Riverside Museum

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Posts Tagged ‘glasgow corporation

Glasgow’s original Subway opens for business

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Here, what is thought to be the Directors and some staff of the Glasgow and District Subway pose for an opening day photo. It had taken over 5 ½ years to finish two tunnels and 15 stations.

On December 14th 1896, the Glasgow and District Subway began operation. Thousands of Glaswegians flocked for a chance to ride for only 1d (1 old pence). Only London and Budapest had built subway systems, so it must have been entirely new experience to almost all those riding it on opening day. Today, many of us take the subway for granted, but to Glaswegians of 1896, it truly was a modern marvel!

 Glasgow Museums has a large collection relating to the subway, and indeed featured a recreated subway station at the old Museum of Transport in the Kelvinhall. The new Riverside Museum will once again feature displays on the Subway, exploring its history, how it once operated by being pulled by a 6.5 mile long cable, and the people one might find while taking a trip around the city.


Written by jmessner

January 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

A glimpse of Glasgow nearly 100 years ago

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Look closely. What can you see? What can one picture tell you about the history of Glasgow?

Just one photo can say so much about the history of a city and its people. This photo was taken in 1914 by Glasgow Corporation as part of a Water and Tramways Bill. It was meant to show just how much traffic was on the streets. But, looking at the picture, you can tell so much more about Glasgow at the time. Horse carts making deliveries, men pushing a barrow, a boy selling that day’s newspaper.

The Riverside Museum curatorial team have pored over thousands of photographs during their research for the new museum. Sometimes you find things you never expected to see! You might find out how much a trip to England from Thomas Cook & Sons cost in 1914. Or what a shop was selling at on the eve of World War I.

This is one of hundreds of photographs that will feature in the new museum. You will be able to look for yourself and find out just what YOU can see when we open next spring.

Written by jmessner

November 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Remembering the women who kept Glasgow moving during World War I

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A group of female Glasgow Tramways employees ready for service. During World War I the Tramways needed all the help it could get to keep the city moving...even a miniature Charlie Chaplin seemed ready to help.

It is 1915.  Britain is at war with Germany.  Thousands of men have volunteered for the army, leaving their jobs to fight for King and Country.  Without them working their daily jobs, the nation would have come to a stand still.  Britain needed help.  Britain needed its women.

Glasgow faced a shortage of men to operate the city’s vast tram fleet.  So, a controversial experiment took place.  The Glasgow Tramways decided to take on women as drivers and conductresses.  Never before had females been allowed to work as a motorman on a tram.  Great opposition came from the press and the public.

In December of 1915 The People’s Journal reported that the general public “decided that the new departure would only end in failure.  Women were constitutionally unfit for such an onerous purpose and the majority of the tramway employees were of the same way of thinking.”

The opposition was strong, but the experiment proved a success.  Women were allowed to be motorman and conductresses, at least until the men came home!
Curator Aileen Strachan has been investigating this radical experiment from Glasgow’s rich history. The story of these pioneers and how transport impacts lives will be one of many featured in the new Riverside Museum.

Written by jmessner

November 11, 2010 at 11:45 am

Saving the seats of the Albion Venturer bus

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Maggie Dobbie and I recently went to the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust at Bridgeton bus depot, in Glasgow’s East End. We were there to remove the upper deck seats from the Albion Venturer bus, which is going on display at Riverside Museum next year.

The Venturer’s seats need a fair bit of conservation work as a lot of the leather has deteriorated and torn. We’ll soon be moving the bus from Bridgeton to the Riverside Museum, where we’ll reunite it with the seats once the conservation work is complete.

The Venturer, along with two other Glasgow Museums’ buses, has been in the care of the GVVT since 2007, when they were removed from the Museum of Transport in Kelvin Hall as part of the preparations for the move to Riverside.

In the slideshow below, you can see a few pictures of the Albion Venturer bus as well as the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust’s Bridgeton depot. For a bus journey down memory lane, please contact the trust to arrange a visit to the depot.

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Moving Stories: the journey from Albert Drive to Kelvin Hall

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When it opens in 2011, Riverside Museum will be the third home for Glasgow Museums’ transport and technology collection. Our first home was at the Glasgow Corporation Tramways’ Coplawhill car works on Albert Drive, Pollokshields – now the Tramway.

The museum opened in 1964, two years after the city ended its tram service. The redundant building made an obvious choice for Glasgow’s first transport museum. However, although a fine home, the building was difficult to maintain and was never intended to house a museum collection.

Glasgow's first Museum of Transport, now the Tramway theatre and gallery, in Albert Drive.

In 1987 the collection moved to Kelvin Hall, which at that time was undergoing renovation. Just like our move today, the planning had to be precise. The locomotives and trams needed to be carefully transported as once they are positioned, they cannot be easily shifted! The move and installation took just over a year (like Riverside’s), with the Museum of Transport at Kelvin Hall opening on 21 April 1988.

Almost 22 years later, we shut our doors at the Museum of Transport for the last time on 18 April 2010. But we look forward to welcoming visitors next spring to Riverside Museum, our transport collection’s third home.

Packed onto the back of a lorry, the Coronation tramcar leaves the Tramway in Albert Drive for the road journey to Kelvin Hall in Glasgow's West End.

Written by jmessner

September 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Riverside Slideshow: how to move a horse-drawn tram

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Last week’s Picture of the Week showed Glasgow Corporation Tramway’s 543 horse-drawn tram moving position in the Museum of Transport to make space for the manoeuvre of the Caley 123 locomotive.

So, just how do we go about moving such a large object? The slideshow below illustrates the steps we took.

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Written by ionashepherd

September 16, 2010 at 10:22 am