Saturday, 27 September 2014

Spanish Civil War

Walking by the Clyde River in Glasgow we came across this statue of Dolores Ibarruri, one of the leaders of the Spanish Civil War (July 1936 until 1 April 1939). Dolores Ibarruri was known as La Pasionaria. A quotation from La Pasionaria reads - Better to die on your feet than live forever on your knees. The sign beneath the statue reads:
City of Glasgow 
and the British
Labour Movement
pay tribute to the
courage of those
men and women
who went to Spain
to fight Fascism
2,100 volunteers 
went from Britain,
534 were killed,
65 of whom came
from Glasgow

The British volunteers were part of the International Brigade, volunteers from more than 50 countries, who went to Spain to assist supporters of the republican movement in that country. Members of the International Brigade were primarily trade unionists and members of political organisations from the centre to the left of the political spectrum, including the Communist Party. The Fascist army and supporters were better organised than those fighting for the republican cause. Numbers of new recruits for the International Brigade were declining by 1938 and the group was disbanded in October with the British volunteers returning home in December of that year.

La Pasionaria Memorial - BBC Scotland

La Pasionaria - Glasgow City of Sculpture

La Pasionaria fading icon - HeraldScotland 5 December 2009

Scots who fought against Franco - STV News 23 August 2010

Spanish Civil War monument, Glasgow - Panoramic Earth

Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989) - Encyclopaedia Britannica

Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989) - New York Times 13 November 1989

International Brigade - British volunteers

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Nelson Monument, Edinburgh

Located on Calton Hill in Edinburgh is the Nelson Monument, commemorating the victory of the British Fleet over the French and Spanish Fleets and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The 106 foot monument is built to resemble an upside down telescope. One hundred and forty-three steps have to be climbed to reach the top of the tower. It is built on the highest section of the hill and was designed to be viewed by ships on the Firth of Forth. The architect was Robert Burn (1752-1815). The Nelson Monument replaced a signalling mast previously on the sight.  A mast stands at the top of the monument and the famous Trafalgar flag signal 'England expects that every man will do his duty' is flown each year to mark Trafalgar Day (21st October).
Planning for the monument began a month after the death of Lord Nelson. The foundation stone for the monument was laid in 1807 and the main tower was built by 1808. Then the money for the project ran out. Work again began on the project in 1814 and was completed in 1815.

In 1852 a time ball was added to help ship captains reset their chronometers each day. This is dropped at 1 o'clock each afternoon. As the time-ball could not always be seen if the weather was foggy, a cannon at Edinburgh Castle was fired at the same time. The time-ball is still dropped at 1.00 pm six days a week.

Nelson Monument - Calton Hill architecture

Battle of Trafalgar - BBC History

Battle of Trafalgar - History Channel

National Monument of Scotland

The National Memorial of Scotland can be found in the Regent Gardens on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. The building was erected as a memorial to Scottish servicemen who died during the Napoleonic Wars (between 1803 and 1815) but the building was never completed due to lack of funds. Modelled on the Pathenon in Athens, it remains an impressive structure.

The foundation stone for the monument was laid in 1822 and building began in 1826, but building ceased in 1829 when money for the project ceased. The monument was designed by Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) and  William Henry Playfair (1790-1857), who designed many of the well known buildings in Edinburgh including the National Gallery of Scotland, Old College at University of Edinburgh and Regent Terrace, Royal Terrace and Calton Terrace, part of Edinburgh's New Town. Cockerell was the senior architect when the design was submitted but Playfair is the architect most closely associated with the project.
Located on top of the hill the monument provides views of surrounding country side as well as views of the city.
Although only twelve of the pillars were erected, it is a prominent structure on the hill even though locating information about the significance of the building can be a challenge.
 It remains a popular place with tourists and others visiting Calton Hill.

Lost Edinburgh - the Scotsman 17 February 2014

Napoleonic Wars - British Army Research

William Henry Playfair - Undiscovered Scotland

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scottish National War Memorial

Entrance to Scottish National War Memorial
The Scottish National War Memorial is located in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle. It was opened on 14 July 1927.

According to the website, the Scottish National War Memorial commemorates nearly 150,000 Scottish casualties in the First World War, 1914-18, more than 50,000 in the Second World War, 1939-45, and the campaigns since 1945, including the Malayan Emergency, the Korean War, Northern Ireland, the Falklands War and the Gulf War.
It is a most impressive building, inside and outside, and blends in with the other buildings in the complex.
North side of the building
The Scottish National War Memorial website includes a virtual tour of the building.

 Canmore - Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland - provides a site report with photographs of aspects of the building.

Glasgow Cenotaph

The Glasgow Cenotaph is located in George Square, Glasgow.
The monument was unveiled on 31 May 1924 and is the place for remembrance ceremonies in the city.
The tall granite obelisk is decorated with a bronze sword above a carving of the Glasgow city seal. Two lions guard the entrance to the cenotaph. When we visited the George Square there was a chain across the entrance with a sign requesting that people did not use the space as a seating area and pointing out that this is not a playground for children - a sign of the times?
The inscription on the back of the Cenotaph states that 200,000 soldiers from the city served during World War I.

Glasgow Cenotaph - War Memorials Online

Glasgow's Cenotaph - Their names will be remembered for evermore

In Honour's Cause - Glasgow's World War I Memorials

Upstairs at the  St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, near the Glasgow Cathedral,is a photographic exhibition of images of the many war memorials relating to World War I in the city.
The framed photographs with commentaries are of public memorials as well as memorials in churches, educational buildings and places of work.
Among the photographs are replicas of stained glass windows - memorials to those who served in the different services.
A review in HeraldScotland 23 August 2014 provides a description of the exhibition. The exhibition themes include Fallen Comrades, Places of Learning, Faith in Action, From Office and Factory Floor, Local Heroes, Leisure and Pleasure and For King and Empire.

This simply presented exhibition provided a moving representation of the number and variety of memorials within the city.

Glasgow Cathedral - World War I memorial

Another memorial on the walls of the cathedral in Glasgow is to the local men who died during the First World War.
The tribute reads:
To the Glory of God
and in Remembrance of the Men of this
Congregation who Gave their Lives in
the Great War

The names of the many men who died are then listed.