Saturday Saunter: Trams and museums

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, in fact the last one of 2020. Next Saturday, Boxing Day, will be the Best of 2020. The one shockeroonie of this year’s Best Of is that North Berwick, of all places, won one of the categories. A shocking state of affairs. This is the last post I’m writing this year as I take a festive break until 2nd January.

This year has been life-changing in many ways. A lot of things I took for granted at the start of this year, like going to the football or going on a train at the spur of the moment, aren’t possible right now. I’m watching last weekend’s Hamilton Accies-Hibs match and in different circumstances I might have been there. The only fans are peering in through a gap in the stands. This year has seen many of us finding new ways to live and to be with people. A lot of people have suffered this year and when all is said and done, the pandemic will have a long impact. People are now being vaccinated and other vaccinations are being developed. This time next year, the world will be different again. Whether we will see scenes like in China or New Zealand, where life has reached a semblance of normality, we can only hope.

Riverside Museum, Glasgow, taken one summer when the Govan Ferry was in operation - looking across a river to a busy scene, in front of an angular museum building is a tall, galleon ship. To the left, sailing towards a pontoon, is a small blue and white boat.
Riverside Museum, Glasgow, taken one summer when the Govan Ferry was in operation – looking across a river to a busy scene, in front of an angular museum building is a tall, galleon ship. To the left, sailing towards a pontoon, is a small blue and white boat.

A few weeks ago, we were at the Riverside Museum, the fairly new transport museum which sits by the Clyde. It has its detractors but I have come to like it. My favourite part is the recreation of an early 20th century Glasgow street with a pub, shops and Subway station. One time I was there it had posters about the rent strikes in Govan led by Mary Barbour, apposite for the setting and the fact the Riverside is just across the river from Govan and the Mary Barbour statue. The Riverside’s predecessor, the Museum of Transport, which used to be in the Kelvin Hall, also had an old street and it was possibly even better with the Subway feeling just like the Subway used to be up until the 1970s with signs displaying the stops that could be reached from either side of the island platform. It is immortalised in an episode of Still Game called ‘Shooglies’, if you’re interested.

Glasgow had a fairly extensive tram network though it’s pretty much a memory, the remnants found on a few buildings and in the Riverside Museum. Modern trans are a bit space-age and when they’re done right, as in Manchester and Dublin, they’re incredibly useful. I haven’t been to Manchester for a couple of years but I like a turn on the tram, sometimes skating along city streets, others coursing just like a train on tracks behind a fence. I’m thinking about MoSI, the Museum of Science and Industry, which is a particular favourite in Manchester, its engines and displays not only about the past but the present and future. The city’s history gets a good airing and I’ve always liked that they combine more traditional museum displays of stuff and modern interpretation techniques. Their 3D printing exhibition a few years ago was excellent and made the complex seem relatively simple, a difficult art indeed.

I don’t really plan these posts and I certainly didn’t plan to blether about trams and old Glasgow streets! I’m going to draw this to a close with thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers, new and old. The blog will be back next Saturday with the Best of 2020. Until then, have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate; if you don’t, have a very nice week. To all, keep well, keep safe. A very good morning.

9 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Trams and museums

  1. Alli Templeton

    I hadn’t realised you’d had trams up in Scotland, Kev. I like the old fashioned ones, they had great style. Have you ever been to the tramway museum in Derbyshire? It’s worth a visit.
    Have a great Christmas break and see you again in 2021. All the best. Alli

    Liked by 1 person

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