Did You Know…. Wee Scottish facts
* The shortest scheduled flight in the world is one and a half miles long from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. The journey takes 1 minute 14 seconds to complete.
* The wildcat is the quickest Scottish animal to fend for itself after birth. It faces the world at a month old and begins hunting at the age of 3 months.
* Golf has been played in St. Andrews, Scotland since the 15th Century.
* Eas Coul Aulin Waterfall in the county of Sutherland, with a sheer drop of 658 ft, four times the height of Niagara Falls, is the highest waterfall in Britain.
* The very first recorded appearance of the elusive Loch Ness Monster occurred in 565 AD, when a ” water beast ” attacked one of St. Columba’s followers in the loch. ”’
* The windiest place in Scotland is the Island of Tiree, which has the highest average gusts over 100 mph.
* There are 787 Scottish Islands.
* The Chapel of St. Oran on the island of lona in the Hebrides, holds the tombs of 48 kings of Scotland, 8 kings of Norway, 4 kings of Ireland and 4 kings of France.
* 7 out of every 10 Scots have blue eyes.
* Seven Scotsmen were in the US 7th Cavalry with General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn on 25 June, 1876.
*Herring no more! An ancient bell, suspended from a tree in a churchyard in the fishing village of St. Monans in the County of Fife, and rung to summon people to worship, was removed during the Herring fishing season because local fishermen believed in the superstition that its noise frightened the fish away.
*Conan Doyle, writer and creator of Sherlock Holmes, was Scottish.
The Full List
*The first official international football match was played at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick in 1872. It was between Scotland and England.
The splendid and spectacularly domed glasshouse the Kibble Palace’ (1873) located in the Botanic Gardens (1842) was originally the conservatory of John Kibble – a Victorian eccentric. In 1873 he made an agreement with the Royal Botanic Institution to have it transferred to the Botanic Gardens.
Part of the agreement was that he could retain the use of the glasshouse for concerts and entertainment. For over 20 years it was the social focus of the West End gentry.
Partick has been in existence since at least 1136 at various times being known as Perdeyc, Perthic, Perthec and Partic. Until the mid-1880s Partick had a drummer who would beat his drum every day at 5am, to get everyone up for work, and at 9pm to signify that it was time to go back to bed.
There are only five Clyde built sailing-ships left afloat in the world – the SV ‘Glenlee’ is one of them and can be seen at close range at the Clyde Maritime Centre.
The world’s last sea-going paddle-steamer, the ‘Waverley’ was built on the banks of the River Kelvin by A & J Inglis in 1947. This was a replacement for an earlier Waverley, which had been sunk at Dunkirk.
The ‘new’ Waverley is still in use – you can take a trip ‘doon the watter’ throughout the summer.
The first weekly service to North America sailed from Yorkhill Quay.
There is a widely held belief that Glasgow’s Art Gallery and Museum was built back-to-front in anticipation of the main road being moved to what is now the back of the Gallery. I’ve recently discovered that, although the myth is untrue, the front of the building actually points away from the main road towards the River Kelvin and Glasgow University, whilst the back points to Dumbarton Road – the main thoroughfare.
In 1807 the Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum became the first public museum in Scotland.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was of course a Westender – staying at 78 Southpark Avenue.
Alexander Greek Thomson built many famous buildings in the West End; notably Great Western Terrace ( Great Western Road ) which is easily the ‘grandest terrace in Glasgow’, also Westbourne Terrace, Northpark Terrace and part of Oakfield Avenue, where I used to live in a basement flat.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Both Glasgow’s most famous architects Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson came from very large families – 11 and 20 children respectively. I suppose thats why they were fond of building such big houses.
Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson never visited Greece – in fact he was not a noted traveller. He did, however, found the ‘Thomson Travel Scholarship’ that enabled Charles Rennie Mackintosh to make educational visits to Venice, Florence and Rome.
You may have heard that Charles Rennie Mackintosh was married to Margaret MacDonald but did you know that he had previously been the long time partner of Jessie Keppie the youngest sister of John Keppie (also a Westender and junior partner in Honeyman and Keppie where Mackintosh worked). Jessie and Margaret were part of the same group of art students at Glasgow School of Art. Apparently Jessie never got over her ‘disappointment’ – she never married.
You will find the world’s largest collection of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. University Avenue.
The University of Glasgow’s Building is the second largest ‘Gothic Revival’ building in Britain (built 1867). When the architect Gilbert Scott was chosen to design it there was no competition. Alexander Thomson was displeased and showed his annoyance and disapproval by delivering a lecture damning its Gothic style and pointing to the fact that no Scottish architects were able to compete for the design.
The Glasgow underground or ‘tube’, which has stations in the West End at Kelvinbridge, Hillhead, Kelvin Hall and Partick was called the ‘Clockwork Orange’ by locals because ( I imagine ) of the colour of the carriages. Glasgow is the only city in Scotland which has an underground train service.
The original underground system was cable operated and is the oldest underground system in the world. Carriages from the original underground can be found in the Museum of Transport on Bunhouse Road
The Mitchell Library is Europe’s largest public reference library with more than a million volumes. It also houses the world’s largest Robert Burns Collection. Stephen Mitchell the libraries founder died in 1874 the same year the library came into existence. ( North Street )
People who live in the West End of Glasgow are reputedly called ‘Wendys’ (West End Trendies) by those who live outwith the area.
The West End is made up of a group of hills which were formed by the action of ice flows during the last ice age. Glasgow University sits on top of one of them: Gilmorehill.
The Western Baths – a private club – located in Cranworth Street is famed for the trapeze which spans the pool. It is also known for its occasional classical concerts held in the pool – when it has been emptied of water of course. Until the 1930 it had the biggest indoor pool in Scotland.
A statue of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin was put up in 1913 and is located in Kelvingrove Park. For 53 years William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) was Professor of Natural Philisophy at Glasgow University where he did research into marine instrumentation and thermo_electricity.
The Kelvin temperature scale, which identifies -273 C as Absolute Zero, is named after him. I have been told by my friend David Donald – don’t know if it’s true or not – that the first refrigerators were called Kelvinators – again named in reference to Lord Kelvin.
An arm from one of the statues on the Kelvin Way Bridge, which had been detatched by the explosion of a 1914 bomb, lay in the mud of the river Kelvin until 1995 when a passer-by spotted and retrieved it. ( Thanks to ‘Sculpture in Glasgow’ by Ray McKenzie, Glasgow School of Art for this bit of information.)
The Kibble Palace, which is now located in the Botanic Gardens, was a gift from John Kibble – having been re-located from his home in Coulport in 1873. An enthusiastic amateur photographer he produced some of the largest photographs of his time ( no such thing as enlargements in those days). The negatives of some of his photographs were so big they had to be moved around in a horse-drawn camera!
On 24th January1914 twenty seven panes of glass from the Kibble Palace where broken by a bomb allegedly planted by militant suffragettes. A second explosion was narrowly avoided when the burning end of a lighted fuse was cut of by the night stoker. Evidence that it was the work of suffragettes included the impression of high-heeled ladies shoes in the soft ground and a lady’s black silk scarf found nearby