Glaswegian heritage lives in every family and in every home tales are told of connections to the ‘dear green place’. It is likely that a visit to the city will further strengthen this affinity and enthusiasm for Glasgow.
Glaswegians continue to make their mark on the world stage with greats including football legend Sir Alex Ferguson and comedian Billy Connolly flying the ‘tam-o-shanter’ for the ‘weegies’.
It is clear that Glasgow’s cosmopolitan culture is pleasing the punters with nearly 4 million tourists visiting Glasgow each year. Closer to home, Brits are jumping on the bandwagon by selecting the city for weekend trips and short breaks.
Throughout Glasgow’s history, one thing has remained constant – the friendliness of Glaswegian people. The people here have helped to shape the city of Glasgow and it is the people that make Glasgow such a well rounded, multicultural place.
Find Me Glasgow has had a sniff around the archives to provide you with a greater understanding of how and why Glasgow became the city it is today:
Way back in the 6th century a special man arrived in town who would plant Glasgow’s foundations. Saint Kentigern settled in Glasgow (known then as Glas Cu or ‘dear green place’) in 543AD following his exile for involvement in supernatural practices. He established a Christian church on the banks of the Clyde, where Glasgow Cathedral now stands.
Saint Kentigern became so popular with the local community that he was named Mungo meaning “dear one”. Stories of St Mungo state that he performed four miracles in Glasgow that are commemorated on the city’s coat of arms. The crest depicts a tree with a bird perched on its branches, a salmon and two bells.
As Glasgow began to grow, merchant traders contributed to the city’s international status by transporting tobacco, coal and other natural products. During this time the city flourished and became the country’s second largest burgh. For more information about Glasgow’s merchant traders head to the Trades Hall in the city centre which is open to visitors free of charge.
Greater industrial expansion came in 1772 when a crafty civil engineer, John Golborne, completed his project to remove silt from the shallow Clyde. For the first time large vessels could sail up the river into the city. This timely operation radically transformed the river and marked the beginning of Glasgow’s ‘golden age’ of shipbuilding and heavy industry.
Glasgow’s population began to increase dramatically as immigrants from the Highlands and those fleeing the Irish potato famine settled in the city. Glasgow also attracted large numbers of Jews, Italians and East Europeans, who all contributed in various ways to shape the economy and their local communities.
The manufacturing and shipbuilding boom continued until the start of the First World War. At this time Glasgow was producing almost one fifth of the world’s ships and was ranked as one of the richest cities in Europe. Grand public buildings were built and Glasgow had more parks and open spaces than any other European city, along with a regulated telephone system, water and gas supplies. Glasgow’s pride in these achievements was displayed in two Great Exhibitions in 1888 and 1901, both held in Kelvingrove Park.
After the First World War, the city discovered that the boom of the previous century had come to an abrupt end. Industrial decline took over and Glasgow was classed as a “depressed area” despite the grand launch of two Cunard liners, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, from Clydebank shipyard in the 1930’s.
Immediately after the Second World War, the need for the country to replace lost shipping vessels slowed the industrial decline but the heavy industries could not compete with overseas competitors.
At the same time Glasgow was faced with a major housing crisis. The famous tenements were quickly demolished and a high-rise policy was hastily introduced to the city but planners failed to realise that this style of housing was not entirely suitable and many new developments turned into dangerous drug-filled dwellings. Eventually the tenement demolition was recognised as a mistake and since the 1980’s many of Glasgow’s old tenements have been maintained and refurbished.
Radical change took place in Glasgow over the following ten years and in 1999 the city was designated as the UK City of Architecture and Design, having beaten off rival cities Edinburgh and Liverpool to win the award. A legacy of this accolade is found in Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and Design at The Lighthouse - Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission.
The development of modern Glasgow was heralded by the opening of Glasgow Science Centre at Pacific Quay on the Clyde in 2001. The centre features an Imax Theatre which houses the biggest screen in the country and a 459 feet revolving tower. It aims to increase the public’s awareness of science and technology in an interactive, fun environment.
Glasgow added a further accolade to its belt when it trumped stiff competition in 2003 to become European Capital of Sport. This award recognised the ways in which the city had promoted sport and fitness to produce a healthier and more active population. Glasgow was also UK National City of Sport in recognition of its high standard of facilities for major sporting events including international athletics, gymnastics, badminton, cross-country running and football.
As well as international visitors, Glasgow is now home to a huge range of foreign citizens, with substantial Asian and Chinese communities currently residing in the city. Minority ethnic groups now make up 5.4 per cent of Glasgow's total population.
With beautiful architecture, great parks, fantastic night life, and a huge selection of shops, it is not difficult to see why Glasgow was recently voted “UK’s Coolest City” in a poll by The Big Issue magazine. Sign up for our newsletter now and find out more about Glasgow with Find Me Glasgow’s selection of coveted deals and discounts for a variety of city attractions.
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