of Art (GSA) building. These are just a few of the fascinating landmarks which helped to tell the stories of some of the most remarkable achievements of women in Glasgow’s history.

Our brilliant tour guides told us about the women who pioneered European art movements, designed the banners for suffragette processions, created the first women’s Library in Scotland and made Garnethill the vibrant community it is today. I now plan to do the tour of the inside of GSA and visit the National Trust for Scotland’s Tenement House which is an amazing time capsule of life in the early 20th century.

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Our tour group learning about the talented ‘Glasgow Girls’ who once walked up the stairs of GSA.

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Scotland’s oldest synagogue opened in 1879 and is the country’s premier Jewish house of worship.

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Can you spot the ornamental ‘chookie burdies’ on top of the lamp posts? The birds were designed for a lighting project to enhance the area and relate to the city’s Coat Of Arms

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A close up of a nappy pin within the mural at Garnethill park dedicated to the International Year of the Child in 1979.

It costs £7.50 for a GWL walk which is excellent value for two hours packed with stories of inspirational women and a new perspective of Glasgow.

I aim to work my way through GWL’s other heritage walks so stay tuned…I’m booked to go on the East End heritage walk in August. I might see you there!

Do you feel the need to get out of the house and seek external inspiration too?

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5 thoughts on “Hidden Gems of Garnethill

  1. This sounds like a really interesting walk, I wish I lived nearer Glasgow! I try to seek out these kinds of walks in London, you always discover places and details you never knew and may have walked past oblivious for years.

    • Hi Robin, Yes, the walks give you a chance to stop, look and listen (I sound like the Green Cross Man!) in places you’d normally pass by at speed. I’m booked to go on another soon and hope to eventually have been on all the walks on offer.

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