Glasgow - A Brief Description
Glasgow, the commercial and manufacturing capital of Scotland, was formerly for the most part in the lower ward of Lanarkshire and to a small extent in Renfrewshire. By the Orders of the Boundary Commissioners appointed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, it was placed wholly within Lanarkshire; and in 1893 the entire area within the municipal boundary was constituted a county of a city, with independent jurisdiction. As regards population it is, when taken with its suburbs, the second city of the British islands. It stands on both banks of the river Clyde, 14 miles from its mouth at Dumbarton; but the larger portion of the city is on the N side of the river; latitude 55° 51’ 32” N, and longitude 4° 17’ 54” W. Its distance as the crow flies from John o’ Groat’s House is 197 miles, and from London 348. It is NW by N of London and Carlisle, SW of Aberdeen, Perth, and Stirling, SW by W of Dundee, W by S of Edinburgh, and N by W of Dumfries. By road it is 42 miles from Edinburgh, 23 from Greenock, 34 from Ayr, 79 from Dumfries, and 396 from London; while by railway its distance is 7 miles from Paisley, 21 from Falkirk, 23 from Greenock, 29 from Stirling, 24 from Kilmarnock, 40 from Ayr, 47 from Edinburgh, 63 from Perth, 104 from Berwick-on-Tweed, 105 from Carlisle, 152 from Aberdeen, 207 from Inverness, 401½ from London by the West Coast route, 423 by the Midland, and 448½ by the East Coast route.
Site.—At no very remote time in the geological history of the country, but long before the historic period, the lower part of the valley of the Clyde formed the bottom of an estuary. This estuary opened to the sea by a narrow strait near Erskine, and embraced Loch Lomond and the valleys about on the one hand, while on the other it extended as far as Johnstone and Paisley. Narrowing at Ibrox and Pollokshields, it again widened out, and, sweeping round by the Cathkin and Cathcart Hills, formed a wide bay where Glasgow Green and Bridgeton now are. The mouth of the river was then probably about Bothwell or Rutherglen. That the estuary was marine the list of shells found in the deposits in the valley abundantly proves. That the levels of the land were much the same as at present during the Roman occupation is shown by the termination of the Roman Wall; but that prior to this, and yet subsequent to the first appearance of man in Clydesdale, there must have been an upheaval of the land is shown by relics dug up on the present site of Glasgow. Among other remains a number of canoes have been found, some of them 300 feet distant from the modern bed of the river and 19 feet below the present surface. In the eighty years prior to 1855, no less than seventeen canoes were dug out of the silt—one in 1780 in digging the foundations of St Enoch’s Church, and another later near the Cross. In 1824 one was found at Stockwell Street, and another in the Drygate behind the prison. Twelve were found on the lands of Springfield, on the S side, and two at Clydehaugh in 1852. Of all these, one was in a vertical position, with the prow up, as if it had sunk in a storm; while another was bottom up, as if it had been capsized. Since 1855 other three at least have been found. All this points to a considerable rise within the human period, and accounts for the traces of ancient terraces that are to be seen along some portions of the higher grounds, as well as for the nature of the site of the lower part of the city, which, especially towards the E and 8, is very flat, as it also is on the N along the side of the river. Nowhere in these districts is it more than a few feet above the level of spring tides. The ground on the N side of the river beyond the flat strip and to the W is variable and undulating, there being a number of elliptical ridges mostly with their longer axes parallel to the course of the river, but in the W trending somewhat more in a N and S direction. They rise with considerable rapidity to heights of from 100 to 250 feet, the principal being Blythswood Hill (135), Woodlands Hill (153), Hillhead (157), Garnet Hill (176), the Observatory site (179), the Necropolis (225), and Garngad Hill (252). The city is intersected and divided into two unequal portions by the river Clyde, which has within it a course of about 6 miles, following the windings from the E at Dalmarnock Bridge to the south of the Kelvin on the W. The Molendinar Burn swept round the NE, passed between the Cathedral and the Necropolis in a deep ravine, and afterwards crossed the low ground to the Clyde; but this has now become an underground sewer, though the ravine still partially remains. The river Kelvin approaches from the W through a picturesque and well-wooded dell, skirts the base of the height on which the Botanic Gardens are laid out, and, sweeping to the southward, passes through the West End or Kelvingrove Park, between the high grounds to the E of the park and Gilmore Hill on the W, and then, bending to the SW, enters the Clyde opposite Govan at Govan ferry. Glasgow has about its site none of the picturesque features that give such beauty and well-marked character to Edinburgh. The features of the views within all the low parts of the city, and even in the suburbs, are mainly architectural, and always distinctly modified by the smoke and turmoil of a great seat of commerce and manufacture. From a few of the higher spots—particularly from Sighthill Cemetery, Garngad Hill, the Necropolis, Blythswood Hill, Garnet Hill, the upper part of Kelvingrove Park, and Gilmore Hill in front of the new University building—there are, however, in clear states of the atmosphere, views of considerable picturesqueness, the foreground of the city, with its streets and buildings and bustle, being backed by glimpses of the country and shut in by distant hills.
Extent.—The exact extent of Glasgow is somewhat difficult to define, as the districts to be embraced by the name are variously understood. The compact central portion of it measures about 2 miles by 1; the area covered by buildings, but exclusive of detached parts and straggling outskirts, measures about 4 miles from to E to W and about 3 from N to S. The area comprehended in the returns of population includes, besides the separate burghs of Partick, Govan, and Kinning Park, the detached suburbs of Tollcross and Shettleston, and comprises 21,336 acres. It measures about 9 miles from E to W, and about 5 from N to S. The royal burgh lies all on the right bank of the Clyde, and comprises 988½ acres. The old royalty also lies all on the right bank of the river, and includes the royal burgh as well as very considerable suburbs and some tracts of open country; it comprises 2336¾ acres. Prior to 1872 the municipal and parliamentary burgh excluded much of the old royalty, but included tracts beyond it both and S of the Clyde, and comprised 5034½ acres; but an Act of Parliament passed in that year the boundaries were largely extended on the N and W, so that the total area within the line was increased to 6111 acres, the portions added including the Alexandra Park and parts of St Rollox, Sighthill, Springburn, Cowlairs, Keppoch Hill, and the Kelvingrove Park, with the lands of Gilmore Hill belonging to the University, and the Western Infirmary. In 1891 six of the suburban burghs which had for nearly twenty years formed a tightly uncomfortable girdle round the parent city, consented to annexation, and by an Act of Parliament to which the royal assent was given on 21 July, and which came into operation on 1 Nov. in the year mentioned, a large extension of the municipality was sanctioned, by which not only were the burghs of Govanhill, Crosshill, East and West Pollokshields, Hillhead, and Maryhill (1998 acres) added to the city, but also the residential districts of Polmadie, Mount Florida, Langside, Crossmyloof, Shawlands, Strathbungo, Bellahouston, Kelvinside, Possilpark, Springburn (including Barnhill), and Westthorn (3752 acres), so that the area of what may be termed ‘Greater Glasgow’ now covers 11,861 acres. The burghs of Kinning Park, Govan, and Partick resisted annexation and still remain independent; but were these and the landward part of the parish of Govan to be added to the city, to which they naturally belong, the acreage would be increased to 15,659. The extension involved an addition of 9 to the 16 former wards of the city, the seventeenth being formed by Govanhill, the eighteenth by Polmadie and Crosshill, the nineteenth by Langside, Mount Florida, and Shawlands; the twentieth by Strathbungo, the twenty-first by Pollokshields and Bellahouston, the twenty-second by Hillhead, the twenty-third by Kelvinside, the twenty-fourth by Maryhill, Gilshochill, and Wyndford; and the twenty-fifth by the NE part of Springburn, Possilpark, Blochairn, Broomfield, Barnhill, and Balgray. The wards of the city were rearranged and reconstituted in 1896, and an act of Parliament was passed to bring the parliamentary boundaries into conformity with the new arrangement. The length of the municipality from Shettleston Sheddings on the E to beyond Jordanhill station on the W, and from the Kelvin near Sandyflat on the N to beyond Langside on the S is about 6 miles in each case, and the total length of the boundary line is over 24 miles.
Appearance.—A stranger entering Glasgow by any of the ordinary routes is not likely to be favourably impressed by it. By the Edinburgh and Glasgow branch of the North British system and by the northern branch of the Caledonian, he enters through dark and smoky tunnels. By the Bathgate branch of the North British, he enters through the dingy region of Parkhead, with its rolling-mill and forge; while, by the southern branch of the Caledonian, the approach lies through murky mineral fields, amid the blaze of iron-works. By the Glasgow and South-Western line, he approaches amid houses of an inferior description: If the visitor come by road—excepting the approach by the Great Western Road—it is much the same; while if he come by the river, long ere reaching the city he has left the beauties of the Clyde behind, and finds himself moving slowly along a river which is not at all pure or sweet, amid a motley array of shipbuilding yards and engineering establishments resounding to the rattling of many hammers. No sooner, however, does he reach the centre of the city than he finds a vast difference in the character of the streets and in the surroundings, and sees on every hand buildings displaying both beauty and taste. Few exterior views of the city or of parts of it are interesting; and from the fact that no exterior view of it as a whole can be got, it is difficult to carry away from Glasgow any general impression. The best of the exterior views is from the Cathkin Hills, and they are too far off (3 miles) to allow of a distinct idea.
Lines of Street and Districts.—The city had its origin on the high ground adjoining the western side of the Molendinar Burn ravine, nearly a mile N of the Clyde; and as any extension immediately eastward was impracticable in consequence of the opposite side of the ravine being flanked by steep rising ground, the earliest enlargements took place over rapid slopes to the SE and SW to the flat ground towards the bank of the river. From this the extensions, which, till the latter part of last century, constituted the main bulk of the city, passed southward to an ancient bridge across the Clyde on the site of the present Victoria Bridge. The central line of thoroughfare through these extensions was the Bell o’ the Brae (High Street NE of its intersection with George Street), leading to the flat ground, and then continuously High Street, Saltmarket, and Bridgegate to the bridge. This was intersected at the S end of High Street at the Cross by a transverse line of streets running E and W, Gallowgate striking off to the E and Trongate to the W. The principal extensions of the latter part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century went westward, along the plain over all the space between the high ground and the river, the main thoroughfares being George Street, along the base of the high ground; Argyle Street, a continuation of the Trongate westward; and a number of transverse streets running in a direction nearly parallel to High Street and Saltmarket. Other extensions of contemporary date went eastward along the sides of the Gallowgate, and thence spread still farther to the E and SE, forming suburbs; while a small suburb of ancient date, at the S end of the bridge across the Clyde, spread rapidly E and S and W. The more recent extensions which have taken place to the N and NE, very largely to the S, and most of all to the W, have been very wide, so much so indeed that they have not only taken in outlying suburbs of some antiquity, but have also created new ones of considerable size; whilst the lines of streets exhibit an amount of imposing architecture in public buildings, works, warehouses, and private houses of much greater account than that of all the previous portions of the city. The westward extension on the N bank of the river, which reaches from about the line of Hope Street to nearly 2 miles W of the Kelvin, is the finest of all, and, consisting mainly of elegant private residences, with places of business and public buildings interspersed, constitutes on the whole a West End somewhat similar to the West End of London. This portion of the city has the great advantage of including the heights at Blythswood Square and Garnet Hill, the high grounds to the E of Kelvingrove Park and Gilmore Hill, with the reaches of the Kelvin between; and is comparatively free from the smoke and turmoil that prevail in most of the other parts of the city. It offers indeed, along with the suburban districts, so many advantages for residence that probably ere long, out of business hours, the central portion of Glasgow will be as little inhabited as the city in London, and the whole area given over to business purposes.
From the outline of the growth of the streets of Glasgow just given, it will be evident that the older and more irregular part of the city, with the usual closes and narrow and crooked streets, will lie to the E of the Cross, while the districts to the W, N, and S show greater regularity of plan, the streets in most cases intersecting at right angles, though the branching of some of the main roads causes in many places minor deviations by the formation of triangular and irregularly shaped blocks. As might be expected from the course of the river Clyde, the main lines of thoroughfare run in a direction more or less from E to W, with cross streets from N to S; but this regularity is best marked in the districts on the S side and between Argyle Street and George Street and Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street.
In the eastern district, extending for fully a mile in length and with an average breadth of 2 furlongs, is the public park of Glasgow Green, all that now remains of the old common ground. It is bounded on the N partly by somewhat ordinary looking streets, with factories, and partly by neat terraces. The streets leading westward are spacious, and for more than half a mile are not encumbered by buildings next the river bank. Beyond this the sheds for the traffic at the harbour are close to the Clyde. The areas at the College Station E of High Street, and of George and St Enoch’s Squares, break in this district the prevailing density of the street masses. The West End district displays a fine assemblage of handsome streets, terraces, and crescents, intermixed with open ground and spaces laid out with shrubs. The chief lines of thoroughfare from N to S are by Springburn Road, Castle Street, High Street, Saltmarket, Crown Street, and Cathcart Road in the E; and by Garscube or New City Road, Cowcaddens, Renfield Street, Union Street, Jamaica Street, Glasgow Bridge, Bridge Street, and Eglinton Street in the centre and towards the W and subsidiary lines are by Port Dundas Road and Buchanan Street, and by Glassford Street, Stockwell Street, Victoria Bridge, Main Street (Gorbals), and Pollokshaws Road. The main line of thoroughfare from E to W is by Great Eastern Road, Gallowgate, Trongate, Argyle Street, Main Street (Anderston), and Dumbarton Road. There are also subsidiary lines along both banks of the river, and by Stirling Road, Cathedral Street, Bath Street; by Parliamentary Road and Sauchiehall Street; and by Duke Street, George Street, St Vincent Place, Renfield Street, Cowcaddens, and Great Western Road. The great part of the streets on the S side are, as will be seen from the historical section, much more modern than the central part of the city. The compact districts of the city and the continuous suburbs on the outskirts have separate names, and were either originally separate villages or took their names from separate estates. On the N are Cowcaddens—which takes its name from being the part of the common land which was set apart for the feeding of the town’s cattle—Port Dundas, St Rollox—a corruption of St Roche, who had in the district a chapel noticed in the historical section—and Dennistoun; farther N from W to E are Maryhill, Ruchill Park, Possilpark, Rockvilla, Sighthill, and Springburn; on the E Calton—an old barony—Camlachie, Mile-End, Bridgeton, and Parkhead; on the S Gorbals, which has various subdivisions. The lands of the last district, which form an old barony, were left in 1650 by Sir George Douglas in trust to the magistrates, one-half for Hutcheson’s Hospital, one-fourth for the Trades House, and one-fourth for the city. The lands were divided in 1789, and the part acquired by the hospital was called Hutchesontown; what fell to the Trades House, Tradeston. Lauriston was built on the hospital ground in the beginning of the present century, and Kingston about the same time on the part belonging to the council. Still farther S from E to W are Polmadie, Govanhill, Crosshill, and Mount Florida; Strathbungo, Crossrnyloof, Langside, and Shawlands; and East and West Pollokshields. On the W are Blythswoodholm—from the ancient barony of Blythswood; Anderston—from Mr Anderson, who was proprietor of the Stobcross lands in 1725, and laid out the plan of the original village; Finnieston—named after Mr Finnie, a tutor in the family of Mr Orr, who had bought the estate of Anderston, and who laid out a plan for a village about 1765; Sandyford, Kelvinhaugh, and Woodside. Anderston, Finnieston, Gorbals, Hutchesontown, Tradeston, and Kingston were quite recently detached country villages. The suburban villages and burghs connected with the main part of the city by chains of houses or by partly open road, are, on the E, Shettleston and Tollcross; on the WSW, Kinning Park and Govan; and on the W, Partick and Whiteinch.
Streets and Street Architecture.—The city is in general remarkably well built. The building material is a fine light-coloured sandstone, the masonry substantial, and the frontages in most parts lofty and good, though there is often a tendency towards too profuse ornamentation and to a rather factory-like arrangement of windows. The older districts are mostly squalid, and have little or none of the picturesqueness of the older Scottish architecture which gives such a characteristic and quaint aspect to portions of so many of the old towns of Scotland. Most of the other districts are plain in style, and with nothing to distinguish the appearance of the houses from that of dwellings in any of the other stone-built towns in Britain, though the newer districts show more ornament, some of it running to heaviness and in questionable taste. The older districts about Drygate, High Street, Gallowgate, Bridgeton, Saltmarket, Bridgegate, Trongate, the Wynds, Gorbals, and Calton have been much altered and improved between 1866 and the present time. The operations of the City of Glasgow Union railway and still more of the City Improvement Trust, acting under an act obtained in 1866, have removed altogether or greatly altered and improved a number of narrow and dirty courts, lanes, and streets that were in their old state mere hotbeds of disease and crimes and defied alike the efforts of sanitary inspector and police to improve them. The newest districts of all are ambitious and showy; some parts in very tasteful Italian; others abounding in pillared porches, projecting or divided windows, balconies, and balustrades; while the grand front range on the crown of the hill overlooking the West End Park is in the French style. A strong fondness is shown for pillar decoration even up to the Corinthian and composite, but the type adopted is often poor. The great number of new buildings erected along the principal streets of the city since about 1840 shows a desire for variety of style and profusion of ornament which sometimes leads to rather striking results. Edifices of Norman, Italian, Flemish, and Scottish styles frequently may be seen standing side by side with one another and with old plain buildings, and occasionally a lofty ornate iron shell replaces stonework. High Street, Rottenrow, and Drygate retain but few signs of their former grandeur, though the last was once filled with the mansions of the aristocracy of the West. Alas, how are the mighty fallen! One of the best buildings in it now is a well-planned lodging-house erected by the City Improvement Trust, and containing accommodation for 200 persons. Rottenrow (originally routine and rue, as it was the usual road of the church dignitaries to the Cathedral?) used formerly to contain the residences of several of the prebendaries of the Cathedral. The city gasworks were removed from it in 1872. At the E end is the Barony Church, and on the opposite side of the street a large block of one and two-room model dwellings, erected in 1892 by the Glasgow Workmen’s Dwellings Company. This has a large hall, a common room, a common kitchen, and a library, as well as club-rooms and class-rooms for both men and women. The dividend is limited to 5 per cent., and the rent is fixed on a low scale to suit the means of the class for which the houses are intended. At the corner of the street is the hydraulic power pumping station of the Corporation. Cathedral Square, at the E end of Rottenrow, was formed partly by the operations of the City Trust and partly by the removal of the old Barony Church in 1889. The fountain in it was originally in the grounds of the Glasgow Exhibition of 1888, and was formally presented to the city in 1890 by the makers and exhibitors, Messrs. M’Dowall, Steven &Co., of the Milton Ironworks. Bell o’ the Brae, the upper part of High Street, from which the buildings were removed by the Improvement Trust, and the slope of the street lessened, derived its old name from a bell placed in a small turret at its top, and always tolled at funerals.* Duke’s Place, adjacent to Drygate, contained an ancient house at one time belonging to the Earl of Lennox, and afterwards to the Duke of Montrose, where Darnley’s illness took place, and where Queen Mary visited him. It was removed in 1853. Its connection with the Duke gave name to Duke Street. John Knox Street, extending from Cathedral Square to Duke Street, was formed by the City Improvement Trust in 1872. It replaced a cluster of wretched houses called the Rookery, and is overlooked from the brow of the neighbouring Necropolis by John Knox’s Monument. Ladywell Street, in the same neighbourhood, contains a small restored structure over a well anciently dedicated to the Virgin. Duke Street, a continuation of George Street eastwards to the suburbs, has to the N the district of Dennistoun with pleasant villas. It is not entirely built, and contains the Prison and the Cattle Market. A road branching off to the left leads to the Alexandra Park. George Street is in line with Duke Street to the W. It is a straight well-built street, and contains the buildings of some of the departments of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and the Inland Revenue offices. High Street has been very much altered by the action of the Improvement Trust, a number of densely populated buildings that stood nearly opposite the College station having been pulled down, and their site occupied by the E end of Ingram Street.
Saltmarket, extending about 2 furlongs S in a line with High Street to the river and to the Court House at Albert Bridge, was once the place of residence of the magnates of Glasgow—the Ballie Nicol Jarvies of their time—and gave lodging to James, Duke of York (afterwards James VII.), when he visited Glasgow. It became the rag fair of the city, and, with some of the streets leading from it, was the abode of people in a condition of the most squalid poverty. Prior to 1822 it contained some old houses, but in that year extensive reconstruction took place with a view to the improvement of the condition of the inhabitants. The effort failed, and no improvement was effected till the operations of the Improvement Trust and the Union railway cut off many of its closes, and almost revolutionised it. On the E side, at the N corner of Steel Street, was a house where Oliver Cromwell lived when he was in Glasgow. The site of the demolished buildings on the E side was, in 1887, occupied by blocks of model dwelling-houses erected by the Improvement Trust. Bridgegate, leading westward from the S part of Saltmarket, also was once a place of high note. It contained the mansions of several noble families, and afterwards the only banks of the city, the Merchants’ Hall, and the Assembly Rooms where the Duchess of Douglas used to lead off the Glasgow civic balls in the last century. Here also the Union railway and the Improvement Trust have effected great improvements. St Andrew Square, 120 yards E of Saltmarket, and connected with it by St Andrew Street, was built in the latter part of the l8th century as an aristocratic quarter, and showed a symmetry worthy of its importance and purpose, an appearance enhanced by St Andrew’s Church in the centre. It soon fell into disrepute, however, and its narrow dark approaches have since been partly supplanted by modern spacious entrances. London Street, extending ESE from the head of Saltmarket, a straight, open, well-built street, was formed at a comparatively recent period. It was intended as a convenient outlet to the SE districts to which it leads, partly by the line of Great Hamilton Street, partly by Monteith Row and Glasgow Green. The eastern districts are Bridgeton, Barrowfield, Mile-end, and Calton. These contain a considerable number of factories—cotton, linen, jute—and engineering and other works. They have been improved by the construct ion of spacious streets under the Improvement Act. Gallowgate, striking off eastwards from the Cross at an acute angle with London Street, leads to the district of Camlachie. It was formerly the principal outlet on the E, but now has little to attract attention except here and there some dwarfish old dwelling almost hidden by the neighbouring houses. To the W of Barrack Street were the old Barracks, which were superseded in 1876 by the new buildings at Maryhill, and which were demolished during the Bridgeton Cross extension of the North British Railway in 1889. Trongate, the early state of which is noticed in the historical section, was the seat of all the main business of the city so late as the time of the tobacco trade in the latter part of the 18th century. The buildings are state1y, though some of them are old. It contains the Cross Steeple (the tower of the old Tolbooth) the Tontine buildings, the equestrian statue of William III, the Tron Steeple, and an imposing block of buildings (1858) in the Scottish Baronial style which occupies the site of a house where Sir John Moore was born. It was widened on the S side in 1892. Trongate and its continuation westward, Argyle Street, are the busiest thoroughfares in Glasgow. Candleriggs, at right angles to Trongate, on the N, is an old street (1722) of high houses on either side, and lately partly improved. It has on the E side the City Hall and Bazaar, and St David’s church is at the top. Hutcheson Street and Glassford Street, parallel to Candleriggs, are handsome open streets. The former is named. from Hutchesons Hospital, which stands at its top. Glassford Street (1792) is named from a distinguished merchant of the times of the tobacco trade mentioned by Smollett in his Humphrey Clinker. On the W side is the Trades Hall. Stockwell Street, going S to Victoria Bridge, is older, and was long the SW verge of the city.
Argyle Street—mentioned under the name of West Street (as loading from the West Port) in the early part of the 18th century, and under its present name as early as 1777—extends from Trongate westward to Anderston. The centre dates from the beginning of the 19th century, and the western part is subsequent to 1820. The older part has been almost entirely reconstructed. It is a very crowded thoroughfare, and as a seat of business is scarcely surpassed by any street in Europe; though its appearance W of Jamaica Street has been sadly marred by the bridge that carries the lines of the Caledonian Railway at the S end of the Central Station. Virginia Street (N) was formed in 1753, and was then occupied by mansion-houses. It takes its name from a house called Virginia House, which belonged to a Virginia merchant named Buchanan, and stood on the site now occupied by the Union Bank. Miller Street (N) was opened in 1771, and got its name from the proprietor of the ground. It was also intended for mansions, and Mr Buchanan in his Desultory Sketches of Glasgow tells how when it was first laid out no feus were taken off for some time, as it was considered too far out of town, a statement that gives a far better idea of the increase in size of G1asgow within the last hundred years than pages of description. Dunlop Street (S) had at its head of old the Buck’s Head Hotel, long a place of high city note. From 1840 to 1868 the Theatre Royal was also here. Queen Street (N) is on the line of the Cow Loan, by which the cows of the inhabitants (kept in a common byre on the site presently occupied by the Royal Exchange) passed to the public pastures at Cowcaddens. It was constructed at the end of the 18th century, and now contains the offices of the National Bank of Scotland, and the Royal Exchange. At the corner of George Square, opposite the N end, is the Queen Street station of the North British railway. Buchanan Street (N) is parallel to Queen Street. It was opened in. 1778, and took its name from the owner of the ground. At first it was not intended to connect it with Argyle Street, but the plan was afterwards changed. The situation is described in an advertisement as being ‘rural and agreeable.’ Even so late as 1816 it was the western street of the city. It was occupied by villas, and was so quiet that grass grew abundantly on the carriage-way. It is now lined with shops and business tenements, and contains some of the finest buildings in the city, including the offices of the Glasgow Herald, the Western Club, the Stock Exchange, St George’s Church, part of the Athaenum buildings, and the original terminus of the Caledonian railway. The Argyle Arcade passes E from Buchanan Street, and then, turning off at right angles, enters Argyle Street. St Enoch Square (5) was originally an aristocratic quarter, with villas, and in the centre were shrubberies. It was gradually given up to business, and about 1850 the open central space was appropriated for a cab stand. At the S side is St Enoch’s Church; on the E side is St Enoch’s railway station and Hotel; and in the centre is a station of the Glasgow Subway. Union Street (N) is occupied by handsome and well-designed business premises; near the top of it are the offices of the North British Daily Mail. Jamaica Street (S) was formed about 1760, and was then in the country. Now it is quite as busy as Argyle Street, and thronged with people and machines passing and repassing to Glasgow Bridge. W of Union Street and Jamaica Street are booking offices in connection with the Caledonian central station, also the central station of the underground line of the same company. Anderston, to the W of Argyle Street, was founded in 1725. Originally occupied by weavers, it is now the chief seat of the marine engineering industry.
Ingram Street striking eastward from Queen Street opposite the Royal Exchange, was formed in 1777 on the line of the Back Cow Loan, and was by the Improvement Trust a century afterwards extended eastward to High Street. It contains the British Linen Company’s Bank, the S wing of the General Post Office, the Union Bank, Hutchesons’ Hospital, the N frontage of the County Buildings, and St David’s Church. George Square (1782) was originally surrounded by aristocratic private residences, with a spacious garden in the centre. It became in course of time the centre of crowded thoroughfares, and in 186 numerous paths were formed across it. It now contains a number of monuments of those whom the city delights to honour. The post office is on the S side; the Queen Street station and hotel of the North British railway on part of the N. On the W side are the offices of the Bank of Scotland and the Merchants’ House, while on the E are the City Chambers.
St Vincent Place, which runs W from the SW corner of George Square, is spacious and open, with fine buildings. It contains the main front of the Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale Bank, the offices of the Evening Citizen, and a very handsome insurance office. St Vincent Street, a continuation of the Place westward, was one of the first of the new western streets, and outstripping the others passed over Blythswood Hill to Anderston. It was originally dwelling-houses, but most of it is now given up for business premises. At its highest point is the St Vincent Street United Presbyterian Church. West George Street, parallel to St Vincent Street to the N, has at the E end St George’s Church, and at the Renfield Street corner is the handsome office of the Sun Fire and Life Insurance Co. (1892-3). Regent Street, parallel to West George Street, and a number of the cross streets in the same quarter, are handsome and airy and occupied by dwelling-houses; at the corner of Regent Street and Renfield Street is the office of the Prudential Assurance Co. (1890-92). On the summit of the high ground at the W end of Regent Street is Blythswood Square, a spacious opening surrounded by dwelling-houses. There is a central enclosure of grass. Bath Street runs W from Buchanan Street. The buildings at the E end are devoted to business, but the rest of it is occupied by substantial dwelling-houses, a number of hotels, and several churches. Parallel again, and N, is Sauchiehall Street, and on the S Bothwell Street, which, terminating at Hope Street at the Central Station, is continued eastward by Gordon Street to Buchanan Street. Bothwell Street is one of the widest, and promises by and by when fully built up to become one of the finest streets in Glasgow. It already contains on the S side the handsome offices of the Allan Steamship Co. (1891) and the Conservative Club (1893), while on the N are the over-ornamented offices of the Central Thread Agency, and the dignified home of the Christian Institute. This last is a very handsome building erected in 1879, and extended in 1896-97, the style being Early English Gothic. On corbelled niches above the doorway are statues of Knox and Tyndale, and above the windows of second floor are medallion busts of Luther and other reformers. The Bible Training Institute is E of it.
Sauchiehall Street, at first parallel to Bath Street and then turning WSW to the vicinity of Kelvingrove Park, was, till 1830, a quiet narrow suburban thoroughfare called Sauchiehall Road. The eastern part is now a spacious business street, while the western comprises a series of terraces and crescents, with lawns and shrubberies in front. It stands to Argyle Street very much in the same relation as Oxford Street in London does to the Strand. At the W end of the business part, at St George’s Road, are the Grand Hotel and the imposing-looking and well-designed block of buildings known as Charing Cross Mansions (1890). On the S side of the street, near the centre of the business part, stands the Institute of the Fine Arts, where are held the Glasgow Art Exhibitions. It is a building in the Greek style, plain but dignified. At the E end are the Royalty and Empire Theatres. From the N side of Sauchiehall Street, opposite Wellington Street, there is communication with Cowcaddens by a series of arcades called the Wellington Arcade. They are much the same as the Argyle Arcade, but not quite in such good style. Cowcaddens was, as has been already mentioned, the common pasture for the cattle belonging to the citizens. It is now a compactly built and densely populated district. It contains the Theatre Royal, the Grand Theatre, and the Free Church Normal School. N of Cowcaddens on an elevated ridge is Port Dundas, where is the harbour of the Forth and Clyde and the Monkland Canals. The appearance of the lines of boats amid lofty houses on the crest of a ridge some 60 feet above the adjacent level is somewhat peculiar. Port Dundas is mainly a place of commerce and manufacture, and has large warehouses and granaries. There are here a very large distillery, and grain, flour, and saw mills. Garnet Hill, flanking the N side of Sauchiehall Street, near the centre, rises so steeply in some parts as to be very inconvenient for carriages and traffic, but is nevertheless covered with streets of a good class. The western part of Sauchiehall Street and the districts round are known collectively as the Crescents. The district measures about 5 furlongs by 8, and contains numerous terraces, which are well and uniformly built with houses of good style, mostly varieties of Italian, set off by the lawns and shrubs. On the higher ground near Park Circus, and overlooking the whole district, rise the tower of Park Church and the campanile of the Free Church College. Sandyford, lying beyond, and occupying the district between the Clyde and the Kelvin, has a number of good streets.
From Cowcaddens the line of street is extended westward by the New City Road and the Great Western Road. The tract to the N of this was till 1830 quite open, but it is now largely built on. Across the Kelvin lies the district of Hillhead, the whole of which is of quite recent structure. The streets are wide and airy, and most of them have good houses; while there are a number of terraces, with grass plots and trees in front. Constituted a police burgh in 1869 Hillhead was annexed to Glasgow in 1891. To the W and SW of it are the large and important districts of Dowanhill and Kelvinside, entirely occupied by self-contained houses, either in terraces or detached villas, these districts forming two of the most aristocratic quarters of suburban Glasgow. In Kelvinside, on the N side of Great Western Road, are the Botanic Gardens, which became a public park belonging to the Corporation practically in 1887, but legally in 1891. To the SW of Kelvinside is the burgh of Partick, extending towards the Clyde. It is large enough and populous enough to outrival many a provincial town that plumes itself on its importance. The part towards the river is occupied by densely-populated streets, the denizens of which are somewhat noted for their rough character; but on the rising-ground to the N are immense numbers of detached or semi-detached villas, which render this district one of the prettiest and pleasantest about Glasgow. To the W of Partick is the suburb of Whiteinch, with a considerable population employed in the adjoining shipbuilding yards. Govan, on the S side of the Clyde opposite Partick, was once almost a rival of Glasgow. It is fully 2 miles in length by about mile in breadth, and lies along the bank of the river. The older parts of it show plain cottages, now somewhat dingy; the newer parts show well-built streets and neat villas. The bank of the river is occupied by shipbuilding yards. Gorbals, which lies E of Govan along the S bank of the Clyde, is the largest and most populous district in the city, and is indeed large enough of itself to rival Aberdeen or Dundee. It might in every way be described as the Southwark of Glasgow. It measures about 2 miles by 1 mile, and has, in connection with new manufactures, with railway works, and with harbour works, spread rapidly and widely between 1835 and the present time. It comprises the districts of Plantation, Kinning Park, Kingston, Tradeston, Laurieston, and Hutchesontown. Some idea of the rapid growth of these districts may be gathered from the fact that, between 1861 and 1871, the population of Kinning Park increased from 651 to 7217, and between 1871 and 1891 again to 13,679. The streets are mostly regular, but vary very much in style. Eglinton Street and Victoria Road, leading from Glasgow Bridge to Queen’s Park, is a fine line of thoroughfare.
Gorbals proper is a name sometimes given to the parts of Laurieston and Hutchesontown adjoining the Clyde near Victoria Bridge. Its chief thoroughfare used to be a wretched old, narrow, and tortuous street called Main Street, ribbed with closes of the most squalid and dismal order, every house in which was overcrowded to an alarming extent. At that time it was such a hotbed of quarrels and disturbance that it was known as ‘Little Ireland.’ The City Improvement Trust, however, drove a new street with a width of 70 feet straight over the old site of Main Street and its closes, and also formed a series of new streets from Kingston Dock to the E end of Hutchesontown. At the intersection of this line with Main Street a sort of square has been formed, measuring about 200 by 180 feet, and known as Gorbals Cross. Hutchesontown, farther E still, is about 6 by 4 furlongs in extent, and was considerably modified by the operations of the City Union Railway, which passes through the western part of it. It contains a number of cotton factories, and an iron-work with blast furnaces. Some distance S of these is Govanhill, constituted a police burgh in 1877 and annexed to Glasgow in 1891. Under the name of ‘No Man’s Land’ the district was in 1875 a bone of serious contention between the burgh of Crosshill and the parent city, both of which had cast envious eyes on it, and were anxious to include it within their boundaries. Between Govanhill and the Queen’s Park is Crosshill (a separate burgh from 1871 to 1891) which, lately a mere village, has rapidly taken on a thriving town-like appearance, as have also the districts of Langside, Shawlands, and Crossmyloof to the SW of the Queen’s Park. To the N of these and between them and Kinning Park and Kingston, are East and West Pollokshields. The first, consisting of ordinary tenements of a good class, was constituted a police burgh in 1880; the latter, which consists almost entirely of detached villas, in 1876; both were annexed to Glasgow in 1891. To the W of these is Bellahouston and Ibrox; and between them and Crosshill is Strathbungo.
* The first ‘deid bell’ was fabled to have belonged to St Mungo, but the earliest historical mention of it is in 1321. It seems to have then been square, and was probably of considerable antiquity. Till the Reformation it was held in high esteem, but disappearing in the turmoil that attended the change from the old state of things to the new, it was not recovered till 1577, when the finder received ‘ten punds Scots money’ and was made a burgess for his pains; but the relic again disappeared or became worn out, for in 1612 a new bell was cast, and this again was replaced in 1640 by another now in the Kelvingrove Museum.
From Groome's Ordnance Gazetter of Scotland, 1892-96