GARNETHILL URBAN PARK

WHERE IS IT: In the central Garnethill district on the aptly named Hill Street, around the corner from St. Aloysius Church

Unusual for a park, this area was transformed around a fixed mural. In fact, it is the Garnethill Mosaic Mural which tells the story not just of the park, but the regeneration of the entire area.



The mural is found on a wall stretching 13 metres across and 4 metres high, and originally belonged to a warehouse built by architect and artist George Walton back in 1899. Walton was a known acquaintance of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who designed the Glasgow School of Art found one block away on Renfrew Street. By the time the mural came to be created in 1978 the building was a cardboard box factory, which closed soon after in 1982. It lay vacant for some time before being turned into flats in the early 1990s.


However, before that, Garnethill as an area was largely run down. The turning point can be pinpointed to the 1976 Garnethill Exhibition, run by the Third Eye Centre, which would eventually become the Centre for Contemporary Arts. The first of its kind in the district, it set creative juices flowing, and two years later, a band of artists came together to create the mural, led by John Kraska, alongside local artists Irene Keenan and Tommy Lydon. It attempted to celebrate the area, with nods to the past, such as the Garnet Hill Observatory that had existed back in 1808, using over 186,000 pieces of tile.



The mural is found on a wall stretching 13 metres across and 4 metres high, and originally belonged to a warehouse built by architect and artist George Walton back in 1899. Walton was a known acquaintance of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who designed the Glasgow School of Art found one block away on Renfrew Street. By the time the mural came to be created in 1978 the building was a cardboard box factory, which closed soon after in 1982. It lay vacant for some time before being turned into flats in the early 1990s.


However, before that, Garnethill as an area was largely run down. The turning point can be pinpointed to the 1976 Garnethill Exhibition, run by the Third Eye Centre, which would eventually become the Centre for Contemporary Arts. The first of its kind in the district, it set creative juices flowing, and two years later, a band of artists came together to create the mural, led by John Kraska, alongside local artists Irene Keenan and Tommy Lydon. It attempted to celebrate the area, with nods to the past, such as the Garnet Hill Observatory that had existed back in 1808, using over 186,000 pieces of tile.


In parallel to the mural being built, the land was developed by the local council into a park and play area, with the upper level featuring a red blaes football pitch. The rudimentary design was soon overhauled in 1990, when German environmental artist Dieter Magnus, in association with the Goethe Institut, made designs to tie in with Glasgow’s status as European City of Culture. The design offers a children’s playpark, as well as gardens and large tone steps for people to sit on, almost like a mini coliseum. The startling, and unusual landscaping was added to in 2005 by local artist Ulrike Enslein, who cast concrete slabs amongst the granite pathways, each with a quote from local residents. They tell of the struggles of growing up in Garnethill, and the joys of seeing the area grow into something more.



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