Saturday, 3 March 2012

Gridiron Glasgow

Here's a question: Why does Glasgow often stand in for period American cities in Hollywood movies?



The answer is Glasgow's late Victorian and Art Nouveau gridiron architecture. Unlike the cities of the US, Glasgow did not continue to thrive and grow much after the Victorian era. The slums were knocked down and vast peripheral estates built, but no skyscrapers were erected in the centre, making Glasgow perfect for those atmospheric shots of 1900s New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

A former Clydesdale Bank:


Like North American cities, the centre of Glasgow is built on a strict grid pattern, climbing up Blythswood Hill from the High Street.

St Vincent Street:


Look up, and you'll see all kinds of wonderful details on the richly decorated facades, minarets and cupolas.

St Vincent Street Church:


Window detail, Gordon Street:


Before the late 19th century banking crash, Glasgow, the self-proclaimed 'Second City of Empire' hosted a major financial sector. Over the course of the 20th century the liquidity in Glasgow banks tended to concentrate in London, but not before handsome bank buildings were thrown up in the centre.

The Royal Bank:


It is easy to end up with a cricked neck wandering around the centre of Glasgow. I am especially keen on the post-Victorian, Art Nouveau architecture littering the centre:

The Beresford:


Period Lintel:


Dental Hospital:


So if you are a film maker, there's no need to cross the Atlantic to find Gotham. Glasgow has temples of commerce, sin and redemption all of its own.

4 comments:

blueskyscotland said...

Good Photos Robert.
I had a post written on the number of tv crews filming in Glasgow this summer but its still to be posted.

Robert Craig said...

Did you hear that Halle Berry and Brad Pitt were both in Glasgow last year shooting films? Not that I would be star stuck if I saw them. It is only stars from the outdoor firmament, people like Jimmie MacGregor, who leave me tongue tied on bumping into them on the street :)

blueskyscotland said...

Yup.
I just happened to bump into them both during two weekends around the time of the doors open day which is what my post was about.
I,ll get around to it sometime.
She,s a midget in the flesh though.
Really tiny but a nice smile.

P said...

I have just come across your blog and am enjoying the posts and especially some of the photography. Good article about Glasgow as a film set by the way.