We took the City Sightseeing Glasgow Open Top Bus Tour on our first full day in Scotland. It was cold and drizzling, as we’d expected, but that didn’t keep us from climbing to the open top to view the city.

Plug in your earphones to a handy jack, and the tour guide (or the audio recording, depending on the time of day) details the history of the sites before you. Moreover, you can climb on and off at a number of stops along its route.

One of these stops, the University of Glasgow and its Hunterian Museum, I’m saving for a later post. I may have photographed half the museum, so brace yourself 😉


The Tolbooth Steeple

In the 17th century, a tollbooth was built, complete with a steeple containing spikes for the heads of traitors. A fact that caught my teens’ attention, and snapped their own heads up. Alas, the spikes were long gone.

The Duke of Wellington and his Cone

For thirty years, the duke has worn his cone. On night it appeared… city officials removed it… the cone came back. Whenever it’s removed, it’s soon replaced. When the city grew more serious and proposed more stringent counter measures to keep the cone off the head of an A-listed monument, there was an upwelling of protest. “Save the coney!”

Victorian Architecture

Red sandstone, the local stone, dominates the architecture of Glasgow, much of which was built during the reign of Queen Victoria when wealth poured into the city during the industrial revolution. Shipyards and marine engineering featured heavily in the city’s past (as used in THE IRON FIN) along with steel making. We passed many beautiful structures. Some in good repair, others being reclaimed by weeds and even trees.

Riverside Museum

The first stop we hopped off at was the transportation museum, located along the River Clyde. As I was still playing with the idea for RUST AND STEAM, I bee-lined for the steam engine, one bearing the Caldonean Company’s crest. Inside, there’s a recreated Victorian street, complete with buildings and a hearse.

Finnieston Crane (1931)

The only remaining cantilever crane in the city of Glasgow, it was once used to lift locomotives and other heavy cargo onto ships. No longer in use, it is kept in place as a monument to the engineering history of Glasgow.

The Tall Ship at Riverside

The only Clyde-built sailing ship still afloat in UK waters, the Glenlee was launched in 1896 at Port Glasgow on the River Clyde.

You can climb through her from stem to stern (galley, heads, hospital, cabins, saloon, chart room, engine room, cargo hold, etc.). We watched workers climb with buckets of tar to repair the masts. Mid-deck, my teens helped swab the decks. Then we headed below to check out the engines and its cargo hold.

Glasgow Cathedral

The oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland, it’s perched at a high point of the city. From the Glasgow Necropolis behind it (a Victorian cemetery), you find a beautiful view of the city stretched out before you.

Blue Police Boxes

The tour guide was amazing!

All this beauty and architecture and what made it into THE IRON FIN?

St. Enoch Square

An old subway entrance was the inspiration for the backdoor to the Glaister Institute. Originally the Glasgow District Subway Company’s head office, it’s a small(ish) cube of a building with gorgeous details (turrets and dormers and corbels!). The top two floors were office space, with the ground floor providing both tickets and the entrance to the St. Enoch station.


For those of you who listen to your books, the audiobook of THE IRON FIN just released. Let me know what you think about the narrator! 




About Anne

Though USA TODAY bestselling author Anne Renwick holds a Ph.D. in biology and greatly enjoyed tormenting the overburdened undergraduates who were her students, fiction has always been her first love. Today, she writes steampunk romance, placing a new kind of biotech in the hands of mad scientists, proper young ladies and determined villains.

Anne brings an unusual perspective to steampunk. A number of years spent locked inside the bowels of a biological research facility left her permanently altered. In her steampunk world, the Victorian fascination with all things anatomical led to a number of alarming biotechnological advances. Ones that the enemies of Britain would dearly love to possess.

To chat with Anne, stop by on Facebook or join the Department of Cryptobiology Facebook group. You can also join her newsletter list to have cover reveals, sneak peaks, sales and giveaways delivered straight to your inbox.


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