City and administrative headquarters of Glasgow City unitary authority, situated on the river Clyde in southwest Scotland, 67 km/42 mi west of Edinburgh; population (2001) 577,900. The city is the administrative, social, and service centre for the Glasgow conurbation, which extends from Gourock on the west to Carluke on the east; it is thus one of the largest continuously built-up areas in Britain. The largest city in Scotland, Glasgow used to be one of the world's great shipbuilding areas, but the industry is in decline. Despite this, the city is still the UK's fourth-largest manufacturing centre. The service sector has become increasingly important, and Glasgow was the third-most visited city in the UK in 2000.
There has been a settlement here since St Mungo arrived in the 6th century to convert the Strathclyde Britons. St Mungo formed a bishopric here in about 543, but it was not until 1178 that Glasgow was made a burgh of barony by William the Lion, and it became a royal burgh under James VI in 1636. The Union of Scotland and England in 1707 brought increasing prosperity. In the 18th century, trade with the Americas for tobacco, sugar, and cotton was important, and by 1775 the city's prosperity was at its height. The industrial revolution of the 19th century caused the shipbuilding industry to develop rapidly. It also led to a major influx of migrants from Ireland and the Scottish Highlands to find work, so that by 1811 Glasgow was the second-largest city in Britain. This led to a period of intense tenement building, and the city suffered from overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. During World War II, Glasgow and Clydeside suffered severe bomb damage - in Clydebank only seven houses were left undamaged. Since then an urban motorway has been built that runs through and over the city (including the high Kingston Bridge), and its construction involved major demolition and reconstruction of the greater part of the inner city. Since 1945, Glasgow's heavy industries have gradually declined. However, Glasgow has improved its image as a tourist destination, and was the European City of Culture in 1990, and the 1999 UK City of Architecture and Design.
Glasgow lies on both sides of the River Clyde and is surrounded by hills; the city is partly built on the river terrace and partly on glacially deposited hills (drumlins).
Glasgow's main square, George Square, is surrounded on all sides by impressive examples of 19th-century architecture, including the Municipal Buildings (1888; opened by Queen Victoria), the General Post Office, and the Italianate Merchants' House (1874). The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was first opened in 1901 as part of the International Exhibition; today it is noted for its collection of European paintings from the 15th century onwards. The museum has a section on shipbuilding, including the Spencer collection of early ship models, and houses the Scott collection of arms and armour. The Kelvin Hall (1927) is the venue of the city's exhibitions, fairs, and carnivals. The People's Palace (1890) is a museum of Glasgow's social and political history. The Scottish Orchestra is based in Glasgow, and theatres include the Citizens' Theatre, which has an international reputation. Glasgow also has many public parks and gardens, with the ‘fossil grove’ - a collection of petrified trees from the Carboniferous period - situated in Victoria Park, and the Kibble Crystal Palace (1873) - a large glass structure and winter garden - in the Botanical Gardens (1841).
Other features are Provand's Lordship (1471; the oldest dwelling-house in the city); the Cross Steeple (part of the historic Tolbooth); the Glasgow School of Art, designed by C R Mackintosh at the end of the 19th century; the Burrell Collection at Pollock Park, bequeathed by shipping magnate William Burrell (1861-1958); the Gallery of Modern Art (1996); the Mitchell Library (1877); and 19th-century Greek Revival buildings designed by Alexander Thomson. Glasgow's Hampden Park Stadium (1999) is a Millennium Commission Landmark Building.
The Scottish Orchestra in Glasgow, where the conductor John Barbirolli first won recognition, was established early in the 20th century. Parks and open spaces include Glasgow Green in the east; in the southwest are Queen's Park, Bellahouston Park (1895), Roukenglen, and Linn Park Holmwood House; to the north is Springburn Park; to the northeast are Alexandra Park and Hogganfield; and to the northwest is Kelvingrove Park. Hampden Park, the ground of Queen's Park Football Club, can accommodate around 50,000 spectators.
Glasgow has three universities: Glasgow University, established in 1451 (present buildings constructed in 1868-70 to designs by George Gilbert Scott); Strathclyde University (1796); and Glasgow Caledonian University (1875). Other important colleges and institutions include the Glasgow School of Art (1845), the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (1847), and Stow College (1934) specializing in technical subjects.
Glasgow's Libraries Department has its headquarters at the Mitchell Library (1877) which also houses the city's archives. Stirling's Library and the Commercial Library are housed in the Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Building (1832).
While the heavier industries of shipbuilding and engineering have been predominant, the Clyde area also developed lighter industries, producing textiles, carpets, threads, sewing machines, and foods. Industries established include the manufacture of motor trailers, optical equipment, scientific apparatus, jet engines, and motor vehicle components; electric lamps, batteries, and electric household appliances; silk and artificial silk garments; seamless containers; razor blades; and motor service equipment. Established firms have diversified into the manufacture of mechanical loaders and excavators, synthetic resin glues and insulated cloths, machines for bottle-making and labelling, gravel and sand-washing, and the mechanical packing of foodstuffs, and glass silk for heat and sound insulation. The city also has a long tradition of warehousing, commerce, insurance, banking, and general marketing. By 2000, 83% of employment was in the service sector.
Originally a fordable salmon river, over the course of time the Clyde has been straightened and deepened in such a way that the scour of the tides keeps the channel clear, and comparatively little dredging is required. This has given the Clyde a reputation as one of the best shipbuilding rivers in the world. Many different ships of all classes have been built here, including some of the world's largest liners, the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth, and the Queen Elizabeth II, as well as battleships such as HMS Vanguard. Most of the shipbuilding took place on the south bank. Many bridges cross the river, and twin road tunnels have also been constructed under the Clyde at Whiteinch in order to help relieve Glasgow's traffic congestion. The rise and fall of the tide at Glasgow Bridge varies between 3 m/10 ft and 4 m/13 ft. The Dalmarnock Bridge was erected in 1891; the Rutherglen Bridge was reconstructed in 1896. The 19th-century suspension bridge spans the river from the Green to Hutcheson Town, a district also approached by the Albert Bridge (1871). The Victoria Bridge (1854), built of sandstone, replaced the old bridge constructed by Bishop Rae in the middle of the 14th century. The most important of all the bridges, the Glasgow or Broomielaw Bridge, composed of granite, is a continuation of Jamaica Street; reconstructed in 1899, it proved inadequate for the constantly increasing traffic, and the George V Bridge was opened a short distance downstream in 1927.
Recently salmon have returned to the river.
Glasgow possesses some of the most impressive buildings in Scotland, situated chiefly in the commercial centre of the city. The main square is George Square (sometimes
called the ‘Valhalla of Glasgow’ because of its many statues) in which a cenotaph occupies a prominent place. Two of the main streets are Sauchiehall Street, in which are the McLellan Galleries, former home of the city art collection; and Argyll Street, the busiest commercial thoroughfare, leading to Trongate, the oldest part of the city. The Trongate steeple is at the eastern end of Trongate, and a little further on lies the cross.
The Episcopal see was restored by David, prince of Cumbria, in 1115, and his preceptor John Achaius, bishop of Glasgow, laid the foundations of a cathedral in 1133 (consecrated in 1136). This was probably destroyed by fire in about 1176. Carved bosses in the vaulting of the lower church commemorate those who carried out further building work on the cathedral, including Bishop Jocelyn (1175-1199), Bishop Bondington (1233-1258), and Comyn, Lord of Kilbride (13th century).
St Mungo's Cathedral
Situated in the northeast of the city, the cathedral was founded in 1133 by John Achaius, bishop of Glasgow, and was consecrated three years later. It is built in the Early English style in the form of a Latin cross with imperfect transepts. Archbishop Blackadder added the rood screen and the still-unfinished south transept in the 15th century. It was used after the Reformation as three separate churches: the Inner High, occupying the choir; the Outer High, occupying the nave; and the Laigh (Low) or Barony, occupying the crypt. St Mungo is buried under the central vaulting of the lower church and a well named after him is nearby.
Direct transatlantic flights from Glasgow International Airport were introduced in 1990. Glasgow has two major railway stations and a small underground system. Glasgow's water supply is taken from Loch Katrine, in Stirling unitary authority. The Loch Katrine waterworks were opened by Queen Victoria in 1859. The supply is augmented with water from Loch Arklet (from 1914) and Glen Finglass (from 1958).
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