It all started when I looked up Alan’s address in Glasgow on streetmap.co.uk. He had asked me to accompany him at a dinner one Saturday night about a couple of weekends ago which was why I was looking to see where his flat was. The Botanic Gardens are not far away from the flat and the area around the entrance appeared on the same map as his place. “Did you know there’s a disused tunnel under the Botanics?” I wrote in my email to him – and it turned out he did know and what’s more he could show me evidence of it. I was staying over in Alan’s flat after the Saturday dinner, so on the Sunday we took a stroll over Great Western Road into the Botanic Gardens. I have often driven along the GW Road and noticed the large circular flying saucer roof of the glass house called the Kibble Palace, but this was the first time I had actually been into the gardens.
A little way along the main path to the glass “Palace” another path goes off to the left, and not far along that path there is another, again on the left, which takes you to the bridge from where you can look down on the former underground railway, and what was once the Botanic Gardens Station. I suspect there was once a glass roof above the station resting on the concrete ……lintels(?) but down in the bottom of the dip were the old station platforms on either side of the double track bed. This stretch of line opened in 1896, continued under the Gardens to end at Stobcross on the west of the city, but was closed in 1964.
Well, Alan only recently had an operation on an Achilles tendon, and just two days before had had the stookie removed (Stookie is the Scots word for a plaster cast, that derives from the Italian word ‘stucco’ ), so walking a distance was out of the question. However, we did a short circular walk, taking in the glass hot house –with some stunning plants on view. I don’t know their names I’m afraid.
It came to the Botanic Gardens in 1873 as a venue for concerts and exhibitions, but later housed the temperate collection of plants. It is a beautiful building with its candy-twist pillars and decorative ironwork – all restored about 6 years ago .
and the arrogant king Robert of Sicily from Longfellow’s very long poem of the king’s character-changing dream in which he found himself stripped of his kingly apparel, and his only friend an ape.
This is Alan, by the way.
Talk again soon.