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The Vote Road Trip: Days 10, 11, 12, 13 Glasgow, Scotland

8/5 We made it to Glasgow, Scotland, for Linda’s conference (international researchers in intellectual disability/autism), and more of my in-the-footsteps excursions. We have stayed in a variety of moderately priced lodgings, but the one in Glasgow was unique with its many, many choices of deliciously cooked breakfast foods and wrap around window in our room with a view of the River Clyde and an ever

changing panoply of clouds. (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)

On our drive from London, we found a wonderful classic radio station with excellent reception wherever we were. Anne Marie, the afternoon host with the soothing voice, takes requests from listeners. Today she heard from Jeff who was driving to different jobs and requested “anything Chopin,” Marie wanted Brahms for herself and “anyone else doing creative work today,” Gregg was “stuck in traffic” and wanted something that would cheer him up.” Then there was Barbara from Sheffield whose granddaughter was visiting from Korea. “She hasn’t been here since Christmas so we’re very happy,” Barbara told Anne Marie. “She loves anything French or anything that she can dance to.” As we listen to the irresistible dance music, Linda and I imagined the granddaughter dancing, and Barbara too.

8/6 We are loving the gorgeous flowers growing everywhere. Buddleia, commonly known as

the butterfly bush,  grow everywhere in Glasgow, including at the bottom and in the middle of a stone wall at a train station! We also saw it growing wild in

England, in addition to spectacular, truly breathtakingly gorgeous lupine—masses—along the highway and on either side of our brief train ride into Carlisle.

Women’s History Walks

Daphne, an intern from Bonn, Germany

Umbrella stand painted by jailed suffragettes

8/7 As of today, I have accomplished two goals in Glasgow: First, I had an awesome visit at the Glasgow Women’s Library, located in a historic library that was originally for men (women had a small side room). Founded in 1991 by a woman who was sorely aggravated when she noticed that an art show excluded women artists, the Women’s Library has grown from a small center to an extensive library, an accredited museum with artifacts and archival materials, and a center with extensive programs. Empowering women is one of its key goals. I came away with a collection of materials, including maps for a variety of walks, e.g., Suffragette City East and Suffragette City West Walks, Glasgow Necropolis Women’s Heritage Walk, Women’s Merchant City Heritage Walk.

Delores Ibárruri

My second quest was rain soaked—serious downpours that at one point prompted me to take refuge in a cathedral, where the afternoon mass was underway. During a dry spell and thanks to a young man who cheerfully used his cell phone to check the location of the landmark I was seeking, I found the impressive statue of Delores Ibárruri. A Spanish Communist leader, Ibárruri was an impassioned orator during the Spanish Civil War, a war covered by several of the women journalists I featured in my book Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents In World War II. Her famous quote inscribed just under the statue reads: “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” The plaque reads: “The City of Glasgow and the British Labour movement pay tribute to the courage of the men and women who went to Spain to fight fascism/1936-1939/2300 volunteers went from Britain/534 were killed/65 of whom came from Glasgow.” I though a lot about her stirring words, realizing that they can inspire and motivate opposing factions, depending on a person’s particular worldview.

Mrs Barbour and Her Army

figure behind Barbour

8/8 I took the bus to the Govan Cross section of Glasgow to see Mrs Barbour and Her Army, a statue by Andrew Brown dedicated in 2018, commemorating Mary Barbour who led the 1915 Rent Strike, protesting predatory landlords. Her leadership in conjunction with women, children, shipyard and engineering workers, all of whom are represented in the line behind her, resulted in passage of the Rent Restriction Act that benefited renters throughout the UK. It is a thoroughly engaging piece of public art!  Barbour would serve in several elected positions.

Zaha Hadid’s Riverside Museum

Wandering around after visiting the statue of Mary Barbour, I happily discovered a park on the River Clyde directly across from the Riverside Museum, designed with a zigzagged roof by Zaha Hadid, the extraordinary Iraqi-British architect, the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. A museum of transportation, the Riverside Museum is located on the same side of the River Clyde as our hotel. Yesterday I walked to the museum (along the river, passed a whiskey distillery, on a gravel path beside a seemingly endless row of  wild butterfly bushes . . . . a much longer walk than the 10-15 minutes the hotel clerk had breezily guesstimated) The front did not appear as dramatically zigzagged as the back which is what I saw today from the other side of the River Clyde—thrilling! The tall ship is part of the museum. Zaha Hadid died in 2016.

Before entering the impressive Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to attend the dinner/festivities for Linda’s conference, we went searching for the Suffragette Oak Tree that I knew was in the vicinity. It was not as close as I thought, and I worried about being late for the event. A young woman assured us that we were headed toward it: “It’s not much,” she said, “and it might

still have a ribbon around it.” The tree was planted on April 20, 1918 by the Glasgow Women’s Suffrage Organization to celebrate the winning of the vote for women (over 30 with property). Almost a hundred years later, in 2017, it was damaged by a storm. The canopy and many branches had to be cropped: The wood was given to the Women’s Library to make objects that were sold for fundraising. The tree with the purple, white, and green ribbon tied around it was covered with new leaves. I scrambled down to touch it while Linda took pictures.

Two women and a kilt-wearing man (Samantha and J.P. from Glasgow and Severine from Switzerland) stopped to watch. Sam asked if we would like a picture. We posed and they walked on only to return. Severine posed for a picture by the plaque, saying: “I have four daughters.” Turned out they were going to the dinner, so off we went—a band of kindred souls!

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