Magdalen College (impress your friends by explaining that it’s pronounced ‘maudlin’) was founded in 1458, and the present buildings were erected at various dates between then and the 21st century. The college has been visited by kings and princes, and has had famous students including Edward VIII (when Prince of Wales). 20th century fellows include the English scholar and theologian C. S. Lewis and the historian A. J. P. Taylor.
Today the College has a large number of students, many living in the historic rooms on the campus, and an endowment of around £170 million.
Visitors are welcomed at certain times (entrance charges payable) and allowed to wander around the public areas (not the student areas) and admire the historic buildings. The Chapel and Choir are famous, and the Chapel, with its largely 19th century interior, is very impressive. The Hall is also worth seeing, as are the quad with the cloister and gargoyles, and the exteriors of other buildings.
The guidebook supplied isn’t very good as it does not have a map or pictures to help you figure out what you are supposed to be looking at. (Clue: it starts to your extreme right on entering the first open space). Best bring your own.
Car parking in the area is very limited, so I advise using the Oxford Park & Ride instead.
The Botanical Gardens are across the road, and there are other colleges nearby whose quads can be visited, and river walks.
Chapel Niche Wall
New Building (1733)
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden (founded 1621) is the oldest botanic garden in Britain. A square walled space, the Walled Garden, contains rectangular beds with the scientific collection of plants from many countries, and beyond the walls are the Lower Garden housing the ornamental plants, and glasshouses.
Two of the formal plots in the Walled Garden contain plants of use in medicine.
The most interesting section of the Lower Garden is the Merton Borders, a sustainable and diverse planting, from seed and unfertilised, of plants from three dry grassland areas of the world. Intensive care and seasonal replanting is avoided. As well as being an interesting concept, it looks very pretty.
One of the glass houses contains cacti.
The Gardens have literary associations including Tolkien and “His Dark Materials.”
(Visit date: July 2014)
The Garden is opposite Magdalen College. Admission fees apply.
If travelling by car, note that there is very limited parking other than the Oxford Park & Ride.
This broch, one of the best preserved in Scotland, is near the north coast of Lewis. It was probably built in the first century AD and remained in occupation for some time, till the floor level became too high because of occupation layers. It was last used as a stronghold in 1601, so presumably was largely intact at that time. Afterwards, the broch was partly destroyed and used for building stone.
Originally it is thought to have had tapering hollow walls, with a conical roof of timber and thatch on top, and at least one upper wooden floor. Staircases within the double walls gave access to the upper levels. The lower parts of the staircases still exist.
Inside, at ground floor level are several openings. These give access to a small guard room, the staircase, and an oval room where traces of peat ovens were found.
It is possible to climb onto the structure. Surprisingly, there are no signs telling visitors not to climb on the broch.
Because of its rarity, this is a most interesting visit. There is a visitor centre nearby.
Click on images to enlarge.
The Burrell Collection was amassed by rich collector and shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, and was originally housed mainly at his home, Hutton Castle.
On his death, it was gifted to the City of Glasgow, and after some delay was housed in a new gallery in Pollok Country Park. The gallery building incorporates some architectural stonework collected by Burrell, and also several reconstructed rooms from Burrell’s mansion.
The main items of the collection are paintings by major artists including Rodin, Degas and Cézanne, and important examples of late medieval art, Chinese and Islamic art, and collectible objects and statuary including Ming vases and Islamic carpets. Only part of the collection is on display.
The Collection (admission free) is eminently worth a visit. The building is a fine piece of modern architecture. Unfortunately, despite the eye-watering cost, the roof leaks badly, and the museum is due to close in 2016 for three years for repairs (at further eye-watering cost). Should have hired the Tesco’s architects
I advise you to visit soon.
Asides the above, there has been some controversy about the Collection and Burrell’s wishes. He did not want it housed so close to a then-smoky Glasgow. He did not want the contents toured abroad – but following an enabling private Act of Parliament an overseas tour is planned (to help pay for the repairs to the building).
The museum is in Pollok Country Park. It is accessible by bus, and by train. Pollokshaws West station is 200 yards from the park entrance.
If arriving by car, note that you can drive through the park, though the roads are quite narrow. There is a free car park about 500 yards away on the edge of the Country Park, past Pollok House. Parking is also available in the middle of the Park adjacent to the Burrell Collection building, but this car park has parking meters.
National Trust for Scotland
Pollok House was built on an estate near Glasgow for the 2nd Baronet, Sir John Maxwell, in the 18th century. The architect is unknown. The 10th Baronet commenced alterations, completed in the early 20th century, which added a new entrance hall and two side wings in a matching 18th century style. In 1966 the house, the Stirling Maxwell Collection and 146 hectares (361 acres) of the estate were gifted by the family to the City of Glasgow. In 1998 management of Pollok House was transferred to the National Trust for Scotland.
Inside, the house and its extensions are finished in an 18th century style, with ornate plaster ceilings and much light-coloured walls and white-painted woodwork. The Trust has restored the furniture and contents as far as possible to their appearance in the 1930′s when the 10th Baronet was in residence. The house contains some notable paintings, including an important collection of Spanish art.
Notable rooms include the Library, in the eastern extension, which contains two paintings by El Greco, and the Dining Room.
Upstairs some bedrooms can be seen, while in the basement much of the extensive Basement Corridor laid out in 1900, service rooms and servants’ quarters can be seen.
The house and gardens are well worth a visit. The paintings and other contents are of interest. (The house looks more impressive from the gardens side.) There are walled gardens and an old stable block in the grounds.
The house is in Pollok Country Park. It is accessible by bus, and by train. Pollokshaws West station is 200 yards from the park entrance.
If arriving by car, note that you can drive through the park, though the roads are quite narrow. Visitors to Pollok House may park in the courtyard in front of the house. There is another free car park about 150 yards away on the edge of the Country Park. Parking is also available in the middle of the Park adjacent to the Burrell Collection building, but this car park has parking meters.
The Hunterian Art Gallery and Mackintosh House stand on a slope above the Hunterian Museum. The latter is in a larger and older looking building below.
The gallery contains masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Chardin and Stubbs, and the world’s largest permanent display of the work of James McNeill Whistler. There is a significant Scottish Colourist collection, and works from the Glasgow Boys (and Girls).
Major examples of Scottish art from the 18th century to the present are on display. These include portraits by Ramsay and Raeburn, genre studies by Wilkie, impressionistic works by the Glasgow Boys, vivid landscapes, still-lives and figurative paintings by the Scottish Colourists, and paintings by leading 20th century artists and sculptors including Joan Eardley, Anne Redpath, Robin Philipson, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull.
Adjacent to the Gallery is a concrete replica of Rennie Mackintosh’s house at 78 Southpark Avenue, Glasgow (now part of the University site), with the original interiors re-installed. The replica enjoys almost the same views and pattern of natural lighting as the original. Service areas of the original house are not replicated.
The original house was demolished in the 1960′s as structurally unsound and new University buildings built over the site.
The original was built in the mid-19th century and remodelled by Mackintosh who lived in it from 1906 to 1914. The interiors with their typical Mackintosh features, and including a white fitted carpet, were clearly very modern for the Edwardian period.
(More recently, a house at 78 Derngate, Northampton with interiors by Mackintosh was restored at considerable cost.)
The Gallery and Mackintosh House (accessible by guided tour from within the Gallery) are both well worth a visit.
The nearest Subway stops are Kelvinbridge and Hillhead.
Bus 4,4A. No free parking.
The Glasgow School of Art continues to function as an art institution and welcomes visitors to enjoy the stunning original interiors, iconic furniture and inspired architecture on daily tours led by the School’s student guides.
The building was completed in two stages in 1899 and 1909. It was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is an icon of 20th-century design and is considered by some to be the world’s first modernist building. The north and west facades are the best external features. Inside, the central hall and the Art Nouveau library in the west end are the most notable rooms. The building is on six floors including basements and attics and includes studios with large north-facing windows.
The exterior has some pieces of ironwork in front of the windows which are purely decorative, and inside and out the building has many “Mackintosh” features.
This is an essential visit for those interested in Mackintosh’s work.
On 23 May 2014, the building was damaged by a severe fire which started in the basement. Despite the sterling efforts of the fire brigade who fought the fire from inside the building in an effort to minimise the damage to the building and contents, the west end of the building suffered severe damage and the Library is reported to have been destroyed. The fire brigade responded within four minutes.
Having seen the inside of the building on the tour a few days earlier, I would suggest that the scale of the damage is a result of the lack of 21st Century fire precautions. There was a lot of wood in the building and probably a lack of effective fire-resistant partitioning, and no sprinkler system.
I visited this in Aug 2010, but there was no entry in the blog and I appear to have taken no photographs.
The house does not look interesting from the road, but on the other side one can see the pointed windows of the ancient hall, an old barn (with museum), dovecote, grounds, and an Elizabethan herb garden. Inside the house are some interesting old rooms.
The property was part of a cathedral estate until 1847.
There is a website.
The Bede House is the surviving wing of a medieval palace built for the Bishops of Lincoln. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the palace was passed to one of Henry VIII’s supporters. In 1600 the structure was converted to almshouses for pensioners or ‘bedesmen’, and later remodelling produced the current structure with the addition of chimneys, fireplaces, and subdivisions to provide 12 small ground-floor rooms.
The Bede House is next to the church and churchyard, which seem to have been built later. The building, on three floors, is of great interest, and contains on the first floor a very fine Great Chamber, later the common hall of the Bede House. The chamber retains its ornate wooden ceiling and sumptuously carved wooden cornice. The adjoining Presence Chamber has a similar ceiling. A room near the stairs is fitted out as it would have been when last occupied.
On reaching the end of the sat-nav directions, you need to park in the village street and proceed on foot. The EH pay desk is inside on the ground floor. The EH guidebook contains floor plans and much historical information.
View from north
1st floor room
Great Chamber cornice