If, like me, you are a proper nosey parker, the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival (September 11-17), is your chance to keek behind some of the city’s most impressive doors.

From historic churches and music halls to private clubs and shipyards, all, and more, will be offering a warm welcome over the festival’s week-long run. Throw in a heap of talks, guided walks, and workshops, and there’s something to satisfy even the most inquisitive of minds.

The nationwide event is organised by the Scottish Civic Trust, whose HQ, the 18th century Tobacco Merchant’s House, in Glasgow’s Miller Street, is a prime example of the city’s architectural inheritance.

While the success of the whole event depends on the goodwill of a host of knowledgeable volunteers and building owners, in Glasgow, it’s the city’s Building Preservation Trust that provides the glue and organising zeal that holds the whole thing together.

Now in its 33rd year, the theme of this year’s Festival is ‘The Sensory City,’ allowing locals and visitors alike to delve into the non-visual senses to experience Glasgow in a whole new light.

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Being a bit of an old sensualist myself, ahead of my sold-out opening evening talk at Glasgow University’s Advanced Research Centre, I’ve been racking my brain to recall some of the city’s lost and forgotten sounds, sensations, and pongs. Think of shipyard hooters, the shoogle and clang of the trams, the over-ripe smell of the old Fruit Market on a hot summer’s day, or the briny-fresh pong of the Briggait Fish Market.

Just as in Patrick Suskind’s wonderful novel, ‘Perfume’, our olfactory sense (that’s your neb), has the wonderful power to conjure up forgotten and half-buried memories; the smell of your mum’s favourite perfume, the tobacco-scented wool of your dad’s old cardigan, the mouth-watering aroma of trays of hot pies coming out the oven of one of the city’s lost bakeries.

The Herald:

Norry Wilson of Lost Glasgow

These fleeting will-o'-the-wisp sensations don’t only conjure up a lost Glasgow, they have the power to summon ghosts – the generations of family and fellow Glaswegians who helped shape both us, and the city around us.

I’ve reason enough to be grateful to the Doors Open Days Festival. Apart from letting me explore some usually hidden corners of our city, eight years ago they asked me to do my first public talk as Lost Glasgow.

On the night, and never having done anything similar before, my knees were knocking. That year, my talk was held in architect James Salmon Jr’s old British Linen Bank, of 1897, on High Street (very handy for some Dutch courage in the now lost Old College Bar).

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In the event, I needn’t have worried; once I got the first laugh out of the audience, I was away, and they haven’t been able to shut me up since.

My only words of advice for those trying to pack too much into the Festival is, slow down, plan your tea/coffee (pee!) stops en-route, pack a brolly and or a waterproof – this is, after all, Glasgow – and, if you do bump into any ghosts along the way, don’t be afraid, for they are only the ‘Dear happy ghosts’ of Iain Crichton Smith’s 1972 poem, ‘You Lived in Glasgow’.

Now, go out and sense your city anew.

Journalist and social historian Norry Wilson runs the Lost Glasgow Facebook page.