All of last week I was meaning to write up the Glasgow Doors Open Day but then I got hit with the Edinburgh one too. In the absence of any fully detailed piece (other than the one I wrote on Govanhill baths), here’s my Doors Open Day run-down from 10 to 1, pop-pickers! I’d say it was my top 10, but actually, it was my only 10. Still, that’s at least 8 better than I’ve done any other year.
10) Tobacco Merchant’s House, Glasgow. Lovely building from the outside, but on the inside, it’s just ordinary offices. Did have some great maps of old Glasgow downstairs though, showing how it developed over the centuries. I’m a sucker for a good map.
9) Society of Musicians, Edinburgh. A lovely building and interesting to hear it has a wee turret room that can’t be accessed! But a bit well-kept for my taste.
8 ) Trades Hall, Glasgow. I never knew this existed. It does have a fabulous large hall with information about the different trades. Certainly worth popping in but I wouldn’t put it at the top of a tour.
7) Merchant’s House, Glasgow. Similarly, somewhere that I had no idea about. Had fabulous wallpaper that was like anaglypta on steroids.
6) Drumsheugh Baths Club, Edinburgh. Loved the trapeze and rings over the baths! Nice building too.
5) Royal Faculty of Procurators, Glasgow. Oh, the libraries. Sigh. Gorgeous (apologies for poor cameraphone pic). Again, a building I’ve been past a load of times and never noticed.
4) Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. It was actually really difficult to put items 2-4 in order here, they were all fabulous! This music hall is the oldest operational music hall in the UK and possibly in the world. Tremendously atmospheric, and very interesting to hear about its history and see all the stuff they found under the floorboards! I was really wishing I had taken photos here, but I don’t think my photography skills would have been up to the low lighting. There’s a great pic at the top of their webpage.
3) Tour of Calton Old Burial Ground. I think I have rarely learnt so much on a short tour as I did on this one. I had no idea that the Church of Scotland was ambivalent about grave markers and that’s why many rather notable people do not have their names on their graves. I love a nice opinionated guide too. I think one of the things that Doors Open Day does best is give you access to people who are really passionate, rather than smooth professional tour guides. Marvellous.
2) Fairfield’s shipping offices. Fabulous space with great light upstairs where the draughtsmen were. Beautiful fittings unlike anything you would see in an office space nowadays! Enormous community involvement (including a slightly wobbly rendition of “the river Clyde, the wonderful Clyde” by a kids’ chorus). I’ve driven past this building before but never noticed it, so it was great to see inside and find out about the plans for its future.
1) Govanhill Baths of course!