When I used to visit Glasgow on day trips from Dunbar, I invariably came through Queen Street Station. My first sight of the city was invariably George Square and the City Chambers and it never stopped being exciting. Even now, walking around George Square this time, I still felt something, the pride of an adopted Weegie, I suppose. I was there as the sun went down one cold January afternoon and the place was busy with people, tourists, commuters, City Council staff done for the day, delivery people sitting on the statues waiting for their next call. I ignored the statues and just looked around at the buildings, particularly at the City Chambers. It is a fine building from a distance but stunning up close, stood at its base looking up. I looked at the measures bolted to the wall and noticed another etched onto the pavement nearby marking out 100 links. These were useful once when tradespeople might have been tempted to be inconsistent in their measures and officialdom had to intervene.
Not for the first time, I walked around George Square thinking of Edwin Morgan’s poem ‘The Starlings of George Square’, slightly nonsensical with the cables to Cairo getting fankled, asking of the boats to Milngavie and the Lord Provost licking an audible stamp. Now, the nearest Post Office is on West Nile Street and the Tourist Information Centre is in the basement of the Gallery of Modern Art, though the Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, still works from the City Chambers. All the rest are offices and restaurants. Even Queen Street Station is changing, currently under scaffolding as it gets enlarged and all snazzy and modern. At least the tarmac isn’t red any more.
I don’t get to George Square as much as I used to. Coming into Queen Street Station isn’t as exciting as it used to be. I’m usually heading home from somewhere. If I’m in George Square, I usually like to stop, one of many in a crowd, strangely not so claustrophobic in one of the most open places in the city centre. I think of Edwin Morgan, normally, I marvel at the City Chambers and I watch the people go by. It sums up Glasgow to me, art, crowds and architecture, and it’s a good place to enjoy all three, ideally served with something from Greggs for lunch.
This is the nineteenth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets written about here include Buchanan Street, Cathedral Street, Ingram Street, Miller Street, Queen Street and Dundas Street which is forthcoming.