Follies, I love this sort of architecture, and Glasgow is no laggard when it comes to boasting of a fine collection.
So what's a folly in the first place? In a way, it's a structure that declares its folly status itself, a mad bit of building that makes no real sense, but delights all the same. Life would seem all the more drab if it wasn't there. Not the kinda philosophy Le Corbusier would have advocated, and all the better for it, I feel.
In the City itself we have two gems in Glasgow Green, Templeton's Carpet Factory and the Nelson Obelisk. The Carpet Factory has been much documented on the forum already. Suffice to say, it looks like a medieval Venetian Palazzo plonked down in the middle of Glasgow. And it was a carpet factory!? Built in 1889 and designed by William Leiper. Due to its partial collapse killing 29 women in 1899, it has something of a checkered history.
It has a fellow chunk of Italian factory folly structure in the shape of the ICI Warehouse in Tradestone Street. This was designed in 1900 by W.F. McGibbon who was inspired by the Bargello in Florence.
Back in Glasgow Green we have David (Diddy?) Hamilton's Obelisk commemorating Nelson, built the year after Trafalgar in 1806, one of a fleet of columns and obelisks built round Britain and the Empire in the wake of the Admiral's death. Other folly monuments include the Scott Column in George's Square, which performs the task of being Glasgow's equivalent of Nelson's Column in London, and the Battle of Langside Memorial Column in Queen's Park.
Alexander Thomson often tottered towards folly design, but only really gets there in his dwelling at 200 Nithsdale Road, where he constructed “a residence suitable for a minor official in the court of Ramses II”. Haven't had a look myself, but apparently it's difficult to see today, due to a high growth front garden.
Outside the city lies a wealth of batty buildings. Sticking with Columns and Obelisks, Helensburgh has the Bell's Obelisk, built in 1872 to commemorate Henry Bell, who built one of the first steam powered boats ever made. Renton has Smollet's Column, built in the late 18th century to commemorate local lad Tobias Smollett, author of THE EXPEDITION OF HUMPHREY CLINKER. In Crawford is another Obelisk built in the 19th century, commemorating, naturally enough, the Crawford family.
Other, non phallic structures include the very striking Hamilton Mausoleum built for the Dukes of Hamilton just outside of you know where. Apparently it claims the record for the longest echo inside it's dome, which lasts for 15 seconds (St. Paul's Cathedral in London claims only 8 seconds).
Also in Hamilton is Chatelherault, a long screen with four built in pavilions, made for the 10th Duke, began in April 1732. Incredibly enough, this large structure was basically a dog kennel for hunting hounds. The mutts didn't appreciate their palatial surroundings however, and the whole pack apparently went mad in 1739. Also in Hamilton is Cadzow Castle, which was a 15th century ruin turned into an “eye-catcher” in the 18th century.
Another 18th century eye-catcher tower stands in Lochwinnoch, called the Castle Semper Prospect Tower, built by Captain William McDowell on Kenmuir Hill. At Rosneath is the 1802 Belvedere Steading, a Gothick eye-catcher designed by landscape painter Alexander Nasmyth. Milgavie also has it's 18th eye-catcher tower on it's golf course, known as “The Folly”. Finally, two monuments. In Carluke, the 19th Century Milton Head, commemorating the father of the ordinance survey, Major-General William Roy, and the Gothick 19th century Pollock Monument at Newton Mearns. This commemorates the Robert Pollock, who wrote the now forgotten THE COURSE OF TIME.
Much of this info comes from Gwyn Headley and Wim Meulenkamp's indispensable tome FOLLIES, GROTTOES AND GARDEN BUILDINGS. It is however, like my post, a bit short on photo's, due to space. So any images and further info on the subject would be great. Also, I'm a bit puzzled by one of it's entries. They claim an Obelisk at Erskine Ferry, the Blantyre Obelisk, built in the the memory of the 11th Earl, who “had the misfortune to be killed in a riot in Brussels in 1830.” Is there such a structure in Erskine itself, or are they getting it mixed up with the Obelisk just outside Bowling? If not, what does the Bowling Obelisk commemorate? I remember it seems to be heavily fenced off. To all these mighty... erm... “erections” I salute you.