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Poet Tom Leonard reading from one of his books.

Tom Leonard was born in Glasgow on 22 August 1944. After school Leonard worked at various jobs, including bus conductor and university bookshop assistant. He went to night school and then to Glasgow University when he was 23 – while there he edited the university magazine – but left after two years. He went back later, in the 1970s, and finished his degree.

Tom Leonard has written plays, sound poetry, political polemic and a biography of the 19th-century Scottish poet James ‘B.V.’ Thomson, Places of the Mind. He is best known for his poems in Glasgow speech, heralded by the epoch-making Six Glasgow Poems of 1969, highly compressed poems in a phonetic spelling. Roderick Watson has called these poems ‘a manifesto by example’: they are ‘a spell against complacency and a retaliatory act against what Leonard sees as the educational establishment’s intolerance of local…expression and experience’ (The Literature of Scotland: the twentieth century, 2007).
Scottish poetry Library




A video still of a woman speaking, she's wearing a pink flowered sari, pearl necklace, and a clip on microphone is visible.

Colourful Heritage invites you to explore the story of South Asian and Muslim heritage in Scotland. Visit our GlaswegAsians exhibition and explore our online videos and digital timeline detailing the fascinating journey of these unique group of Scottish Asians and Muslims.



A photograph of palm leaves and the glass and metal roof of Kibble Palace at Glasgow's Botanic Gardens.

A selection of photographs from the Art in Hospital community project based in the Langlands Buidling, QEUH, and artwork by Mary McGuinness with Alison Newman.



(FILM 1938)

Black and white film still of a blond haired boy, holding a pencil, looking off to the right with a slight frown.

The history of Scottish education, in the context of a group of seven documentaries made for the 1938 Empire Exhibition, under the supervision of John Grierson.


Photograph of the exterior of the Glasgow Concert Hall, with the Donald Dewar statue in the foreground.

Photographs of the Clyde, the People's Palace, the Barras, the Cathedral, the city centre and more. Images captured by Art in Hospital artist Maria Doyle.



Black and white photograph of Ivor Cutler sitting inside; he is smiling and is wearing a small hat.

Listen to Ivor Cutler's Album 'Dandruff' released in 1974.

Ivor Cutler was born in Govan in Glasgow  in 1923,  and became a highly regarded poet, singer, songwriter and storyteller, renowned for his offbeat and eccentric humour.  He became known for his regular performances on BBC radio, and in particular his numerous sessions recorded for John Peel's influential eponymous late night radio programme, and later for Andy Kershaw's programme.

He retired from the stage at the age of 82 and following a brief period of Alzheimer's and ill-health, he died on 3 March 2006, aged 83.



Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Autumn, 1894, courtesy of the Glasgow School of Art. A long narrow artwork; an Art Nuveau style design in green and poppy red, on a grey-beige background.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Autumn, 1894, courtesy of the Glasgow School of Art.

CLICK HERE for archive images of art and design works by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.



In the 1930s, Glasgow had more cinemas per person than anywhere else in the UK. Virtually all of them are now repurposed or derelict, but many have traces of their past still visible. In the video above, Andy Dougan, Gordon Barr, Jaki McDougall, Chris O'Kane and Barney McCue recount their experiences in going to cinemas in the city centre.

Here is a detailed resource with information and links about Cinemas around Scotland.

The Paramount cinema on Renfield Street, Glasgow in January 1935.

The Paramount cinema on Renfield Street, Glasgow in January 1935.

CLICK HERE to watch MOVIEMAN: James Nairn's 60 Years of Cinema.

This fascinating documentary follows the career of James S. Nairn who, for almost all his working life, aspired to the highest standards in cinema presentation.



Glasgow's Dance halls

In this short film night club impresario, ex-Glasgow Apollo boss and former Billy Connolly manager Eddie Tobin talks about Are Ye Dancin'?, his light-hearted book about dance hall, night club and ballroom history in Scotland. Most pictures in the gallery are taken from the book, co-written by Martin Kielty.

In the video below Martin Kielty visits Dennistoun, meeting with Dave Lennox from The Beatstalkers, to  reminisce on of one of Glasgow's most popular dance halls the Palais de Dance

Glasgow's much loved comedy duo from the 1960's, Jack Milroy and Rikki Fulton perform their double act Francie and Josie. In this clip of their sketch 'Are ye Dancing?' they send up Glasgow's dance hall nightlife. 



Street Level Photoworks

This film was launched at Street Level Gallery in Glasgow on the 10th Oct 2015 during Luminate Festival. It came out of a project that was a creative collaboration reflecting on a significant part of Glasgow/ Scotland's history through sharing some of the experiences of African and Caribbean women who came to Scotland between 1958 and 1996. The work combines interview extracts with archive and contemporary photographs from some of African & Carribean Women's Association's members.  

The project is respectfully dedicated to Edith Meheux, who came to Glasgow in 1970 from Sierra Leone.  Edith worked as a nurse and health visitor in Glasgow 1973 - 2010 and was one of ACWA original members.  Edith passed away in 2014.



Rum Retort was an exhibition that took place in 2016 during Black History Month Scotland. It was  curated by Tiffany Boyle and Natalia Palombo for Mother Tongue and brought together the work of 10 artists based in the Caribbean and Scotland. The exhibition sought to re-trace and activate the connections between Greenock, Scotland and the Caribbean, sited in the town’s former Tobacco Warehouse. At the height of trade to the port, Greenock received up to 400 ships from the Caribbean annually, arriving with sugar and tobacco, and now like the Caribbean, is a stopping point for cruise ships.  The exhibition was part of the Galoshans Festival 2016. ‘Galoshans’ is a local term for guising at Halloween, a time for street parades and the spiritual world, sharing much with carnival in the Caribbean.



In this film from the National Galleries the poet Liz Lochhead talks about the work of her friend the artist Alasdair Gray; his art and writing and connection to the city of Glasgow. 

Alasdair James Gray (28 December 1934 – 29 December 2019) was a Scottish writer and artist. His first novel, Lanark (1981), is seen as a landmark of Scottish fiction. He published novels, short stories, plays, poetry and translations, and wrote on politics and the history of English and Scots literature. His works of fiction combine realism, fantasy, and science fiction with the use of his own typography and illustrations, and won several awards.

He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1952 to 1957. As well as his book illustrations, he painted portraits and murals, including one at the Òran Mór venue and one at Hillhead subway station. His artwork has been widely exhibited and is in several important collections. 

To find out more about the artist's life and work, visit the Alasdair Gray digital archives and website by CLICKING HERE.




A Hind's Daughter by Sir James Guthrie. Oil painting of a girl working in a farm of cabbages, it looks autumnal, with a white sky.

" 'The Glasgow Boys' were a group of radical young painters. They represent the beginnings of modernism in Scottish painting. In the early 1880s, united by their disillusionment with academic painting, they painted contemporary rural subjects, and often worked out of doors sketching and painting directly in front of their subject.

The leaders of the group included James Guthrie (1859-1930), who was mostly self-taught, and the Irish-born John Lavery (1856-1941) who, like many of his contemporaries, trained in Paris and worked at the artists’ colony of Grez-sur-Loing. Based in and around Glasgow, the artists exchanged ideas in the Bath Street studio of William York Macgregor (1855-1923) or through working in groups at Cockburnspath (Berwickshire) and Kirkcudbright."

The National Galleries of Scotland




Portrait of a Lady by Bessie MacNicol (1904). A painting of a wealthy looking white woman, with lacework on her dress, flowers and a wide brimmed hat.

"The term Glasgow Girls was first made by William Buchanan in an essay for the Scottish Arts Council in 1968 that accompanied a Glasgow Boys exhibition, although his use of the term is seen today as an ironic reference rather than a real categorisation. In 1990 Jude Burkhauser organised the survey exhibition Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880-1920, aimed at redressing the imbalanced historical preference for male artists, bringing to attention the hugely important role women played in the development of the Glasgow Style."

National Galleries Scotland

Members included in the group are Bessie MacNicol, Margaret Macdonald, Helen Paxton Brown, Annie French, Jessie Marion King and Frances Macdonald.

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