L U X U R Y  T R A V E L E R










It stands as a shining beacon of architectural and engineering innovation on the banks of the River Clyde. The Riverside Museum is Glasgow’s newest visitor attraction, home to the transport, engineering and shipbuilding legacy that made Glasgow great.  

The Riverside Museum is an architectural masterpiece, designed by Zaha Hadid, arguably the world’s most in-demand architect. The £74 million museum is Hadid’s first major public commission to open in the UK. It houses more than 3,000 exhibits, in over 150 interactive displays telling the stories of the people who made the term ‘Clyde Built’ one which travelled the world and spoke volumes about unbeatable quality. From massive steam locomotives, to the re-creation of a city street during the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of what was the ‘Second City of the Empire’.

The Riverside Museum opens to the public on 21 June. It has been funded by Glasgow City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Riverside Museum  Appeal. Like all of Glasgow’s 10 civic museums, entry is free.

Outside, The Tall Ship Glenlee is moored in front of the museum’s dramatic south façade, bringing her together, for the very first time, with the city’s unrivalled ship model collection, and creating a dramatic and iconic international destination. The Glenlee is one of only five Clyde-built sailing vessels afloat in the world today and the only one in the UK.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Glasgow’s history as an industrial giant, a global leader in engineering and shipbuilding, is celebrated in an architectural masterpiece which shows that we remain at the cutting edge of design and technology.

“On the same spot where ships and paddle steamers were built, the launch of the Riverside Museum is an occasion which both Glasgow and Scotland can be proud of. While we celebrate our past, we are determined to look to the future. Indeed, now there are more people working in Glasgow in culture and tourism than ever worked in the shipyards even at their height.

“Glasgow is a city transformed, from post industrial wasteland, to a global destination for culture and sport. The eyes of the world will be on us in 2014 as we host the Commonwealth Games, but as the Riverside Museum demonstrates, we have more than just our sporting legacy to shout about.”

More than 1,200 people have worked on the project, since it was given the initial go-ahead in 2002 and work on-site at the historic Pointhouse Quay, began in 2007.

The main contractors, BAM, described the building of the massive, 2,500 tonnes steel roof, without any internal supporting columns, as the most challenging engineering feat in the UK today. An additional 3,000 people worked on the various construction contracts to build the museum and quayside public realm.

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:
“The Heritage Lottery Fund grant to Riverside is the biggest grant we have ever given to a project in Scotland. We recognised the ambition to revitalise an outstanding transport and engineering collection in a way which would breathe new life into both the exhibits and this stretch of the river.

“The results have surpassed all that we hoped for and I have no doubt that this Heritage Lottery investment will entertain, educate and inspire generations to come.” 

The museum reveals the rich and varied stories of Glasgow’s great achievements and vibrant spirit; of technological breakthroughs and heartbreaking tragedies; of local heroes and global giants. Many of these tales are told through audiovisual displays, hands-on interactive and digital touch screens. The displays will be accessible and many are designed to engage children and young people and to give a better experience for disabled visitors. 

The museum’s major attractions have been designed and built into the structure of the building – with some arriving before the completion of the structure, such is their size. Highlights include, the Wall of Cars, the hanging Bicycle Velodrome, South African Locomotive, No9 Tank Engine, Motorbike Deck, Ship Launch Show, the Rest and Be Thankful, and three re-created period streets.  

As well as the old, there are more recent star attractions, including Graeme Obree’s hand-made bikes which made him a world-champion and the late Colin McRae’s Subaru Impreza that he drove to win the World Rally Car Championship. Danny MacAskill became a YouTube sensation after the release of his terrifying video Way Back Home. At the museum, visitors can see the bike made famous through gravity defying stunts and social media.

The Riverside Museum Appeal (RMA) is a charitable trust established to raise £5 million in sponsorship and donations from companies, trusts and individuals for the development of the new Riverside Museum. To date, it has raised around £4.5 million, during one of the worst economic downturns in recent memory. 

Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chair of the Appeal, said: “I want to thank the trustees, our patrons, companies, trusts and the many thousands of individuals who have all contributed to this outstanding celebration of Glasgow’s great industrial and engineering history. 

“Every penny raised by the Appeal has been spent on creating what I believe will fast become one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions, but more importantly, a place where children can be inspired by the skills and talents which made Glasgow a global great.”

Lord Smith, added: “You can still donate to the Appeal and every person who donates will have their contribution marked forever within the museum.” 

The Tall Ship Glenlee has undergone a £1.5 million refit prior to the move to Riverside, which included the creation of new visitor displays.  Dr Christopher Mason, Chairman of the Clyde Maritime Trust, said: “The Tall Ship will open at Pointhouse Quay on 21 June and will be exhibited permanently alongside the new Riverside Museum. The ship will be a perfect complement both to Zaha Hadid’s building and the collections displayed inside it.” 

The Riverside Museum is Zaha Hadid’s first major public commission to open in the UK. The British-Iraqi architect was appointed by the city in 2004 to design what has already become an instantly recognisable addition to Glasgow’s skyline. Since then, she has won the RIBA Stirling Prize and is the only female recipient of the Pritzker Architectural Prize, architecture’s “Nobel Prize”. 

She said: “The history of Glasgow is profoundly interlinked with the history of the Clyde, and together they have informed the museum’s design. I wanted the building to reflect the importance of its location and allow for the innovative and inspirational display of its outstanding collection. The fluid design continues Glasgow’s rich engineering traditions; a true demonstration and celebration of the skills and passion of local engineers and contractors who helped to bring this building to life.

“The Riverside Museum rises from Glasgow’s great industrial past to become an integral element of the modern city which is embracing its future.”

Editor's note: We are grateful to Glasgow Museums for providing this expert assessment of the opening of The Riverside Museum.  We wish this outstanding enterprise every success.  Please follow this link for further information....