GLASGOW’S UNDERGROUND WORLD

When in Glasgow:
Visit the underground world of Glasgow Central Station. The unique guide and major enthusiast, in his retirement, is otherwise employed as Network Rail’s Historian and Archivist.  He used to manage this station. During his career he also managed several other major stations in London, U.K, however, he always returned to his home (and station) Glasgow Central.

Lovely Victorian Supporting Pillars

Descending into Glasgow’s historic and present transport underworld made for a tremendously engaging and educational visit, the guide, bringing to life with his words this major, solid, surviving transport hub. He spoke of the hustle and bustle of transport, for and with all sorts of people, now and in previous times. Peering into the pitch black, eyes following the slim line of a torch beam, it felt like we were intruders into someone else’s world. We saw the outline of places on platforms that were still intact where men could not go, and neither could we. Women of the 19th century waiting for trains in that gloom had the ‘comfort’ of separated waiting areas.  Our way was barred for reasons of safety, which pertained to present day use.

A Disused Line

In a lower street level goods entry, (Glasgow is a city of hills) there were still signs of horse drawn transport. The resting places for the horses still exist.

Like many stations, the ‘streets’ under Glasgow Central station were put to stark use in the two major wars, (WW1 and WWII).  The guide did not mince his words about many elements of the nineteenth century social history associated with this station. He felt very strongly the roles of womenfolk in life and death in this station, was and had been, totally ignored… he was definitely intent on correcting with his words what he felt was a grave neglect and a major injustice.

Preserver Of  Industrial/Social Heritage

While we were in the depths exploring some unused tunnelling and were in our joint reveries sensing the spirits of the past, on a nearby spur an underground train whizzed through.

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12 thoughts on “GLASGOW’S UNDERGROUND WORLD

  1. Wonderful how such historic places can recreate so vividly for our imaginations how life would have been had we lived in those days. I’d like to hear more about the women.

    • Hi Gill,

      You were very quick off the mark; I had barely finished editing!! There is a lot to relate about the womenfolk, and as we were in a small group, (out of season tourists) he related more than usual. In the depths he had found long forgotten ‘props’ from WW1 which made for greater impact, as did finds of newspapers from various eras. I think he had a field day, taking the opportunity with us to vent forth lots of what his discoveries and researches have revealed.

      With larger groups of mixed nationalities the guide has to give time to ‘interpreting’ what he is relating in his Bra’ Glaswegian accent -especially, when it is something particularly heartfelt – or, he has to give someone time to explain. This requires reductionist explanations. There must be a major archive on this subject in such an established university city, there must be much on line I should think, also and probably in National Libraries.

    • Funnily enough, Anne-Marie, we were so engrossed, so connected with the enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of the guide, there were no spooky spooks bothering us at all. Xxx

  2. A most enjoyable, and interesting, post about a tour you, not surprisingly, found fascinating. It’s certainly true that in cities there’s a hidden world beneath our feet that we generally know little, or nothing, about. xx

    • What you say is very true, Mr F. The tour has been made possible by the passionate interest and entreaties to the authorities, of one man. I do hope he will be able to engage some help and support in the marathon task he has embarked upon. xx

  3. Goodness, what an atmospheric place, quite brooding, I can imagine how surprised everyone was when a train thundered through. A passionate guide always makes a tour that much more memorable.xxx

    • Good Description Snowbird. I really wanted to get into the places we were not allowed to go. There was work going on, but, not station refurbishment. The industrial beauty was visible and so was its sturdy longevity. The daily commute going through was surprising. It does mean, I suppose, that the under and immediate upper floors will have to stay in situ for sometime to come. A solid practical reason for preservation.

      xxx

  4. It was interesting hearing about the tour. Wouldn’t want to take it though. I figure I’ll spend enough time under ground, and am not anxious to have a pretaste of the experience…

    • I’m trying to work out a reply in a similar vein to your comment Shimon. I find I cannot top it!

      If it’s any comfort to you, Shimon, all visitors had to wear high visibility vests and protective bright orange peaked caps, as seen being worn by one of the three ladies on the tour.

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