The Kilmacolm Hydro

A rather happy view of the Kilmacolm Hydropathic hotel in its finest days during the late 19th century. Now little more than a fading memory, the Hydro was opened in 1880, boasting some 180 rooms and excellent facilities, with free access to the Renfrewshire countryside.

Built in Gothic style, the Hydropathic building is most commonly associated with its architectural dominance of the area. It was on a scale previously unknown to the village and placed upon the summit of the valley in which it sits. Sometime after this image was captured, the tower was graced with a spire-like point which can be seen in photographs from the early 1900s. With the railway carrying visitors into the village to enjoy its peaceful surroundings and, apparently, especially clean air, the Kilmacolm Hydro thrived both as a health spa and as a resort.

However this interesting chapter in the village's history was to draw to a slow and painful end. The hotel suffered following the referendum under the Temperance Act which, by a narrow vote, massively restricted drinks licensing with the parish. Requisitioned by the War Office during the Second World War, the Hydro served as a Royal Navy hospital until the cessation of hostilities. Commercially drained, it was bought over by Stakis in 1963 and briefly added a casino to its list of attractions. All the same, the Hydro's fortunes were to remain in decline and, following storm damage, it closed in 1968.

A dangerous and unvalued ruin, the greatest hotel (and arguably, architectural feat) that Kilmacolm will likely ever know was razed to the ground in 1975 making way in more recent years for luxury housing. A sad demise.

St George in Glasgow

In pursuit of a rather obscure slant on yesterday's feast day of St George, the site is proud to present: St George in Glasgow. The above is the rather grand statue of George slaying the Dragon at St George's Cross, the city's intersection between St George's Road and the Great Western Road, and the southern origin of Maryhill Road. The statue was a feature of the former Co-operate Wholesale Society building on the former road, donated to the City in 1897. The area's name come from the dedication of a long-extinct chapel of ease, known as St George's-in-the-Fields.

Travelling south on St George's Road, it opens onto Charing Cross, linking the City across the intersecting major roadways and dividing centre from West End. On the western side, opposing the perhaps-grander Charing Cross Mansions, is the rather noble sight of the St George's Mansions. Formerly residential, they are now a mixture of apartments and retail outlets.

Inching yet further into the city centre, we come to the St George's-Tron Church, contructed in 1808 as St George's Parish Church, changing its name following a union with the congregation of St Anne's-Tron Church at the Trongate. An impressive building with some hints of Baroque influence, it lies at the end of George Street, linking George Square (both of secular, Royal naming) to Buchanan Street and Glasgow's commercial centre. For an building of such design, it is unfortunately dwarfed by the grandeur of the buildings surrounding it - like so much of Glasgow's urban environment, it is often difficult to see the trees for the forest. Its bells, however, are a regular feature of city centre life.
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Previous Articles

Renfrewshire flags - A look back at the proper flags of the ancient county of Renfrewshire.

The Scottish Parliament - Possibly the most controversial structure in 21st century Scotland. A missed opportunity, a tragedy destined to happen or just an underrated work?

A Toast to Glasgow - Some views of Scotland's largest city and northern Britain's great Victorian metropolis.

A Defence of Propaganda - War-time optimism, reclaiming terminology and a nod to the fine work of Abram Games OBE.

St Andrew's House - Art deco at the political heart of Edinburgh.

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