Conference city guide: Glasgow
This article is from the October 2013 issue of Total Politics
◆ Charles Rennie Mackintosh – For devotees of the sensuous, melting forms of Art Nouveau, Glasgow is synonymous with the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His legacy can be found throughout the city, from the Renfrew Street masterpiece, the Glasgow School of Art, to the aptly named House for an Art Lover located in Bellahouston Park, just 10 minutes out of the city centre.
◆ Riverside Museum – Winner of the 2013 European Museum of the Year Award, this striking Zaha Hadid-designed edifice is the new incarnation of Glasgow’s transport museum. It houses over 3,000 objects – including ancient bicycles, more cars than you can shake a gearstick at and one of the largest locomotives on display in Britain.
◆ The University of Glasgow – Founded in 1451, Glasgow Univeristy is one of the oldest in the English speaking world. As well as boasting some imposing Gothic-style cloisters, the campus is home to the impressive collections of the Hunterian Museum. Lib Dem fanboys and girls will already know that the university also has an important (if indirect) link to the party: the future business secretary Vince Cable was an economics lecturer here from 1968-1974.
Places to eat and drink
◆ Firebird – This eatery-cum-watering hole near Glasgow University describes itself as ‘a well-established neighbourhood bar and bistro which makes sense whatever the occasion’. It promises fresh seasonal ingredients as well as nosh for every dietary requirement (including veggie and gluten-free). More formal dining takes place near the rear of the restaurant, or you can snack and watch the world go by from the more relaxed setting of a window booth.
◆ Rogano – a highly-rated oyster bar whose décor is decidedly Deco, Rogano was established in 1935 and is the oldest surviving restaurant in Glasgow. For lovers of Gatsby and/or quality seafood it is surely a must.
◆ The Pot Still – Whisky fans might feel they’ve died and gone to heaven: the gantry of this dimly lit, atmospheric little pub boasts literally hundreds of single malts. But patrons may have to play a long game to get to the bar – apparently the pub is popular not just with locals but with tourists from Japan, Germany, Sweden and the US.
Read the books
◆ Jane Harris’s tale of art and deception, Gillespie and I (2011) is set in nineteenth-century Scotland, and explores the friendship between the narrator Harriet and an artist she meets in Glasgow during the International Exhibition.
◆ Recounted in the vernacular of the Scottish working class, James Kelman’s How Late It Was, How Late follows ex-con Sammy after he wakes up in Glasgow one morning to find himself in an alley, and wearing another man’s shoes. Amid much controversy, the novel scooped 1994’s Man Booker Prize.