When working out which streets to cover for this series, I sometimes do a bit of research. I look at books or maps now and then while other times I just wing it. What I didn’t know until the night before this walk was that there are in fact three Castle Streets in Glasgow. My Pevsner’s guide mentions two of them. One is in Townhead, another in Partick and the third in a housing scheme in Baillieston. For the avoidance of doubt, I found myself on the Townhead version, starting by the Barony Hall, confused as I was doing the High Street walk as to where my street actually started. I deduced it was outside the Barony Hall and so I began. My soundtrack was the sound of construction work on the Strathclyde University buildings to my left though I was able to stop and read the plaque about the Alms House. The statue of William of Orange stood in Cathedral Square to my right as I walked, a couple of recent wreaths at its feet suggesting it was August, even if Orange walks hadn’t happened due to Covid restrictions over the summer. The Provand’s Lordship remained firmly shut as I passed the oldest house in Glasgow and I remembered a decent visit there a couple of summers ago. Workers from the nearby Royal Infirmary sat in the precinct in front of the Cathedral, talking and eating lunch. I passed a red traffic cone lying in the grass, perhaps from the roadworks on the nearby motorway and maybe soon to adorn the statue of the Duke of Wellington outside GoMA. The Royal Infirmary just looks like a hospital from Castle Street, imposing, brown, Victorian, with modern additions behind and to the side. In front is a busy traffic junction and much of my walk was spent navigating it. The angular tower adjoining the car park is smart with a statue of a man, which seems to be Christ giving sight to a blind child. It once housed the Blind Asylum, memorably described in my Pevsner’s guide as ‘excruciatingly Franco-Flemish, with a spire bristling gargoyles’. That’s still better than the grey, concrete multi-storey car park next door and the motorway curving in multiple ways in front of me. I turned left and walked under the motorway heading to Royston Road where Castle Street eventually ended. Once the Townhead Library stood on this part of the street but it is no longer. It is a particularly brutalist end of one of the great streets of Glasgow.
Thanks for reading. This is the ninety eighth Streets of Glasgow walk on Walking Talking. Nearby streets which have featured here include Alexandra Parade, High Street, Cathedral Street, Rottenrow and John Knox Street, plus Wishart Street and Ladywell Street which will be here in the next few weeks. The Streets of Glasgow page has a list of all the posts in this series so far.