28th February 2009
Two museums in one day, and both free! Starting with the recently refurbished (at the cost of £27.9million!!!) Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, followed by the Glasgow Museum of Transport and Technology. Each offers quite a contrast in museum styles and Kelvingrove certainly succeeds in being an all-embracing city museum and art gallery with all of the modern interpretive tricks that can be found in any museum curator’s sleeve. It is extremely well done, though by definition it is somewhat light on transport exhibits. City of Glasgow, the resident Spitfire, LA198 Mark 21 built in 1944, is suspended from the ceiling of one of the halls and is easily viewed from the first floor balconys.
Notable exhibits include the tramcars, a recreated street (set at night) and the 0-4-0VBG built by Alex Chaplin & Co which is very reminiscent of Beamish’s own ‘Coffee Pot’ locomotive, to the extent that I believe Head Wrightson may have been strongly influenced (to put it kindly!) by the Chaplin design, examples of which were working in the Teesside area where HW were located.
A quick visit was made to the Stobcross Crane (often referred to as the Finnieston Crane due to its proximity to the quay of that name), commissioned in 1926 by the Clyde Navigation Trust and completed in 1932. It was built by Cowans Sheldon of Carlisle for the sum of £55,351 and stands 165 feet tall with a 253 foot long cantilever jib. The lifting capacity was 175 tons! It was used primarily for lifting boilers and engines into ships under construction, but later was used for a variety of heavy machinery lifts, most notably the locomotives built by the North British Company at Springburn. It use declined until it was finally disused by the early 1990s. It was an iconic symbol for the 1988 Gateshead Garden Festival and is now a Grade A listed structure.