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A Potted History of Glasgow

12th September 2019

Peter Mortimer

Gifts from Glasgow: Scottish Applied Artwork
at Auction

10th October 2019

Theo Burrell

Some Poems and why I wrote them

14th November 2019

Liz Lochhead

The Singer - the Sound of my Childhood

12th December 2019

Gavin McNae

The Real Beautiful Game - Bingo and
its History

9th January 2020

Paul McGlinchey

An Evening for Members and Friends

13th February 2020

Members' Night

The Glasgow Theatre:
Architectural Heritage over 250 years

12th March 2020

Graeme smith

The Glasgow Lady Artists
and the Suffragettes

9th April 2020

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
12th September 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Attendees: 84


Chair: President, Mr Brian D Henderson

Mr Henderson welcomed members and visitors to the first meeting and enrolment night of the 2019-20 session. Following the Safety announcement and request that all mobile phones by switched off, he continued to the Apologies.

Apologies: Cameron Lowe, Joan Lowe, Alastair McFarlane, Jane Collie, Glen Collie, Janette Knox, Isabel Haddow, Arti Trezise.

Minutes: Mr Henderson then asked if there were any amendments to the Minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 11th April. No one spoke, but Mr Henderson himself had an amendment – a typographical error in the vote of thanks which should have read as “insight”, not “incite” . The Minutes should have read “….insight into such a wonderful institution….” Acceptance of the Minutes was then proposed by Margaret Thom, seconded by Ruaraidh Clark.


President’s Report: Mr Henderson recently visited Bob Dunlop - Past President, former Honorary President, Recording

Secretary and Librarian – who does not now enjoyed good health.. He also reported on Maureen Smith, a former Club Treasurer, who has been unwell. She is now recovering and Mr Henderson asked the meeting to join with him in hoping she will be back among us soon.

Moving on to his “Living History” theme, Mr Henderson reported that there had not been a club meeting in September 1919. His

“Living History” experience centred instead on three Glasgow newspapers no longer in existence – the Bulletin (sister paper to the Glasgow Herald and Evening Times), which existed from 1915 till 1960; the Evening News (incorporating the “Evening Star” and “Glasgow News”) which published from 1877 until 1957: and thirdly the Evening Citizen, published from 1864 until 1974.

Mr Henderson then called on Mrs Joyce McNae, Club Secretary, to give her report.


Secretary’s Report: Club Secretary, Joyce McNae began by welcoming members to a new session of the club. As there had been amendments to the Constitution she advised that copies of the revised version were available from Colin McCormick at the enrolment desk where copies of a new leaflet to publicise the club could also be picked up.

Joyce went on to summarise this winter’s programme before recapping on this summer’s events. Starting with a very successful evening at the Botanic Gardens for the JAS Wilson Memorial Walk. This should have been followed by the Tappit Hen bowling tournament but this had to be cancelled due to the weather.

 She then reviewed events in Glasgow before handing back to the President.

..

Speaker: Peter Mortimer is a past Club President, serving in 2000 to 2001, when .he wrote the foreword to the handbook produced to mark that special occasion. Mr Mortimer has also written a number of books on Glasgow and is a very busy man.

Peter began by saying it was a pleasure to be back at the club where he had spent many hours enjoying the history of this wonderful city of ours. The title of his talk was “A Potted History of Glasgow” which was the title of an essay he wrote for the centenary handbook.

He started by speaking about the discovery of Bronze Age remains discovered in the Mount Vernon area in 1928. Iron Age relics have been found in the Queens Park and in that area Medieval pottery and evidence of Roman presence. There is the Roman Baths in Bearsden and the Antonine Wall nearby.


Mr Mortimer then spoke of the arrival of Christianity with Kentigern and the establishment of Glasgow Cathedral and the small communities in that area, followed by the creation of the university, based originally at the cathedral.

Moving on to the “Tobacco Lords”, he explained that while large amounts were imported from the Americas to Glasgow most of it was then exported to Europe at great profit to those who traded in it.


Some time later James Watt, who was an instrument maker at Glasgow University, invented the condenser for the steam engine and heralded the arrival of mass production and the industrial revolution. Cotton mills sprang up throughout the city.

Iron and steel production saw further development in Glasgow, particularly with the shipyards and ancillary companies. Apart from shipbuilding, in the east end of the city there were companies like Arrols (most famous for the Forth Rail Bridge) and Beardmores, eventually a huge conglomerate. Mr Mortimer also made mention of Templetons, carpetmakers, and the railway engine works in Springburn who exported to all corners of the world.


Glasgow’s population peaked at 1.1 million in the 1930s To feed such numbers all forms of food manufacturers and retailers grew in the city, including Liptons.


To meet the population growth there was a need for housing which saw the creationt of the Glasgow tenement. Getting so many people around the city was another challenge. This led to the building of the Subway and to the development of our famous tram network.

Mr Mortimer also described the growth in department stores before moving on to the school-building programme and provision of public wash-houses and baths. Another municipal provision was public libraries, including the magnificent Mitchell Library.

For entertainment Glasgewians loved their cinemas. At its peak there were something like 120 cinemas in the city, from the plush Odeon in Renfield Street to some of the more humble local halls.


After the Second World War came decanting from the inner city to the peripheral housing schemes - Drumchapel, Pollock, Easterhouse and Castlemilk. Good houses, but without the amenities.


Glasgow in the 50s and 60s was in decline, but then women in Govan began to demand better houses. This led to the refurbishment of tenements in the 70s and 80s. Then came the Garden Festival in 1988, an amazing success, followed two years later by the Glasgow, City of Culture. This change brought about a new attitude in the city and a realisation that we have some great architecture in the city and a desire to keep our heritage and take advantage of it.


Mr Mortimer concluded by describing the 2014 Commonwealth Games as an event he is most proud of, which showed Glasgow in a very good light.


Q. What was the first major material to be recognised as coming from Glasgow?

A. It would have to be Tobacco; then Cotton products. But what we are really best known for are Ships.


Vote of thanks: This was given by Past President Stuart Little.


Quiz: Director Gaynor MacKinnon announced the photograph tonight as the façade of the old Rottenrow Maternity Hospital. She asked Peter to make the draw. There was no name on the slip, but the winner was eventually found.


AOCB: No points were raised at which point, President Brian announced he would be leading a walk in Kinning Park on Saturday 21 September.


He then gave the mic to Peter who listed three walks he would be leading that same weekend.

Closure of meeting: There being no further business, President Henderson closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their attendance.


Next General Meeting: Thursday, 10 October, 7pm for 7.30. Speaker: Theo Burrell “Gifts from Glasgow”


Directors Meeting: Thursday 3 October, 6pm. 26 Queen’s Drive.


Crawford Cassidy,

Acting Recording Secretary


Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
10th October 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Attendees: 65

 

Chair: President, Mr Brian D Henderson

Mr Henderson welcomed members and visitors to the October meeting .

 

He then announced the sudden death of Past-President and former Membership Secretary Sam Gordon. He and longtime friend Stuart Little, our immediate Past President, invariably occupied the front row at meetings. A plain speaker, you always knew where you stood with Sam. His funeral took place yesterday in Knightswood.

 

Following the Safety announcement and request for all mobiles to be switched off, Brian continued to the Apologies.

 

Apologies: Bill Duff, Colin McCormick, Nial Houser, Shona Crozier, Iain Henderson, Alison Sannachan, Sharon Mason, Jane Collie, Glen Collie, Jane Sheridan.

 

Minutes: Mr Henderson asked if everyone had seen a copy of the Minutes of the September meeting, either by email or printed copy. He asked if there were any amendments. There being none, the Minutes were passed on a proposal by Margaret Walker, seconded by Ken Benjamin.

 

President's Report: Mr Henderson 's subject tonight was the October 1919 meeting of the Club in the Trades House where the speaker was Lord Scott Dickson, the Lord Justice Clerk and Unionist MP in the city. He is described in the Glasgow Herald as “shrewd, genial and humorous”. His subject was: ”The Covenanters and the General Assemblies of the Kirk held at Glasgow in 1610 and 1638”. By a strange twist, our speaker on that evening was also related through marriage to Sir James Dewar, the inventor of the thermos flask. Both gentlemen were illustrated on the screen.

 

Mr Henderson then called on Mrs Joyce McNae, Club Secretary, to give her report.

 

Secretary's Report: Mrs McNae began by saying that Cilla was standing in for the Membership Secretary tonight. If anyone required any information or wished to pay their subscription, please see Cilla. She then said there was a quiz again tonight and the answer and winner would be announced at the end of the meeting.

 

Mrs McNae went on to appeal for volunteers to become Directors of the club, explaining the background to the title and confiding that the monthly meetings were often full of fun – so much so that last month she omitted to take notes at one stage in the meeting.

 

She then outlined the programme for this winter, followed by a notice that Crawford was hoping to organise a visit in November to the Conservatoire. She drew members attention to the discussions now taking place on the future of George Square, encouraging all to take part.

 

Joyce concluded by running through the various exhibitions and events in the city over the coming weeks – Black History Month; the Mod; Linda McCartney Retrospective; Compassion in Crisis {eight decade of the RVS}; Elfingrove; the Benny Lynch exhibition and GlasGlow at the Botanics.

 

She then handed back to President Henderson who introduced our speakers, Theo Burrell and James McNaught of Lyon and Turnbull, Scotland's oldest auctioneers, founded in 1826

 

“Theo is a specialist in fine furniture and works of art and decorative art design from 1860. She has a Master of Arts in History, and a M Litt in Decorative Arts from Glasgow University. A specialist in the antiques department of Lyon and Turnbull since 2011, Theo now works primarily in fine furniture and decorative arts auctions.

 

“James joined the Glasgow office in 2012 and now undertakes general valuations for Glasgow and the West of Scotland.”


The Speakers


Theo began by explaining the topic for the evening – Gifts from Glasgow. This meant, she said, items which had been made in Glasgow; people who had studied or worked here, or who contributed to the artistic culture of the city. And here, she said, they were more or less looking at applied art.

 

So often when people think, study or talk about art it is in terms of pictures and paintings, but so much of what James and Theo do is looking at objects – fine furniture, ceramics, glass, taxidermy, metal work, textiles, guns – including shotguns and rifles. There is a huge range of objects they work with. So in order to tell us some amazing stories about things they've handled they would be focusing on the objects.

 

Theo then gave a brief history of the company, Lyon and Turnbull.

 

The company started in George Street, Edinburgh, in 1826 and operated as a general salesroom for 170 years. In 1999 this Edinburgh institution closed it doors for the last time – or so it was thought. But four specialists, who worked for Phillips auctioneers in Edinburgh, bought the Lyon and Turnbull name and set up a private company, holding their first auction in November 1999 – 20 years ago next month.

 

The company is based in a former church in Edinburgh's New Town. This building is very similar internally to Adelaides and was designed by Archibald Elliott in 1821, pre-dating the original company by a number of years.

Edinburgh is the company's main base, but they also have offices in Glasgow and London. The company is now much larger than it was in 1999 – it is in fact the UK's fastest growing saleroom. In the year 2000 they entered into a marketing alliance with Freemans of Philadelphia in America. This has provided huge opportunities for both staff and clients

 

Lyon and Turnbull are said to have the most beautiful auction rooms in the UK. They run around 35 auctions in Edinburgjh each year – Scottish paintings; jewellery; silver; Asian art; glass, ceramics, fine furniture, books and manuscripts – the day prior to this talk they sold a copy of a Darwin for £130,000.

 

They also have regular sales in London and occasional sales in Glasgow – in their offices, one block up from Adelaides, across Bath Street. This office is run by James.

 

Moving to Scottish applied arts, Theo first related a fascinating tale of the research she and a colleague undertook when last year they were offered for auction the key used for the opening of the Glasgow School of Art. The key was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and presented by six-year-old Mary Newberry to the then Lord Provost of Glasgow, Sir James King.

 

Later, at the age of 92, Mary recalled that day in great detail. But she did not recall seeing Mackintosh at the ceremony nor was he at that time credited with designing the key or the building.

 

Theo and her colleague also traced the maker of the key, George Adam and Son.

 

With all this provenance established, the key eventually sold for £32,500 last April and is now on public display. Some of the profits from the sale of the key were donated by Lyon and Turnbull and the owner to the Mackintosh campus appeal.

 

 Theo then moved on to the second item she wanted to relate to us – a hall stand from the Willow Tearooms. Originally there were four stands, which she illustrated in an old photograph of the Salon de Luxe, framing a gesso panel by Margaret Macdonald. It was offered for sale in 2009 .

 

In 1917 the Willow Tearooms ceased to be run by Miss Cranston, but continued to operate for a further ten years as a tearoom. At that time much of the Mackintosh furniture was overpainted as people did not appreciate, as we do now, the worth of these designs. When the Daly's department took over the running of the tearooms much of the furniture was sold off.

 

People who had enjoyed the tearooms took this opportunity to buy some of the furniture from a nostalgic point of view. One family bought two hallstands and various other pieces of Mackintosh furniture, putting the hallstands in their family home and other pieces, including ladder-backed chairs, in a flat they owned in Helensburgh. During the Second World War refugees were staying in the Helensburgh flat. But in one very severe winter they chopped up the furniture to provide firewood to keep themselves warm.

 

The family donated one of the hallstands to the Glasgow School of Art in 1964 and the GSA returned the hallstand to as near original condition as possible. But this hallstand was one of the victims of the GSA fire. So from the original four hallstands, just one remains.

 

The buyer of the hallstand in 2009 was keen to restore it to its original condition and went to great lengths to achieve this. Theo illustrated this with a series of slides, finishing with one showing the hallstand in its original finish standing in the restored Willow Tearooms alongside the gesso panel for a photoshoot last year.

 

Theo finds research such as this very exciting and rewarding.

 

The hallstand was sold in 2009 for £13,500 . As it is now the only one surviving and following the fire and the increase in the value of Mackintosh works, if it went to sale today Theo reckons it would sell for £20-30,000.

 

Theo then handed over to James, who said he would speak on other artists and factors which brought Glasgow to the forefront of applied arts at the turn of the nineteenth century.

 

At this time Glasgow was a very vibrant city, but there were also four institutions which contributed to this – the Glasgow

School of Art; the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts; the Glasgow Society of Women Artists, and the Glasgow Art Club. The clubs were not simply places for artists to meet and work, but also had a social side for the artists and patrons to interact.

 

And once you had studied at Glasgow School of Art why would you leave this prosperous Victorian city that had a thriving art scene and a contemporary institute to show your work? Glasgow also attracted new artists, so there developed a huge hub of artists in the area around Bath Street.

 

The Royal Glasgow Institute was founded in 1861 to establish regular exhibitions of work by living artists, the first of which attracted over 39,000 visitors and 111 paintings were sold. By 1879 the institute opened its own gallery, in the building that later became Pettigrew and Stephens department store.

 

James continued to give brief histories of the Lady Artists Club in Blythswood Square and the Art Club in Bath Street.

 

He went on to discuss various examples of work from this period, some of which was on display on the platform. These were pieces which have been sold by Lyon and Turnbull in the past or would be coming up at the sale at the end of the month in their Bath Street saleroom.

 

Starting with Annie French, James showed a pen and ink drawing which was due to go on sale..

 

He then moved on to a wardrobe design by George Walton, one of the most successful Glasgow architects of the period. He actually designed the first of Miss Cranston's tearooms before moving on to other work for the Kodak photography company.

 

Walton had two sisters, Helen and Hannah who had a studio in Bath Street. Typically, they worked on a domestic scale, acquiring whatever they could in glass or ceramics and adding decoration. These are now very rare.

 

James then discussed embroidery, illustrating with a piece which is listed for the upcoming sale..

 

Moving on to furniture, he illustrated an oak hallstand by EA Taylor, a Glasgow designer and architect, who was married to Jessie M King. James showed a slide to Kirkcudbright where she was a leading figure in that artist colony.

 

The final example from James was a piece of brasswork by Margaret Gilmore. She worked with her sister Mary in a studio next door to Jessie M King in Bath Street.

 

He then handed the mic back to Theo who concluded their presentation with a short television clip.

 

President Brian took questions from the audience - which proved to be lively and illuminating - before calling on Artie Tresize to give the vote of thanks.

 

Closure of meeting: After the draw for the winner of the quiz, the meeting was then closed by the President..

 

Next General Meeting: Thursday, 14 November, 7pm for 7.30. Speaker: Liz Lochhead, “Some Poems and why I wrote them”

 

Directors Meeting: Thursday 16 January, 6pm. 26 Queen’s Drive.

 

 

Crawford Cassidy,

Acting Recording Secretary


Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
14th November 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes will be posted when they are available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
12th December 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes will be posted when they are available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
9th January 2020

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes will be posted when they are available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
13th February 2020

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes will be posted when they are available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
12th March 2020

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow
Minutes will be posted when they are available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
9th April 2020

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes will be posted when they are available

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
14th May 2020

held at Glasgow City Chambers
Minutes for the 2020 AGM will be available after they are approved at the AGM in 2021