Gates to the Dead
Gates to the Dead
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The Necropolis is a hidden time capsule of Glasgow, when it was at its most important and Victorian best, and hailed as “The Second City of the Empire.” And the crest on the impressive black and gold-painted ornate gates of the Necropolis is that of the-then influential  Merchants’ House Guild of Glasgow who owned the site east of the city’s Cathedral and who first suggested it be built.


In 1831, one of their members, Dr. John Strang suggested that “a garden cemetery and monumental decoration” would be beneficial to the public morals and the improvement of manners. And all afire with reforming zeal, our City Fathers – looking to emulate the Père Lachaise graveyard in Paris – bought the site and almost immediately raised a monument to the revered Reverend John Knox, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, on its highest point.


By 1857 the Necropolis was described as “the hallowed depository of the ashes of our most distinguished citizens”. But those perhaps thinking that this would mean more protestant bigwigs interred there were in for a shock, as the first person buried there turned out to be Joseph Levi, a Jewish quill merchant.


The gates were cast at the Phoenix Iron Works in Queen Street (owned by Thomas Edington & Sons) and installed in 1833 to provide access to the “Bridge of Sighs”, which carried the carriageway from the square across the Molendinar Ravine to the Necropolis. They were designed by James Hamilton, whose father David designed the bridge which will feature in the next blog, as we continue our merry meander around the “dead centre of Glasgow.”


Leica M3 & 50mm Summilux V2
Kodak Tri-X (200)
Sekonic L-308S
HC-110 (Dil.B – 1:31 – 7 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan


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