The third Streets of Glasgow walk in quick succession on a brisk February Friday, the Trongate leads from Glasgow Cross to Argyle Street. Undoubtedly its finest part is at Glasgow Cross, with striking Victorian buildings forming a V as one heads towards the city. I also like the grille in the middle of the road which once provided ventilation to the old Glasgow Cross station. You never need to wander far in Glasgow to find traces of past generations. Indeed in a close nearby were ghost signs for old businesses offering Alice belts and a clothing cutting service, as well as one of the plaques from the Merchant City Festival declaring that Stan Laurel had performed there. I suspect they were taking the piss, as with the one nearer the Cross which declared that Wee Willie Winkie had been ‘spotted here in his night-gown’ in 1841.
The Tron itself, in its orange harling, is a fine building, apparently with Renaissance influences. It dominates the street with its dark spire similar to that of Glasgow Cathedral not so far away. The building now houses a theatre, which extends into a modern bit out the back. Across the way is a Gothic-looking building with all sorts of turrets. It looks like a sandstone version of the High Court on Union Street in Aberdeen, not too shabby, as it happens. It houses a pub. The red sandstone building to its left has a guitar shop but also offices above still bearing imagery from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
At street level, Trongate isn’t the nicest street in the city, particularly as it nears Argyle Street. There are a few closed shops and quite a few derelict buildings, gaps even with views towards the Merchant City. Luckily it is one of those many streets in this city where looking up is greatly measured, particularly at the Argyle Street end, including the red sandstone building that houses Poundland and Specsavers and the golden one across the road that used to be JD Sports. The walk was over in a few short minutes and I headed off for my train home. Trongate might not be my favourite street in the city but a walk in the February sunshine was enough to see its finer points, a reminder to look beyond the obvious to the beauty that lies all around if you just look the right way.
This is the twenty seventh Streets of Glasgow post on Walking Talking. There are plenty of others to choose from, including Duke Street and Gallowgate, as well as High Street, all of which meet Trongate at Glasgow Cross. Also nearby is Miller Street, which I wrote about recently.