Separated By Motorways
Separated By Motorways
By:, Categories: Words & Images, Comments Off on Separated By Motorways



If Sleater-Kinney – the Olympia, Washington all-girl indie band that sounds more like a management consultancy group – can make a comeback, then I suppose I can hold out hope also for The Long Blondes from Sheffield, who were far more glamorous than your average indie band.


There was a time when Kate Jackson and her fellow scarf wearing pals looked as if they were going to make it big. NME and Radio 1 loved them – and like so many Sheffield bands before them, they made intelligent indie music with some of the wittiest lyrics in town; one of my own particular favourite being the mini-road movie, loosely based on Thelma & Louise, Separated By Motorways.


Wipe your eyes darling, it’s OK 
Meet me on the dual carriageway 
Separated by motorways 
The A14 and the A1 
Separated by motorways 
Two lonely girls go on the run


And as was hinted in the previous blogs on Renfield St Stephen’s Church, in the mid-1960s Glasgow was not so much separated by motorways but almost destroyed by one that was nothing short of an act of architectural vandalism. While many cities in the UK were benefiting from ring roads, the City Fathers and their planners – in their infinite wisdom – decided to bulldoze the M8 motorway network (to Edinburgh) through the heart of Glasgow.


Charing Cross was ground zero, so to speak – some of its finest Victorian buildings became victims to the wrecking ball in the name of progress. Thankfully, due to a large public revolt, some of these historic buildings managed to survive only by a last-minute reprieve, such as Sir John J. Burnet’s magnificent Charing Cross Mansions with its French Renaissance Beaux-Arts style curved façade that overlooked the cross. 


Charing Cross Mansions was designed in 1889 for one of Glasgow’s leading businessman of the time, Robert Simpson. The clock face is bordered by signs of the zodiac, with a male mask representing Old Father Time. Also included are the Glasgow coat of arms and monograms either end of the bay windows carved with the entwined letter R and S, representing Robert Simpson.  


Many to this day believe it was a shame that the west end of the Sauchiehall Street shopping section – and the Charing Cross area in general – was destroyed to such an extent. But nevertheless relieved that the Charing Cross Mansions, possibly the finest red sandstone building in Glasgow, did survive. But the landscape it inhabits is far removed from the one it was designed for, separated by motorways, watching over a mesh of constant commuter traffic.


Leica M6 Classic & 2/35mm Summicron V4 (King of Bokeh)
Kodak Tri-X (200)
HC-110 (Dil. B – 7 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan