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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Glasgow's Loss

Let Glasgow Flourish is the motto for this great city on the River Clyde. Glasgow's trams, buses and trolleybuses all at one time or another carried the coat of arms on their side panels against distinctive fleet colours of cream, green and cadmium orange.

News overnight of yet a further devastating fire engulfing one of the city's most famous buildings - the School of Art which had previously been badly damaged in flames and was close to being fully restored, is indeed a tragedy of considerable proportions.

Angular outline of stalwart 1125 on the 9 Service - heading towards Dalmarnock Depot on Argyle Street.

Great trams - classic destinations - winding tracks and sett paved streets - amazing memories of former times when trams were the backbone of the city's transport system. Number 75 which lasted to the very end but sadly was not saved traversing another of the city centre track junctions. Photos : John Woodman

Whilst Edinburgh has the Castle and Princes Street as its own emblematic set pieces - Glasgow retains considerable architectural diversity from previous centuries. The arriving traveller by rail gets a first glimpse of this entering Central Station with its wide concourse and design from the great days of steam locomotives. When trams were running up and down the city's thoroughfares nearly all of its structures and rows of multi level tenement buildings were soot blackened with decades of industrial endeavour. Granite paved roadways made slick by rain were intertwined with ribbons of shining steel carrying Glasgow's trams still providing a reassuring presence seemingly ever permanent.

Of course all of this came to an end with a magnificent procession of 'caurs' in 1962 when the city's residents turned out in their hundreds of thousands to say goodbye in a great public lament. My memories of the city are from those final years of trams dominating Argyle Street and the long east west service which terminated at 'Dalmuir West'. With Derek Redmond we made several visits together to explore the remaining routes and darkened depots at Maryhill, Partick, Dalmarnock as well as the magnificent cathedral of tramcar repair (and construction) which was Coplawhill Works. They were memorable trips.

News overnight of this further conflagration afflicting the city's School of Design created by Scotland's great architect of a former age is saddening, even to those of us less inclined towards structural design and styling. Let Glasgow Flourish.

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