Glasgow’s Garnethill Neighbourhood, Revisited. Encore!

I knew this neighbourhood because the Glasgow School of Art in a major inhabitant.  But I really didn’t know this ‘hood until I took the Garnethill Women’s History Walk offered through the Glasgow Women’s Library last October.

Now I revisit it to see old friends, (buildings and views) and to see if I can spot something new.  Or a new perspective on its buildings, art, life.  Now that The Old Schoolhouse is open and renting rooms, if you are visiting from out of town you can immerse yourself in a great location.

Hence, not a lot of words (except that I recommend a visit!!) but a few more photos.  Cheers!

A close up of a Garnethill speciality

A close up of a Garnethill speciality

Garnetbank School IMG_9097

GSA Assembly Hall

This is the building with the fire damage.

This is the building with the fire damage.

GSA Metal Window adornments

I never tire of this building; looking at it from every perspective.

I never tire of this building; looking at it from every perspective.

Willow Tea Room Tour – part of Creative Mackintosh Month in Glasgow

As part of Creative Mackintosh Month (October 2014), the Willow Tea Room offered tea and a tour,  hardly something that one could pass up – to both learn about Mackintosh and have a cup of tea in the same historical spot.  Ms. Sylvia Smith was a fountain of everything Mackintosh; a one-person archive of all things Cranston/Willow/MacK and MacD.

We started on the top floor, the billiard room where she told us the history of Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms as they were known back then.

our knowledgeable tour guide for all things Mackintosh, Cranston and Willow!

our knowledgeable tour guide for all things Mackintosh, Cranston and Willow!

The art work of Mackintosh often represented nature, often as translated by the Druids. Willow and Mistletoe were sacred in their religion; and “Sauchiehall” means Willow in Druid-speak. Mistletoe was represented in the doors.

Green mistletoe on the windows on the door

drawing of Miss Cranston's chandelier which sported individual flowers.

Drawing of Miss Cranston’s chandelier. Made of glass and crystal, it was unfortunately put into the tip when the building was sold.

Miss Cranston came from a family of prohibition activists…which at the end of the day might have been a benefit to Mackintosh as he fell under the influence of drink to his art’s demise. Miss Cranston had a keen eye for business and a kind heart. She often took young women into her care giving them careers as waitresses in the tearooms (she had four) and a place in her home as well.
Cranston had an artists eye as well; giving Mackintosh free rein inside and out; and bringing her own style to the internal design. The chandelier was designed as a flowers, from which she each day placed flowers from her own garden into each vase overhead.

Tulip Lanterns

Not original; but true to original design. Also matched the earrings I wore that day…..

My Mackintosh inspired earrings….

My Mackintosh inspired earrings….

On the second floor, a room only for the ladies was designed in pale lavender. It cost a penny extra to eat in this room; women could conducted their business unencumbered by the male of the element. Original Mackintosh window.

Sacred to the Druids.  This is an original door; encased in protective casing.

Sacred to the Druids. This is an original door; encased in protective casing.

reflection of the Ladies' Room.  No, not meaning the loo.

reflection of the Ladies’ Room. No, not meaning the loo.

Original Mirror

If you stop by the Tearoom you are likely to see Sylvia; she can tell you more. I would hate to spoil the entire story – but can leave you with more photos to entice you to come in.

One of Mackintosh’s legacies, it also contains the genius of his wife; Margaret Macdonald. Mackintosh was quoted saying that, “he had talent; but Margaret had genius“.

I might agree; her work is marvellous.  Earthy.  Grounded, but with mystic.



Mackintosh inside and out!

Mackintosh inside and out!


I used to live here.  It was 10 years ago, like it was yesterday.  My daughter had a Scottish tartan cape she wore everywhere.  After a few months with her in the local council nursery; at times I couldn’t understand a word she said.  

It was the first place I lived outside of the United States; when I was over 40 and my daughter was young.  I was well travelled, but decided she and I needed a new adventure.  “They do speak English” I remember thinking.  Not like I was going to have to work in French.  Within a week of arrival, I realised I would have been better off in a French-speaking country for all I understood of a Glaswegian.  Especially one in a pub after a few pints.  Then, or me.  It was the first time my rear ever had been pinched anywhere.  

I am back for a spell.  I remember it wistfully, and remember all I didn’t do and see when I was here.  My camera and I will be visiting, and revisiting this beautiful of cities.  It is apparent I have always had a soft spot for the underdogs…my father had a company in South San Francisco. “The Industrial City” it proudly proclaimed on the hill.  Gritty.  Like the crushed shells that washed up on the so called beach and the wind that moaned through the rusted Cabot Cabot and Forbes tower.

I lived in Tacoma, south of Seattle.  “Gritty Tacomans” spouts the tee shirt I bought my daughter.  “What is a Taco Man?” asks someone.   

Glasgow is to Edinburgh as Tacoma is to Seattle.  Gritty.  It used to be literally, before they started sandblasting all the black soot and grit off the buildings in a beautification project.  “Why don’t you live in Edinburgh like the rest of us?” I was asked by my mates at work.  I said I didn’t want to commute.  But really, I tend to gravitate towards gritty.  And Mackintosh has always been a passion. 

Have you been here?  Are you here now?  Tell me.  Let’s have a pint (not a pinch).  I will post the photos.  It is as I remember.  Are you gritty, too?  Show my your Mackintosh spunk.