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Riverside Museum

Coordinates: 55°51′54″N 4°18′23″W / 55.8651°N 4.30638°W / 55.8651; -4.30638
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Riverside Museum
Riverside Museum Glasgow EC2018
EstablishedApril 14, 1964; 60 years ago (1964-04-14) (as Glasgow Museum of Transport) June 21, 2011; 12 years ago (2011-06-21) (as Riverside Museum)
Location100 Pointhouse Place, Yorkhill, Glasgow, G3 8RS, Scotland (Partick is nearby, across the River Kelvin)
Collection size3,000 objects
Visitors1,364,739 (2019)[1]
Public transit accessGlasgow Subway National Rail Partick station

The Riverside Museum (replacing the preceding Glasgow Museum of Transport) is a museum in the Yorkhill area of Glasgow, Scotland, housed in a building designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, with its River Clyde frontage at the new Pointhouse Quay. It forms part of the Glasgow Harbour regeneration project. The building opened in June 2011, winning the 2013 European Museum of the Year Award. It houses many exhibits of national and international importance. The Govan-Partick Bridge, which will provide a pedestrian and cycle path link from the museum across the Clyde to Govan, is set to be completed in 2024.


Glasgow Museum of Transport (1964–2011)[edit]

The Museum of Transport was opened on 14 April 1964 by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[2][3] Created in the wake of the closure of Glasgow's tramway system in 1962, it was initially located at the former Coplawhill tram depot on Albert Drive in Pollokshields, before moving to the Kelvin Hall in 1988.[4] The old building was subsequently converted into the Tramway arts centre.[5]

The museum was then situated inside the Kelvin Hall opposite the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the west end of Glasgow. The Kelvin Hall was built in 1927, and operated as an exhibition centre, then was converted in 1987 to house the Museum of Transport and the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena.

The Kelvin Hall site itself closed in April 2010, with the Museum moving to its third home at the Riverside Museum in June 2011.[6]

The current Glasgow Museum of Transport (Riverside Museum)

Riverside Museum (2011–present)[edit]

The museum at Kelvin Hall closed on 18 April 2010, with most of its collections moved to the purpose-built Riverside Museum in Glasgow Harbour on the Clyde, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and engineers Buro Happold.[7] The current museum opened on Tuesday 21 June 2011.

The Riverside Museum building was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and engineers Buro Happold.[8] The internal exhibitions and displays were designed by Event Communications, a specialist London-based museum design firm.[9]

The purpose-built Museum replaced the previous home for the city's transport collection, at the city's Kelvin Hall.

The location of the museum is on the site of the former A. & J. Inglis Shipyard within Glasgow Harbour, on the north bank of the River Clyde and adjacent to its confluence point with the River Kelvin. This site enabled the Clyde Maritime Trust's SV Glenlee and other visiting craft to berth alongside the museum.[10]

interior of building
Outside space at Riverside Museum
Detail of south elevation

Of the £74 million needed for the development of the Riverside Museum, Glasgow City Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have committed £69 million. The Riverside Museum Appeal is a charitable trust established to raise the final £5 million in sponsorship and donations from companies, trusts and individuals for the development of the museum. The Riverside Museum Appeal Trust is recognised as a Scottish Charity SC 033286.[11] Major patrons of the project include: BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships, Weir Group, Rolls-Royce Holdings, FirstGroup, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Caledonian MacBrayne, Arnold Clark, SSE plc, Diageo, Bank of Scotland and Optical Express.[12]

Construction, Feb 2009 & Feb 2010

On 13 November 2007 the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bob Winter cut the first turf.[13] The main contractors for the project were BAM Construct UK Ltd[14] with a range of trade subcontractors including the services installations being delivered by BBESL's team of Jordan Kerr, Gordon Ferguson & Jamie Will and FES, project management being the responsibility of Capita Property and Infrastructure and Buro Happold providing Resident Engineering Services. The building was completed on 20 June 2011 and the next day it opened to the public.[15]

The Riverside Museum with The Tall Ship Glenlee berthed outside


South African Locomotive at The Riverside Museum
Class 15F locomotive 3007

As well as housing many of the existing collections of the Glasgow Museum of Transport, the city has acquired SAR Class 15F 4-8-2 steam locomotive, No.3007. Built by the Glasgow-based North British Locomotive Company at its Polmadie Works in 1945, the locomotive was bought in late 2006 from Transnet.[16] It was on display in George Square for a short time in 2007, as part of the effort to raise the £5 million public contribution funding.[17]

Models of Queen Mary (foreground) and Queen Elizabeth (background) in the Clyde Room (Kelvin Hall)
Accurate full-scale recreation of a pre-1977 Glasgow Subway station, featuring salvaged items from the former Merkland Street subway station (Kelvin Hall)

Road vehicles[edit]

The museum housed the oldest surviving pedal cycle and the world's leading collection of Scottish-built cars and trucks, including pioneering examples from Scottish manufacturers Argyll, Arrol-Johnston and Albion. More modern Scottish-built cars, namely the Rootes Group's Hillman Imp, Chrysler Avenger and Chrysler Sunbeam were represented too along with many other motorcars in a large showroom-type display sponsored by Arnold Clark.

All forms of transport were featured, from horse-drawn vehicles to fire engines, from motorcycles to caravans, even toy cars and prams.

Ship models[edit]

In the Clyde Room was a display of some 250 ship models,[18] representing the contribution of the River Clyde and its shipbuilders and engineers to maritime trade and the Royal Navy, including the Comet of 1812, the Hood, the Howe, the Queen Mary, and the Queen Elizabeth and the QE2.

Railway and municipal transport exhibits[edit]

Locomotive manufacture was also an important Glasgow industry and the museum celebrated the city's railway heritage, including locomotives such as:

Model of the old St Enoch station at the Transport Museum (Kelvin Hall)

Other main exhibits displayed the evolution of Glasgow's public transport system and included seven Glasgow Corporation Tramways tramcars from different eras, Glasgow Corporation trolleybuses, and the reconstruction of "Kelvin Street", which aimed to recapture the atmosphere of 1930s Glasgow, including full-scale replicas of a pre-1977 Glasgow Subway station and the Regal Cinema, which played Scottish transport documentaries such as Seawards the Great Ships.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Latest Visitor Figures: Visits made in 2019 to Visitor Attractions in Membership with ALVA". www.alva.org.uk. UK: ALVA – Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  2. ^ The Transport Museum Scene Trolley Wire issue 100 October 1965 page 9
  3. ^ Glasgow Museum Extended The Railway Magazine issue 791 March 1967 pages 124-127
  4. ^ "Glasgow, 522 Pollokshaws Road, Coplaw Horse-tram Depot | Canmore".
  5. ^ "MEMORIES: Tram fine day at Transport Museum".
  6. ^ Transport museum closes before replacement opens BBC News 18 February 2010
  7. ^ "Museum of Transport Glasgow, Glasgow Transport Museum, Zaha Hadid". Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Museum of Transport Glasgow". www.glasgowarchitecture.co.uk. UK: glasgowarchitecture. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  9. ^ Banks, Tom (10 February 2010). "Event works with Zaha Hadid on Glasgow museum". Design Week. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Riverside Museum". Clyde Port. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  11. ^ "Riverside Museum Appeal". Glasgow Museums. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  12. ^ Riverside Museum Patrons
  13. ^ "Building of Glasgow's £74M Riverside Museum gets underway". 24hourmuseum.org.uk. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  14. ^ "Riverside Museum". www.bam.co.uk. UK: BAM. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  15. ^ "Glasgow's £74m Riverside Museum opens to public". BBC News. UK: BBC. 21 June 2011.
  16. ^ "3007 Returns to Glasgow". Railways Africa. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Train steams in for museum funds". BBC News Scotland. UK: BBC. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  18. ^ "A look back at the old Scottish Transport Museum at Kelvin Hall". 28 June 2020.

55°51′54″N 4°18′23″W / 55.8651°N 4.30638°W / 55.8651; -4.30638