West End exhibition: current thinking on River Kelvin to be floated at Kibble show

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West End residents and visitors are being asked to consider the future of the River Kelvin at a major exhibition in the West End over the coming weeks.

How can the river be preserved for future generations? Should development be allowed along its course? Where is the money to ensure that its recovery continues?

These are some of the questions posed at “Kelvin at the Kibble” which runs from Friday May 27 to Sunday June 12.

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Friends: Groups with an interest in the river have come together to stage the exhibition at Kibble Palace. Picture Tom Donald.

The exhibition has been put together by groups and individuals to promote all aspects of the river and to highlight its environmental and social significance.

It has been co-ordinated by an informal group – the Kelvin Biodiversity Network – made up of organisations interested in the river and its wildlife.

In 2014 the Kelvin Biodiversity Network organised a conference “The River Kelvin, its History and Natural History” as part of Glasgow’s 2015 Science Week.

The ‘Kelvin in the Kibble’ exhibition brings some of the issues raised there to a wider audience.

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Scenic: The river brings wildlife and stunning scenery in to the heart of the city. Picture: Tom Donald.

Images by Glasgow photographer Tom Donald, who has been capturing the sights and scenery along the river for many years, also feature in the exhibition.

Roger Downie, president of the Glasgow Natural History Society, one of the organisations that make up the river network, said: “People often think of wildlife as something you see in the countryside, but Glasgow is lucky to have lots of parks and also rivers running through the city.

“In the heavy industrial era, the rivers were pretty dead to wildlife, but after decades of good environmental management, the River Kelvin, in particular, with its steep wooded banks, is a true wildlife haven, both in the water and in the land about.

“The Kelvin Biodiversity Exhibition brings together many people and organisations interested in the wildlife of the river, and interested also in making people more aware of the wildlife jewels on their doorstep, and of the ways in which this wildlife can be protected, recorded and enhanced.”

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Kelvin: Issues surrounding the river and its future have been the focus of much thinking by the groups behind the exhibition. Picture: Tom Donald

The Kelvin Biodiversity Network was named in December 2013 at a meeting of representatives of Glasgow Natural History Society, Friends of the River Kelvin and Clyde River Foundation.

Since then RSPB, Trust for Conservation Volunteers and Citizen Science have become part of the core group.

Richard Weddle, also from the Glasgow Natural History Society, said: “The River Kelvin and the green spaces alongside it are one of Glasgow’s ‘green arteries’.

“There are records of over 2,000 species associated with the river – including plants, birds, fish, insects and fungi – and there are certainly many more still to be found.

“The exhibition is important in highlighting this valuable natural heritage, and reminding Glaswegians and others how the river enhances their lives and their well-being.”

One of the topics posed by the conference last year was whether the river can once again be a source of power.

In its industrial past, as many as ten mills have used the water power of the Kelvin within the current city boundary, and the weirs which maintained a head of water are still in place.

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Given the overall policy to increase Scotland’s usage of renewable energy sources, the economic viability and practical prospects of harnessing the kelvin’s energy for modern purposes is now being discused .

‘Kelvin at the Kibble’ is hosted at the Kibble Palace within the grounds of the Botanic Gardens in the West End.

A programme of activities is being laid on as part of a Family Day taking place on Saturday June 11 between 11am and 4pm.

More pictures by Tom Donald of the River Kelvin can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/clearwood/albums/72157645100204081

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