This city like so many others, has a character all of its own. Historically it grew around its medieval cathedral and the establishment of its University in the 15th. century, but it was as a major industrial city that its fame and population grew in more recent times. Situated on the Clyde, the river was deepened and broadened to facilitate world trade and during the nineteenth century it became the second city of the British Empire. Engineering and ship-building brought prosperity and many of the fine Victorian buildings still standing bear testimony to its industrial wealth. Queen’s Square – the first sight of the city as you leave the railway station – is a fine example. Similarly the unusual and handsome tenement houses where people still live, one of which is preserved in period and which we have seen around.
The city takes its movement out of an dominantly industrial economy very seriously – there are for example 43 Local Plans to improve and develop various areas of the city, some of which were notorious slums in the last century.
It was a great leap forward when the city became the Cultural Capital of Europe in 1990. The Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Orchestra under its dynamic young conductor Ilan Volkov, are both based in Glasgow. The Glasgow School of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is sited at the edge of a steeply sloping south facing hill, the building stretching along an entire block, and facing a major street to the north. It’s well worth a visit and is a fascinating mixture of Scottish baronial architecture, art nouveau and modern materials and techniques. The Gallery is a tribute to Mackintosh who was a genius and, never properly valued in his own life-time. You can see his work in more than one of Glasgow’s famous tea shops as well.
A few minutes drive from the city takes you to the Burrell Collection, opened in 1983.
This magnificent, purpose-built gallery was constructed in beautiful Pollok Park, to house Sir William Burrell’s extensive collection of some 9,000 artefacts which he and and his wife, Constance, donated to the city in 1944. There is an excellent restaurant and bookshop. Another claim to fame for Glasgow is that it has three professional football clubs.
I visited the city some years ago on the way to a journey that took me up to the Orkney Islands, and I have been fascinated by it ever since. We had an enjoyable longer visit more recently, staying in a B.& B. almost opposite the School of Art. The City Website has a proud aim for the future, and one with which on our little experience we would see as realistic. ‘We want Glasgow to flourish as a modern, multi-cultural, metropolitan city of opportunity, achievement, culture and sporting excellence where citizens and businesses thrive and visitors are always welcomed.