I had a spare half hour before catching a train and that was enough time to find a street I hadn’t covered in Streets so far. The choice was Bothwell Street since it didn’t involve a hill and didn’t go too far. I came out of Central Station, turned a corner and soon I was on Bothwell Street, my eyes soon turned to middle level to all these different organisations that have offices there, including the Scottish wing of the National Autistic Society and Volunteer Glasgow, which sound quite interesting, certainly more than Certum who do IT things. I almost fell asleep at the prosaicness of their horrible name. Across the street was Social Bite, a social enterprise working to end homelessness. Their cafe was shut, it being a Saturday morning, though I was pleased to see a poster in their window advertising an English conversation club happening in Maryhill, presumably for those for whom it is an additional language.
At the corner up the way was an old bank. It had that 1920s, concrete look that marked it as a bank, plus there was a night safe on the wall. The building is now a pub, in fact a Bavarian-themed brauhaus, and any time I have ever passed the place it has been jumping. I could imagine the precious, preserved quiet of the bank and their workers shuffling banknotes in times past then loud, drunken folk running in and looks of disgust and ‘well, really’ type noises emanating in their direction.
Bothwell Street features a mixture of classically Glaswegian Victorian buildings with railings on the roof and carvings and generic modern office blocks. My absolute favourite of the former is the Scottish Life Assurance Society building. Since I was there on a Saturday, their gates were closed and I could see the motif of thistles, flowers and a judge’s wig scattered along the top of the gates. It just felt suitably grand with the marble floors and the clocks at either end of the block. The obligatory street sign photo had to have a clock in it.
As I walked further towards the motorway, the architecture got a whole lot more modern. One office block tickled me because it was the double of the main stand at Tynecastle Park, much lauded by every Jambo as the eighth wonder of the world. This part of town felt like a futuristic film set or Toytown with big boring blocks and wide open streets. It almost felt like a car chase should break out. No wonder Glasgow often gets used for shooting talkies. Rather more incongruous was the Glasgow City Free Church, splendidly Grecian with a tower and pillars, which I could see peeking above one of these concrete wonders.
Since I lack four wheels, or a bus costume like some Russian students utilised recently, Bothwell Street stopped not long after. I walked back along, thinking back on the walk just past, finding a street sign and otherwise being in the moment. I hadn’t done a Streets walk for about a month – the last one was Mosspark Boulevard, which couldn’t be more different – and I thought about just why I like doing them and why I shouldn’t do them too often, because each street is different. They are part of a larger place but each have their own character. I started with an excitement and a curiosity and ended with some images and words just waiting to be put down.
Thanks for reading. This is the fifty second Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. Another one will follow next week. Other streets featured nearby include Hope Street, Gordon Street, Cadogan Street and Waterloo Street.