Tuesday, September 20, 2011

At the Riverside Museum

I've been looking forward to my first visit to Glasgow's new transport museum. I remember visiting the first one in the old tram depot in Albert Drive in 1964. Then, after the 1985 Air Canada Silver Broom World Curling Championship in the Kelvin Hall, the museum moved into that space in 1987. I was a regular visitor.

There has been lots of publicity about the new Riverside Museum since it opened this summer. I'd certainly heard some negative comments, but I tried to have an open mind as I drove up to Glasgow today. Would I be disappointed?

In fact, I think it is absolutely first class! I love the design of the building, and there's just so much to see inside. The place is stuffed with exhibits. Yes, it's very different from what went before, everything seems jumbled up, but once I got my head around that, I just loved the place.

Here are just a few of my personal highlights from today.

You will not be surprised that this Class 15F South African locomotive, built by the North British Locomotive Works in Polmadie in 1945, tops my list!

Old friends. I liked how I could sit in the bottom deck of the tram and listen to an AV presentation on how women conductors were recruited during the first World War, and soon thereafter, women became drivers too.

More old friends...

... with better access than before. This is the cab of Glen Douglas, HR 103, built in 1913.

I was pleased to see that this Triumph Mayflower was on display, even if it was on a shelf halfway up a wall. First car I ever owned, and I was so proud of it back in 1965!

I found this exhibit fascinating, showing as it does an early dirt track bike with the story of George Pinkerton, 'From rhubarb farmer to spitfire pilot'!

Happy memories of visiting the White City in the sixties as a speedway fan!

More steam power!

I can hardly believe this steam powered car!

They've done the old street very well...

... with memories of 'The Subway' and this early cable railway carriage, and exhibit on how it operated, before the whole system was converted to electricity.

This was my number one 'find'. The subway carriage has become a cinema where you can watch a back projected 28-minute period wartime drama, with 17 actors and 36 extras boarding and alighting at the various underground stations. Absolutely first class, very well done indeed. Read more about this here.

Top marks to 55degrees, the multimedia production company which put this together, although I see that the company now appears to be in liquidation (here).

I am already looking forward to my next visit, to explore other aspects of 'transport' at the museum, and to see if I can figure out why a stuffed zebra is on show next to the upstairs cafe.

Pix © Skip Cottage

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