Thanks to a friend’s generosity, three of us and our assorted offspring went for a trip on the City Sightseeing tour today. TWM loved his trip on the red bus with no lid – “it’s like a rollercoaster, Mummy!” and we saw a few of Glasgow’s sights from a different angle.
However, I was disconcerted to find myself disabused of ‘truths’ upon which my childhood knowledge of Glasgow was built. I refer, of course, to the construction of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
The story goes that the museum was built back to front, with the grander front entrance mistakenly positioned at the rear. The architect, so distraught at his error, committed suicide by throwing himself from the top of one of the towers.
Today I heard via the live commentary that in fact the building reflects precisely the original design – the museum faces off across the Kelvin to the stunning University of Glasgow. This explanation rings far truer to my Glaswegian ears; few of my city’s grand old buildings are haphazard in either concept or construction, and certainly not the architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century. I looked for sources online to back up today’s revelations, and came across mainly re-tellings of the old legend. Snopes, however, seems to be of the same opinion as the lady from the big red bus.
The experience of long-held knowledge becoming myth has bothered me for the rest of the day. What else do I hold as accepted truth which is in fact product of word-of-mouth and urban legend? Have you had a similar experience?