Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Object of the Month - March 2011

This months Object of the Month is perhaps the most impressive exhibit on display at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

It is, of course, the Spitfire.

I can, and will if you let me, go on and on about my love for the Spitfire. It's a truly beautiful machine, and I thrill whenever I hear the sound of one in the sky above me. It was always a highlight of air shows when I was a child, and one of my dreams would be to one day be at the controls of one of these stunning planes.

There is a "thing" about the Spitfire which no other plane has - it's perhaps due to the image it has as the victor of the Battle of Britain (although as anyone could tell you, that particular honour strictly speaking belongs to the Hurricane) but whatever it is, the Spitfire seems to have an effect on people that's hard to describe.

This particular model doesn't have the "classic" look of a Spitfire - it's a later model - an F22 Spitfire with a Rolls Royce Griffon engine rather than the more famous Merlin. It changes the look slightly, but it's still recognisably a Spitfire.

This particular Spitfire is serial number LA198. It flew with 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron between 1947 and 1949. It crashed on landing at Horsham St. Faith Base and never flew again.

I believe it served as a "gate guardian" for some time, before returning to Glasgow in 1998. It was then sent to the Museum of Flight at East Fortune where it was restored. It has been hanging on display in the West Hall of Kelvingrove since 2005.

It's an incredibly impressive display. While some people say it should be at the Museum of Transport (and I can see their point) I think it fits well in its current surroundings. My only gripe is that it would be wonderful to be able to climb into that cockpit and get a feel of what it was like to fly.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is open 10am until 5pm every day (except Friday and Sunday when it opens at 11) and entry is free. Next time you're in Glasgow, make a point of visiting the museum. It's a great trip and you won't be disappointed.

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