Glasgow

Glasgow


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Glasgow is believed to have grown up round a Christian settlement established in the late 6th century by St Mungo, whose church was probably on the site of the present cathedral.

Glasgow University was founded in 1451, making it the fourth oldest in the United Kingdom and the second oldest in Scotland (St. Andrews was founded in 1411).

Glasgow's commercial prosperity dates from the 17th century when the port on the River Clyde began importing tobacco, sugar, cotton and other goods from the Americas. A large percentage of these goods were then re-exported to France, Germany, Italy, Holland and Norway. After the inventions of James Watt and Richard Arkwright, Glasgow became involved in the textile industry when cotton mills were built in the city.

Glasgow became involved in shipbuilding and by 1835 half the tonnage of steam ships produced in Britain were built on the River Clyde. The centre of the city was not accessible to shipping until improvements were made to river navigation in the 1840s.

The economy of the city was benefited by the development of the railway system. Important lines included the Garnkirk & Glasgow (1831), the Edinburgh & Glasgow (1842) and the Caledonian Railway (1845) that linked the main industrial centres of England with Glasgow.

In the 19th century the population of Glasgow grew rapidly going from a population of 77,000 in 1801 to 420,000 in 1861. Low standard working-class housing was built quickly to meet this increase in demand. By the early 1860s the city centre was an unhealthy, overcrowded ghetto, with population density levels of 1,000 people per acre.

There are some villages and fishing towns within the mouth of the Clyde, but the first town of note is called Greenock. It is not an ancient place, but seems to be grown up in later years. The merchants of Glasgow who are concerned in the fishery, employ the Greenock vessels for the catching and curing the fish, and for several other trades.

Glasgow is, indeed, a very fine city; the four principal streets are the fairest for breadth, and the finest built that I have ever seen in one city. The houses are all of stone, and generally equal and uniform in height, as well as in front; the lower story generally stands on vast square Doric columns, not round pillars, and arches between give passage into the shops, adding to the strength as well as beauty of the building; in a word, it is the cleanest, the most beautiful, the best built city in Britain, London excepted.

In Glasgow, which I first visited, it was found that the great mass of the fever cases occurred in the low wynds and dirty narrow streets and courts, in which, because lodging was there cheapest, the poorest and most destitute naturally had their abodes. From one such locality, between Argyle Street and the river, 754 of about 5,000 cases of fever which occurred in the previous year were carried to the hospitals.

We entered a dirty low passage like a house door, which led from the street through the first house to a square court immediately behind, which court, with the exception of a narrow path around it leading to another long passage through a second house, was occupied entirely as a dung receptacle.

The Clyde is a muddy, uninteresting river 100 miles lone which rises fifteen hundred feet up in the hills of Lanarkshire, and flows west across the narrow part of Scotland into the sea. Fourteen miles up from its mouth lies Glasgow. The history of Glasgow and the Clyde is the history of the industrial revolution. For along the valley of this river lie the largest coal fields and the richest iron-ore mines in all the British Isles. It happens that Fulton, Bell and Watt were all originally Clyde men. After the invention of machinery, Glasgow which had been a thriving little seaport of 14,000, serving an agricultural and wool-producing hinterland, became in one short century a great dark smoky city of a million people, surrounded by a dozen ugly industrial suburbs. And half a century later, when men learned to make ships of steel, the Clyde became the greatest shipbuilding river in the world. The Pittsburg worker must bring his iron-ore from some place away up in the Great Lakes region, a thousand miles away, and he must send his finished steel to far-off harbors to be made into ships. But the Clyde worker finds iron-ore, coal, and a 200-acre harbor right at hand. No wonder that more ships were built on the banks of the Clyde before the war than in England, Germany and America put together.

But the Clyde workers do not all build ships. The kindred trades flourish there. They make boilers, locomotives, bridges, machinery, tools. And thousands of them are miners. Bob Smillie, a Lanarkshire miner, is a Clyde man. Keir Hardie, too, worked in the coal-fields area of the Clyde valley.


A Short History of Glasgow's West End

The following text is extracted from The West End Conservation Manual, published by the Glasgow Conservation Trust West. The illustrations are selected from the Trust's Library and Archive, which is open daily to the public by appointment.

The Growth of Glasgow in the Nineteenth Century

The meteoric growth of Glasgow during the nineteenth century has been well documented. The transformation of a busy Georgian mercantile centre to a Victorian industrial powerhouse can best be viewed in terms of population. The remarkable rise from a small city of 77,385 inhabitants in 1801 to a sprawling metropolis of 784,496 in 1901 (excluding the adjacent but independent burghs of Partick and Govan) obviously had major implications for the area's building stock.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the bulk of Glasgow's population resided near the medieval High Street. Most of the buildings between there and Buchanan Street were the mansions of the Tobacco Lords and other wealthy merchants. As Glasgow prospered, the city expanded westward with new terraced houses being built for the growing mercantile class. By 1820, the construction of gridded streets of Georgian terraces had reached today's Blythswood Square, and small villas dotted Garnethill.

Development of the West End

Following the slow but sustained success of the Blythswood and subsequent Woodlands Hill developments, building in the area west of the River Kelvin grew apace upon the completion in 1840 of a new turnpike, the Great Western Road, which provided for the first time a direct route from the city to the lands to the west. With the relocation of the Botanic Gardens to the Kelvinside estate in the early 1840s, the original character of the area -- isolated farms and the country houses of the very wealthy -- began to change rapidly.

The speculative developers of Hillhead, Kelvinside and Dowanhill sought to entice the burgeoning mercantile classes of Glasgow to grand new terraced and detached houses using the attractions of the fresh air and hilltop views, as well as the distance from the less salubrious sections of the city. Eventually, many of the great names in Glasgow commerce resided in the West End, and after the University of Glasgow moved to Gilmorehill in 1870, the area also became the home of the city's academic elite.

In order to attract the cream of Glasgow society, the developers of the West End had to offer the highest standard of suburban building. In the second half of the nineteenth century Glasgow had a plethora of gifted architects who were capable of providing designs for these superlative buildings. Among the most renowned were: Charles Wilson (designer of Kirklee Terrace but best known for the Park Circus area on Woodlands Hill) Alexander "Greek" Thomson (Great Western Terrace, Westbourne Terrace and Northpark Terrace) John T. Rochead (Buckingham Terrace, Buckingham Terrace West and Grosvenor Terrace) and James Thomson (Crown Circus, Crown Gardens, Ashton Terrace, Belhaven Terrace, Belhaven Terrace West and Devonshire Terrace). Other architects who built the West End, and also lived there, were James Miller, John Keppie, Sir John J. Burnet, and, of course, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (whose house at 78 Southpark Avenue was demolished in 1963 and the interior features stored away for nearly twenty years before being reconstructed to form part of the Hunterian Art Gallery at Glasgow University).

Tenemental Construction

Development in the West End first took the form of classical villas and imposing rows of terraced houses which catered for the needs of wealthy families with numerous servants. The terraces were built primarily of cream-coloured local sandstone in graceful crescents, often complemented by landscaped gardens and ornamental cast-iron railings.

In the early years, examples of tenemental construction were rare in the West End. By the 1870s, however, the city's building boom led to an increase in the demand for houses of a more modest nature, and the speculative builders were always eager to supply a ready market. The tenement building is a distinctive feature of traditional Glasgow architecture, and in parts of the West End the tenement is a major contributor to the townscape. In a number of cases, tenements built to very high standards had the external appearance of the more luxurious terraced houses, while others, designed for artisans and their families, were more utilitarian in style.

Elements of Style

Glasgow's Victorian and Edwardian architectural heritage is spread throughout the city, but nowhere is it as diverse and concentrated as in the West End. Pollokshields may have the greatest number of villas, Dennistoun and Govanhill may have greater densities of handsome middle-class tenements, but the West End has the finest of the city's terraced houses, in addition to having its own collection of impressive villas and superior tenement blocks. In fact, in the West End one may see the entire range of typical Glaswegian domestic architecture from 1830 to 1914, ranging from the humble working-class tenements of Partick to the ultimate in terraced homes in the Park Circus area atop Woodlands Hill.

Within the great diversity of building types in the West End is a fascinating variety of architectural styles. The earliest buildings in the West End date from the late Georgian period (c. 1830s), though most were constructed in several different phases of the Victorian era (c. 1840-1900). The culmination of the area's development came in the early part of this century, manifested in the Art Nouveau/Free or Glasgow Style red sandstone terraces and tenements of Dowanhill and Hyndland.

The solid tenements of Hillhead and Partick, the imposing terraces of Dowanhill and the villas of Kelvinside are a unique memorial to the architectural and social vigour of the city in its industrial heyday. Many of Glasgow's most prominent architects left their mark in the creation of the West End, and their work is complemented by vital townscape elements such as trees, communal and private gardens, stone walls and decorative gate piers, and ornamental cast iron gates and railings, all set in a picturesque setting of gently sloping hills and sylvan glades.

Decline of Traditional Buildings

During the postwar period, as whole districts and neighbourhoods of Victorian Glasgow were scheduled for redevelopment, much of the city's traditional housing stock was allowed to decay. In the West End, the pattern of neglect was variable. Some areas suffered greatly, particularly older districts such as Hillhead (which was blighted by the proposals for the expansion of the University), whereas the sturdy tenements in districts such as Hyndland were well maintained by their owners and factors over the years.

Demographic changes in the postwar decades have also caused major changes to the West End's traditional building stock. The large villas and terraced houses from the Victorian and Edwardian era were no longer suited to the modern needs of smaller families without domestic servants. As the families from the Gilded Age died out or moved on, these grand buildings were often bought up for institutional use (most frequently for schools and nursing homes), or taken over by speculative builders and converted into flats. In the worst cases, houses and large flats were ruthlessly subdivided into numerous bedsits in order to provide maximum rents for absentee landlords. The transient tenant populations and general lack of maintenance by unconscientious owners have no doubt exacerbated the decline of these handsome buildings over recent decades.

The Early Years of Glasgow's Conservation Movement

The advent of architectural conservation in Glasgow can easily be dated from the start of statutory town planning in Scotland, emanating from the Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act of 1947 which gave the Secretary of State for Scotland the authority to prepare lists of buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Later legislation in the 1950s and 1960s provided for grant-aid of listed buildings and the designation of entire streets, neighbourhoods, districts and villages as "Conservation Areas," of special architectural or historic interest.

Road Plans Threaten the West End

During the postwar period, the historic architecture and streetscape of Glasgow's West End was threatened by the plans to upgrade Great Western Road to an expressway, widening it to dual carriageway standard, closing off side streets and constructing under- and overpasses for pedestrians. The plans for the Great Western Road Expressway galvanised the nascent conservation movement in the West End. For many reasons, progress on the project was slow. It was eventually cancelled in the mid-1970s (though not before there were major alterations to many of the front gardens along Great Western Road).

Initiating the campaign against the Highway Plan was the New Glasgow Society, which mobilised representatives of all the terraces. An ad hoc group of local residents formed the Great Western Road Defence Committee to fight the road scheme and this committee eventually relaunched itself in 1970 as the Glasgow West Conservation Society. The GWCS continued to take an active role in the promotion of the area's special character, and generally kept a watchful eye over the West End's architectural heritage for some twenty years.

Other Conservation Milestones in the West End

In 1970, the Statutory List of protected buildings in Glasgow increased dramatically with some 101 buildings added from the West End alone. That year also saw the first three Conservation Areas designated under the 1967 Civic Amenities Act. These were: Park, Royal Exchange Square and Blythswood Square. Not until after the publication of Lord Esher's landmark report, Conservation in Glasgow, was the West End designated as a Conservation Area under the new Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act of 1972.

The amount of conservation work in Glasgow and in the West End increased during the 1970s, supported financially by programmes such as the "Facelift Glasgow" campaign to promote the cleaning and restoration of the city's older properties. The biggest boon to the Glasgow conservation movement was no doubt the Housing Repair grants scheme instituted in the mid-1970s. Organised by the new Glasgow District Council Housing Department and mostly underwritten by funding from the central government (through the Housing (Scotland) Act 1974), the programme paid grants of up to 90% for comprehensive repair and stonecleaning of tenements and terraces.

Formation of a West End Initiative

Though progress on refurbishment and conservation work continued in the West End through the 1970s and early '80s, by the mid-1980s there was concern that the scope of repair work was not keeping pace with the degree of deterioration. In June 1986, the Planning Committee of the District Council approved in principle the establishment of a "West End Conservation Advisory Committee" as the catalyst for the new West End Conservation Initiative (WECI). The remit of the new initiative as adopted at this meeting comprised the following:

  • To co-ordinate investment in the preservation and renewal of the West End through public and private agencies
  • To pool and extend knowledge and experience of methods of conserving the West End's townscape and architectural heritage
  • To set new and higher standards for the maintenance, decoration and preservation of buildings in the West End
  • To encourage the conservation and re-use of vacant buildings
  • To generate employment by the wider use of local tradesmen specialised in conservation works
  • To publicise the quality of the West End and its potential as a major tourist attraction
  • To show by example the possibility of regenerating other parts of the city

In order to attract appropriate levels of funding from private sector sources, it was decided that WECI should seek charitable trust status. To this end, in March 1990 the Glasgow West Conservation Trust was established as a registered company limited by guarantee, thereby taking on the assets and liabilities of WECI as well as assuming the latter's remit and objectives. The new Trust appointed a full-time staff, and opened new office premises in Hillhead Baptist Church near Byres Road. Since 1990, the Trust has expanded its staff and has been successful in multiplying the level of project grant aid from its supporting agencies. In 1999 the Trust was relaunched with a new name, the Glasgow Conservation Trust West, and a renewed commitment to safeguarding the architectural heritage of Glasgow's West End into the new millennium. This occasion also marked the launch of the completed West End Conservation Manual, a comprehensive guide to the maintenance and repair of historic buildings which comprises thirteen sections and extends to over 700 pages in total with more than 1,000 illustrations.

Unfortunately, the Trust was forced to close on 31 March 2006 following the withdrawal of funding from Glasgow City Council and Historic Scotland. It was the intention of these two funders to establish a new city-wide conservation trust in April 2006, but due to reasons unknown the plans were delayed and it is not likely that the new body will be implemented until late 2006 or early 2007.

Sources for Local Study

In addition to background historical information and bibliographical sources located in each section of the West End Conservation Manual, analysis of the architecture of the West End and of the city as a whole may be found in the Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow (Elizabeth Williamson et al., 1990) which provides the most comprehensive look at individual buildings, while Glasgow: The Forming of the City (Peter Reed, ed., 1993) provides a valuable overview of the city's architectural development by astutely examining the building cycles in the context of the city's economic and social evolution. The seminal work on the city's architecture, Architecture of Glasgow (Andor Gomme & David Walker, reprinted in 1987), was first published in the late '60s and has been widely credited with bringing the architectural glories of Glasgow to a wide audience. The most recent publication on the history of the West End is Along Great Western Road (Gordon R. Urquhart, 2000) which charts the architectural and social development of the area with over 300 historic photographs. A website devoted to this new publication can be found at www.gordonurquhart.com.

Also, remember to search the World Wide Web for sources of local history. The best new addition to Glasgow's web-based local history collection is TheGlasgowStory, a combined effort of the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde (plus an impressive list of sponsors and contributors).
A fine example of a local area site is the Hyndland Local History Project. A list of Scottish Archive-related websites has also been compiled by the Scottish Records Association. Fascinating material is added to the web on a regular basis, and the Trust welcomes notice of links to any new or improved local history sites.

The history of the West End is examined in depth every autumn during the West End Lectures at the University of Glasgow.


Glasgow Cross

In its earliest days, Glasgow was a small fishing village by a shallow and easily forded River Clyde and it remained this way until the Sixth Century AD when Saint Mungo founded a religious settlement by the Molendinar Burn on the hill to the north. A monastery was built and as the settlement grew, it became recognized more widely, so much so that Saint Columba came to visit. During the centuries that followed, the small township gradually spread southwards along the line of the burn and eventually linked up with the fishing village by the river. The paths connecting the settlements became increasingly well worn until they took the form of lanes and eventually became streets. The first centre of Glasgow was around the site of the monastery and then later the Metropolitan Church ( St. Mungo’s Cathedral ) which was built nearby. Just to the south of it, an old Roman road crossed the Molendinar Burn and those parts to the east and west of the High Street would become the Drygait and Rottenrow respectively. These three streets are the oldest in the city. To the south, a second centre was developing, a lay centre where four streets met at right angles, forming the cross that would become Glasgow Cross.

In the period leading up to the Reformation, Glasgow Cross was known as Mercat ( Market ) Cross after the market that was held there in the wide open space where the four streets met. These were the Tronegait to the west, named after the trone or balance that was installed there for weighing goods, Gallowgait to the east, Street from Mercat Cross to the Metropolitan Church to the north, and Walkergait to the south, the latter named after the waulkers who bleached cloth. Later, the street to the north would be renamed the High Street after the High Kirk and Walkergait would become the Salt Market, after the salmon curing. Glasgow has never been a walled city and the term “gait”, also spelled “gate”, does not refer to a gated entry but instead is an old Scottish word meaning “the way to”. Hence the Briggait is the way to the bridge, in this case the Old Bridge or Brig, Bishop Rae’s Bridge, which was the first major bridge across the Clyde in Glasgow. As Glasgow Cross grew in commercial importance, particularly from the 16th Century onwards, its development surpassed that of the area surrounding the Cathedral. The ingress of London Road, originally called London Street, came much later, in 1824, and opened into the Saltmarket, connecting Glasgow Cross with Great Hamilton Street.

This printed colour postcard shows Glasgow Cross in the early 1900’s when the Tolbooth Steeple was still part of a larger building. The steeple itself dates from 1626/7 and was built together with the original Tolbooth which was used to house the Town Clerk’s office, the council chamber and the city jail. Eventually, as the needs of the civic government increased, these facilities proved insufficient and the property was sold in 1814 and subsequently rebuilt to a design by David Hamilton. Latterly, the building served as the premises of John A. Bowman, auctioneer and valuator, as seen here, until it was demolished in 1921, leaving the steeple isolated where it remains to this day. There used to be a passageway for pedestrians through the base of the steeple but this was closed off once the steeple stood alone. The red sandstone building on the right of the picture was also demolished in the early 1920’s and the site used for construction of the Mercat Building (1925-28) and the Mercat Cross (1929). ( Postcard published by M. Wane & Co., Edinbro. )

In this scene, taken before 1910, we are looking west from the Gallowgate across Glasgow Cross, and down the Trongate. There are military personnel in the right foreground, including one soldier in full dress uniform with a kilt, spats and a chest full of medals. Perhaps a recruiting campaign was underway and there was a recruiting office in nearby Rendezvous Court. Beyond the soldiers, the Tolbooth Steeple and Building are visible across the entrance to the High Street. The curious ornate octagonal building on the left of the picture is the Caledonian Railway building ( 1896 ), designed by J. J. Burnet and part of Glasgow Cross Station whose platforms were below street level. The wrought ironwork on the other side of the building enclosed a ventilation shaft that allowed smoke to escape from the tunnels below. Beyond this, the mounted statue of King William III, Prince of Orange, better known as King Billy, looks down the Trongate, taking in the view with the Tron Steeple on the left. King Billy’s statue was in the Trongate for 163 years before it was taken down in 1923 and, after a short period in storage, erected in the Cathedral precinct in 1926. ( Postcard published in the Philco Series. )

This view, taken around 1910 from London Street*, is looking down the other side of the island on which Glasgow Cross Station building stands with the Trongate beyond. The Saltmarket is on the left of the picture and the original Glasgow Cross is off camera to the right. Men predominate in this scene, most of whom appear to be gathered in small groups on the street corners. R. E. Wright, the ironmonger and shopfitter, enjoys a good location on the Saltmarket corner and, on the floor above, Dr. Tracey is practicing American Dentistry, which must have seemed very modern to the people of Glasgow’s East End. There was plenty of business for dentists in Glasgow and they often took first floor premises in tenement buildings in commercial locations. ( Postcard published in the J. M. Caledonia Series. )

* Later renamed London Road in the 1920’s.

This fine photograph dating from around 1912 shows the view looking north from the Saltmarket towards Glasgow Cross. Perhaps taken early on a Saturday morning, there is a mixed crowd of people out with some family groups and also some men and women on their own. In the foreground, there is a touching scene of a young woman and her baby wrapped in a plaid shawl standing by the kerb. Most of the people are heading up the street towards the Cross, possibly to the Caledonian Railway station and the shops in the Trongate. Tramcar number 774, a “blue” car en route to the Botanic Gardens, is dropping off passengers before turning left into the Trongate. The lorry by the kerb on the right is in the service of MacFarlane, Paton & Co., a firm specializing in jams, jellies and marmalade. It is parked outside the Caledonian Railway Parcels Receiving Office. The single storey building next door is the location for James Coggans’ famous bar “The Coat of Arms” on the corner with London Street. The finely detailed wrought iron lamp standard on the right is serving two roles, both as a light bearer and as a support for the tramwires. It appears to be leaning forward under the tension. At the time this photograph was taken the globes on the lamp standards were in the process of being replaced and newer ones had already been installed at the Cross. ( Postcard published by E. A. Schwerdtfeger & Co., London E. C. and printed in Berlin. )

The Tolbooth Steeple now stands alone in this printed view of Glasgow Cross as seen from the Saltmarket near the junction with St. Andrew Street in 1929/30. The space to the left of the Steeple is now occupied by the new Bank of Scotland Building designed by A. Graham Henderson. Two “white” tramcars, serving the route between Springburn and the southern suburbs of Mount Florida, Cathcart and Netherlee, are passing each other at the Cross. Before route numbering was adopted in 1938, Glasgow’s trams carried distinctly coloured upper panels so that passengers could easily identify their route. This system worked well as long as no cars of the same colour were on a section of the same track and yet serving different routes. In this scene we see a rare exception. The “blue” car in the foreground, on the service from Rutherglen to Kirklee has an X above its destination board because for a short part of its journey in Hope Street, it would be on the same track as used by another blue car service, Renfrew/Linthouse – Keppochill Road/Lambhill/Springburn. This X identification was introduced on 23 October 1928 and discontinued once the route numbering system was introduced in 1938. ( I am grateful to Mr. Hugh McAulay of the Scottish Tramway & Transport Society for this information. )

The vast majority of people in this scene are men, dressed in their working clothes and all wearing bunnets. Not a single bowler hat is to be seen. Very few women are present yet it is clear that hemlines are now at knee level, or well above in the case of one female crossing the street. Another woman, standing by the kerb on the right is wearing leggings and light-colored shoes, clearly decades ahead of her time. ( Postcard published by E. T. W. Dennis & Sons. Ltd., London & Scarborough. )

In this photographic view, also taken in the mid to late 1920’s, the buildings and pedestrians are portrayed with far greater clarity. Again, all of the men are in caps including the man in the right foreground who is dressed in a three-piece suit and sporting a bow tie. R. E. Wright, the ironmonger and shopfitter on the corner, is offering a wide range of goods including brushes, bicycles, clocks, watches, mincers and wringers. There were no spin dryers in those days. Washing had to be hand-wrung or put through the mangle and then hung up to dry. The single-storey building on the left with the balustrade on top is the new Glasgow Cross Station, serving the line below street level. This was the second such building to occupy the site and was completed in 1923. An early bus with pneumatic tyres is passing the Bank of Scotland and the man with the placard is advertising a sale of linoleum at premises on the Gallowgate. ( Real Photo Series postcard by Pelham )

A white-coated policeman is directing traffic in this early 1930’s view of Glasgow Cross taken from the Saltmarket. Apart from three women on the left, waiting to cross the street, the scene is vastly male-dominated. Many men were out of work at this time as a result of the Great Depression and cities such as Glasgow that were so dependent upon heavy industry were particularly badly affected. Robert Wright’s ironmongery and shopfitting business is still on the corner across from Glasgow Cross Station but it is not clear if Dr. Tracey is still practicing American Dentistry above. On the right of the picture, the large shoe identifies John Moffat’s long-established shoe and clog shop at 19 Saltmarket. The ornate lamp standards that bore Glasgow’s first electric street lights have now been replaced with a more utilitarian design. The “white” tramcar approaching the camera, en route to Mount Florida from Springburn, has recently been modernized with the complete enclosure of the upper deck, the fitting of a new destination box and a bow collector for power pickup. It has just passed a tanker lorry with Redline – Glico, a petroleum and motor oil company that was formed in 1931 from the merger of the Redline Motor Spirit Co. Ltd. and Glico Ltd. ( Postcard published by Miller and Lang in their National Series. )

It is now 1949 and Robert Wright’s ironmongery is still supplying hardware on the Saltmarket corner but Dr. Tracey has moved out from the premises above. Moffat’s shoe shop is still in business on the right. There are now more women pedestrians and groups of men are no longer seen loitering on the street corners. The tram services have recently been withdrawn from the High Street and the overhead wiring installed for trolleybus operation. One of Glasgow Corporation’s new 6-wheel trolleybuses ( TB 24, FYS 724 ) is heading north from the Saltmarket on route 102. The absence of destination and route screens from the rear compartments would suggest that this vehicle was on a test run or being used for driver training. Service 102 was the first trolleybus route to be inaugurated in Glasgow, beginning just after noon on Sunday 3rd April, 1949 when the first vehicle left Larkfield Garage bound for Riddrie. These early trolleybuses, intended as tram replacements, were delivered with London Transport – style trolleybus transfers as seen here but they later had to be removed, allegedly because of a copyright complaint from L.T. A Scammell mechanical horse, in the service of the recently nationalized British Railways, is heading towards the camera with a heavy load, having come down the High Street from one of the railway goods depots. It should be noted that the building on the Gallowgate corner across from the Tolbooth Steeple has been reduced in height to two storeys from four since the previous photograph was taken. ( Postcard published by Miller and Lang in their National Series. )

The sun was shining brightly when this photograph of Glasgow Cross was taken in the early 1960’s. Two Glasgow Corporation Daimler buses are about to pass each other on route 37 between Springburn and the southern suburbs of Croftfoot and Castlemilk. The buses are in different liveries as it was a time of transition around 1960/1. As can be seen from the overhead wires, the trolleybuses were still in service on the High Street routes and they would not be withdrawn until April 1966. Women, most of whom are not wearing hats, are busy patronizing the selection of small shops that abound on the Saltmarket. Only one solitary man is wearing a cap and he is walking around the back of the bus on the left. It is not possible to see if Robert Wright is still in the ironmongery business but Moffat’s shoe sign has gone. The buildings continue to darken because of soot deposition although the Clean Air Act introduced in 1956 helped to slow down this process. ( Postcard by Miller & Lang Ltd., Glasgow. )

The newly-built Mercat Building and Mercat Cross take centre stage in this early 1930’s photograph taken from the entrance to the Trongate. We are looking east with the Gallowgate on the left and London Road on the right. The Mercat Building, designed by A. Graham Henderson as part of a master plan for the redevelopment of Glasgow Cross, was completed in 1928. Its deeply modelled façade fronted by two large Ionic columns provides both drama and grandeur at this point of entry to Glasgow’s East End. In comparison, the Mercat Cross, designed by Edith Burnet Hughes and completed in 1929/30, is modest and unassuming. It was paid for by Dr. William Black and his wife and inaugurated on 24 April 1930 in the presence of the Lord Lyon King of Arms and the City Council. With its proclamation platform and balustrade encircling the column bearing a heraldic unicorn, it replaced the original Mercat Cross that had been removed in 1659. The twin spires of St. James United Free Church at the corner of London Road and James Morrison Street are visible on the right. ( Postcard published by J. & M. Co. Ltd., Caledonia Series. )


Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral stands near the heart of Scotland’s largest city. It’s the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have survived the Protestant Reformation of 1560 virtually intact.

Around it there used to be a chanonry – a precinct where the bishops (and, later, archbishops) and clergy lived. A thriving burgh sprang up to its south and west under the bishops’ patronage. Since then, the burgh has grown into the great metropolis we know today.

This inspiring edifice dates mostly from the 1200s. It was dedicated to St Kentigern, also known as St Mungo.

Kentigern is believed to have been the first bishop of the area that is modern Strathclyde. His influence spread widely, and it was later claimed he led a diocese stretching from Loch Lomond to Cumbria.

It’s thought that Kentigern was buried on the cathedral site around 612.

Beacon of prayer

Glasgow Cathedral is one of the finest buildings of the 1200s to survive in mainland Scotland. Parts of it are older still.

Building fabric from Bishop Jocelin’s time (1174–99) is still standing. He is recorded as ‘gloriously enlarging’ his cathedral in 1181. Fragments from the previous cathedral have also been found.

When a fire halted Jocelin’s work, it fell to his successors – notably Bishop William de Bondington (1233–58) – to finish the cathedral.

The end result was a Gothic creation consisting of:

  • rows of pointed arches
  • windows with slender tracery (stone divisions)
  • an unusual array of three vaulted aisles around the presbytery and choir

The intention was to house a shrine to St Kentigern at the main level, behind the high altar, to complement the saint’s tomb in the crypt beneath.

Reform and reuse

The Reformation removed the need for bishops answerable to the Pope. Until their final abolition in 1689, bishops continued in the church in Scotland, but their role was greatly reduced.

Glasgow Cathedral was ‘cleansed’ of its Catholic trappings and put to use as a parish kirk – in fact, three parish kirks. The choir housed the Inner High Kirk the west end of the nave, the Outer High Kirk and the crypt, the Barony Kirk.

But a growing appreciation of the qualities of medieval architecture led to another change. By 1835, both the Outer High Kirk and the Barony Kirk had left the premises. This left the great medieval cathedral to return to something approaching its former glory.

In 1836, the cathedral became state State property. By 1857, the entire building was looked after by the State. A campaign of restoration began and continues to this day.


Kelvin Hall Reflections

Shahana Khaliq, Kelvin Hall Assistant Curator, tells us about working with the Showpeople Community and their connections to Kelvin Hall.

Kelvin Hall, March 2016

Many young people of today might not look at the Kelvin Hall and think that it used to hold an annual circus and carnival every winter. The Kelvin Hall Circus and Carnival was an incredibly popular event that ran for eight weeks during Christmas and New Year. It was one of the most visited buildings for many reasons and the carnival was one of them.


Glasgow History Facts and Timeline

It's thought that Glasgow first grew up around a church that was founded by St. Mungo in the 6th century AD. It's difficult to imagine that the largest city in Scotland came from such modest beginnings.

At any rate, a village grew up around the church. By the 12th century, this episcopal settlement had grown to become one of the wealthiest in Scotland.

Medieval Origins in History

At some time around 1170, Glasgow became a burgh, thus freeing it from the constraints that had hampered its development so far. In the 1190s, the city was also permitted to hold an annual fair on what is now known as the Glasgow Green. At this point in the city's history, it was probably nothing more than a few main streets. In 1260, a community of Dominican friars set up here, providing care for the city's sick and infirm.


Perhaps a sign of the city's growing importance was the founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451. At that time, the university was very much tied in with the church. Lectures were held in the cathedral's crypt or in a nearby monastery. In 1492, the city was given its own archbishop.

From the 17th to the 19th Century

Glasgow was subjected to numerous setbacks during the 17th century, including being besieged several times. Nevertheless, the city began to prosper. Its wealth was mainly built on the tobacco, sugar and cotton trades. The new docks built at Port Glasgow, just down the River Clyde from the city centre, allowed goods to be imported and exported more easily.

Thanks to Glasgow's location on the west coast of Scotland, the city also benefited from the opening up of the new colonies in the Americas and West Indies. New prosperity brought new streets and building projects. In 1772, another bridge was built over the River Clyde and in 1775, work on the Royal Exchange was completed.

In the 19th century, Glasgow came to rely on its heavy industries, including steel, coal and shipbuilding. Nearby sources of iron ore, coal and limestone meant that the city was perfectly located as a centre for new industry. Little wonder that, for the Victorians, this was acknowledged as 'the second city of the British Empire'. By 1835, Glasgow was producing half the tonnage of all British steam ships. The arrival of steam trains meant that even more goods could be transported to and from the city.

A thriving textile industry sprang up along with steam-driven mills. Of course, whilst such industrial endeavour generated vast sums of wealth for the city's businessmen, it did little for ordinary Glaswegians. Cheap housing to accommodate workers led to the city having a reputation for some of the worst slums in the whole country.

Modern Times in the City

During World War One and World War Two, Glasgow became a centre for the manufacturing of ships and armaments. It also became a prime target for German bombing raids. Such raids destroyed much of Glasgow's slum housing. However, post-war housing development did little to right the situation. It was during this phase of the city's history that we see the construction of such infamous housing estates as the Gorbals.

From the 1950s on, the city's fortunes went into decline. Stiff competition from overseas and a lack of investment in the city led to high unemployment and poor conditions for those who lived here. By the 1970s, urban decay was perhaps at its worst. Then, in 1990, Glasgow's circumstances changed quite dramatically. It was named European City of Culture and what followed was a period of massive investment in the city. It produced such developments as those found on the waterfront, leading to Glasgow being named the UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999.


Planned development

The medieval town gradually gave way to more planned and prestigious development.

Civic control of Glasgow's eighteenth-century street formation meant that the irregular contours of the medieval town gradually gave way to more planned and prestigious development. A striking early example was King Street, created during the 1720s to serve as a market centre for the city. Meat, fish and dairy produce were the main commodities on offer, together with fruit and vegetables in nearby Candleriggs. All this was a conscious effort by commercially-minded magistrates to regulate arrangements for the sale of foodstuffs, and the market character of the area endured until the late twentieth century.


What Glasgow family records will you find?

There are 49,000 census records available for the last name Glasgow. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Glasgow census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 9,000 immigration records available for the last name Glasgow. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 14,000 military records available for the last name Glasgow. For the veterans among your Glasgow ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 49,000 census records available for the last name Glasgow. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Glasgow census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 9,000 immigration records available for the last name Glasgow. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 14,000 military records available for the last name Glasgow. For the veterans among your Glasgow ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Pubs in other areas

Although this web site has been developed mainly of the Glasgow pub and publican I have over the years collected a number of photographs and histories on pubs and publicans outside the city walls. These include Coatbridge, Hamilton, Wishaw, Cambuslang, Blantyre, Uddingston. As this web site develops pubs and publicans from all over Scotland will be included.

Pub Photographs

Over the years I have collected a large number of pub fronts and interior photographs, these have been reduced in size to save web space. If you require a copy of any of the photographs in this site, please get in touch. For a small charge we can have the photo printed and posted out for you.

Your Help

As this web site develops into one of the largest collection of pubs and publicans, it would not grow in size if it wasn’t for the input you give. If you have a story to tell about a pub or publican please get in touch. Something as simple as a name of a pub could bring back memories to some who has forgotten the name. If you have an old photograph even if it is only a few years old please get in touch and we will publish your image and information on this site.

The site will regularly be updated with new photographs, stories with your help.


The New Beginning

On Sunday, 4th October 1908, his Grace Archbishop Maguire of Glasgow performed the ceremony of solemnly blessing and laying the memorial-stone of St. Aloysius’ new church. The day was favoured with beautiful weather, and a large crowd was present to witness the ceremony. Aprocession consisting of St.Aloysius’ altar boys, some forty priests and his Grace the Archbishop, marched from a temporary sacristy to the platform where the blessing and laying of the stone took place. Ajar containing some current newspapers and coins, with a document relating to current church affairs, was placed in a cavity beneath the memorial stone. The Archbishop was presented with a silver trowel by Mr. C.S.Menart on behalf of the contractors, before formally laying the stone. Archbishop Maguire in his address congratulated the congregation of St. Aloysius on having at last reached the beginning of the work of erecting a new church. He claimed to be particularly interested in the work, for as a young layman he had had the pleasure of being present at the opening of the present temporary structure. The new church was unique amongst the Catholic churches of Glasgow in that it had a tower, and it is in the north east corner of the tower that the memorial-stone was placed.

The erection of the new church was completed in some eighteen months and on Quinquagesima Sunday, 6th February 1910, the solemn opening of the church of St. Aloysius Garnethill took place and the parish, which had served the Garnethill community for more than forty years, now had one of the largest and most beautiful church buildings in the city. The church is built in the Renaissance style of the seventeenth century, after the Cathedral of Namur, Belgium. The architect Menart, was responsible for many fine buildings but an architectural historian described St. Aloysius thus: “His masterpiece, though, is St Aloysius Church, Rose Street (1908-10), whose slender, golden-domed campanile rises above the church’s heavily carved Baroque façade and Byzantine dome, creating a prominent landmark on the heights of Garnethill.”

The church was still in an unfinished condition but the swift approach of a General Mission made it necessary that accommodation should be available for the large numbers who would be attending these services.

The solemnity of the function was suited to the importance of the occasion. The same Archbishop Maguire presided and the ministers of the High Mass were Canon MacLuskey, of St. John’s, Fr. Paschal O.F.M., and Fr. Antoninus C.P. The Jesuit priests present were: the Rector Fr. Crofton, Fr. Short, who had been responsible for the collecting the greater part of the money for the building, Frs. Bacon, Egger, Corrigan, Legros, Unsworth, Parry, Hanson, Bateman, McCluskey, Middleton, Annacker and Meyer.

The preacher was the distinguished convert, Fr. Robert Hugh Benson, son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He took as his text, “As dying, and behold we live,’’ and went on to deal with the accusations levelled against the Catholic Church that she had failed. He said that those who did not know history very well, did not realize that what the Church said today had always been said for the past nineteen hundred years.

At the opening Mass the choir, under the direction of Mr. Arthur Whittet, sang Elgar’s Ecce Sacerdos Magnus as the entry procession made their way in and during the celebration of Mass performed Gounod’s Messe Chorale, with Elgar’s Ave Maria as an Offertory Motet.


Watch the video: Glasgow Vacation Travel Guide. Expedia


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