Industrial Revolution took hold in Glasgow at the beginning of the
19th century. The manufacture of cotton and textiles, chemicals,
glass, paper and soap increased rapidly. Immigrants from the Highlands
in the 1820s and later from Ireland in the 1840s formed the workforce.
Glasgow's population grew from a quarter of a million at the start
of Victoria's reign to 760,000 at the end of her reign. The cotton
industry alone employed almost a third of the workforce at its height.
then diversified into heavy industries like shipbuilding, locomotive
construction and other heavy engineering that could thrive on nearby
supplies of coal and iron ore.
1870 and 1914, Glasgow ranked as one of the richest and finest cities
in Europe. On the other hand, however, the city suffered from appalling
social problems of poverty, crime and disease. The massively unequal
distribution of wealth meant that the splendid mansions in the West
End were a marked contrast to the wynds and closes of the High Street,
Saltmarket and Gallowgate areas in the East End. There were serious
typhus epidemics in 1837 and 1847 and the first cholera outbreak
in Scotland in 1832 killed 10,000 people. Between the 1830s and
the late 1850s, death rates in the cities rose to peaks not seen
since the 17th century.
Katrine Scheme, opened by Queen Victoria in 1859, whereby Glasgow
drew its water from the Trossachs, went a long way to address the
problem. It also paved the way for other enterprises like slum clearance,
gas supply, public lighting, tramways, museums, libraries, art galleries
and parks. By the 1890s Glasgow had more municipal services than
any other city of its size.
these improvements, the fall in the price of basic foods in the
1870s and 1890s, the improvement of milk supplies, free school meals,
and the widening influences of nurses, midwives and health visitors
were just as important in cutting back death rates amongst the poor
as cleaner water and more efficient sewerage systems.
The two Great
Exhibitions of 1881 and 1901, both in Kelvingrove Park, displayed
Glasgows pride in its achievements. Glasgow was, without
a doubt, the "Second City of the Empire."
Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Queen Margaret Drive
Kibble Palace, a magnificent glasshouse, takes pride of place
Glasgows Botanic Gardens. Originally, the University
Physic Gardens, they moved to their present site in 1841 from
Sauchiehall Street. The Kibble Palace is named after John
Kibble of Coulport who donated the glasshouse from his estate
beside Loch Long in 1871. It was carefully taken to pieces
at Coulport, shipped on barges down the Clyde to Glasgow and
was re-erected in the Botanic Gardens in 1873. It now contains
a collection of exotic tree ferns, started in 1881.
Park, Art Gallery & Museum
Park was bought by the city council in 1852 from Provost Patrick
Colquhoun's Kelvingrove House Estate. It was laid out by Sir
Joseph Paxton, designer of the Crystal Palace in London. It
was used twice for International Exhibitions in 1888 and 1901,
displaying Glasgow's pride in its achievements. The second
International Exhibition in 1901 attracted 11.5 million people,
including the Tsar of Russia. The exhibition focused on the
city's economic and industrial achievements. Statues
of Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), scientist, and Thomas Lister (1827-1912),
pioneer of antiseptic surgery, can be found in the park.
Art Galley and Museum was officially opened in 1901. It had
been built following a design competition and was launched
with the International Exhibition in the surrounding Kelvingrove
impressive building features red decorative stonework and
contains twenty display galleries. It houses Natural History/Zoology,
Archaeology and History collections with Fine Arts works by
Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, amongst others. The
Art Gallery and Museum Kelvingrove is the most popular free
visitor attraction in Scotland with over a million visitors
Tenement House, Garnethill
Glasgow, more than any other Scottish city, is famous for
its tenements. The Tenement House is a late Victorian first-floor
flat with four rooms. Many of the original features remain including
bed recesses and a kitchen range. Life in Victorian Glasgow
is presented through the furniture and the belongings of Miss
Agnes Toward, who lived there for over 50 years.
has some of the finest examples of Victorian architecture
in Scotland. One of the foremost Victorian architects was
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson (1817-1875). Thomson designed all
types of buildings, mainly in Glasgow, including churches,
shopping arcades and mansion houses. He was inspired by the
classic style of Greek architecture, hence the nickname "Greek",
although he was also influenced by Italian, Romanesque, Scottish
Baronial and Gothic styles.
Vincent Street Church, built in 1859, is one of Glasgow's
finest landmarks. The tower has a mix of Egyptian and Greco-Roman
styles, with Indian motifs; whilst the church itself is Grecian
in style with Egyptian-style doors. The elegant interior is
not in keeping with that of a traditional Presbyterian kirk,
although Thomson himself was a committed Presbyterian. The
church is no longer used as a place of worship.
designed as a shopping centre, the Egyptian Halls are regarded
as Thomson's commercial masterpiece. Built in 1872, of cast
iron and stone, you can see Thomson's trademark Grecian columns
near the top of the five floors - so the name 'Egyptian' is
a misnomer. There were plans to restore the building when
Glasgow was City of Architecture and Design in 1999 but disputes
over ownership have caused delays.