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Glasgow Montage.png

Area: 175.5 km2 (67.8 sq mi)

Population: 596,550 (2013)

Density: 3,298.0 /km2 (8,541.8 /sq mi)

Urban: 1,750,000

Demonym: Glaswegian

Language: English, Scots, Scottish Gaelic

OS grid reference: NS590655

Edinburgh: 49 mi (79 km)

London 352 mi (566 km)

Council Area Glasgow City Council

Lieutenancy Area Glasgow

Country: Scotland

Sovereign state: United Kingdom

Glasgow (Scots: Glesca; Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu) is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom. At the 2011 census, it had a population density of 3,395 people per square kilometre, the highest of any Scottish city.<ref> "News: Census 2011: Population estimates for Scotland". The National Archives of Scotland. The National Records of Scotland. 17 December 2012</ref> It is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as Glaswegians.

Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become one of the largest seaports in Britain. Expanding from the medieval town, which was formed of the royal burgh and Archbishopric of Glasgow, and later the establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, the city became a centre for the Scottish Enlightenment. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies, then part of the growing British Empire. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industries which produced many innovative and famous vessels.

During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, Glasgow was styled the Second City of the British Empire, although this was contested by other cities.<ref> (accessed 23rd July 2014)</ref><ref> (accessed 23rd July 2014)</ref>In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the city’s population increased, eventually reaching a peak of 1,128,473 in 1939. During the 1960s comprehensive urban renewal projects resulted in the large-scale relocation of people to new towns and peripheral suburbs. This was followed by successive boundary changes which have reduced the current population of the area encompassed by Glasgow City Council to 592,000.<ref>Key Statistics for Settlements and Localities Scotland". General Register Office for Scotland</ref>Today the city and its surrounding conurbation are home to approximately 2.3. million people- 41% of Scotland's population- while Glasgow's financial district is one of Europe's top ten financial centres.<ref></ref>Recently, the city has been ranked the 57th most liveable city in the world.<ref> Česky. "List of cities by quality of living - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". </ref>


Main: History of Glasgow

Early origins and development

The St. Mungo Museum of Religion, one of few buildings remaining from medieval Glasgow

The present site of Glasgow has been used since prehistoric times for settlement due to it being the furthest downstream point at which the river Clyde could be forded, at the point of its confluence with the Molendinar Burn. During the early medieval period the area was part of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, which had its capital at Dumbarton, fifteen miles upstream. In 870 CE Dumbarton Rock was sacked by the Vikings and in the aftermath the capital of the Britons became Govan.<ref>Michael Meighan, Glasgow, A History, 13</ref>During the ninth century Strathclyde was united with other regions to create the Kingdom of Alba. The city became a centre of Christianity during this period under Saint Kentigern or Mungo.

However, the origins of Glasgow as an established city derive ultimately from its medieval position as Scotland's second largest bishopric. The city increased in importance during the eleventh century as its bishopric was reorganised by David I, King of Scotland and John Capellanus, Bishop of Glasgow. This bishopric became one of the wealthiest and largest within the Kingdom of Scotland, bringing wealth and status to the town. Between 1175 and 1178 this position was strengthened even further when Archbishop Jocelin of Glasgow obtained for the Episcopal settlement the status of Burgh from William I of Scotland. This allowed the settlement to access to lucrative trading monopolies and other legal guarantees. Supplementing this was an annual fair, which survives to this day.

Over the following centuries Glasgow expanded as a centre of religious and economic activity. The first bridge over the River Clyde was recorded from around 1285, giving its name to the Briggait area of the city, and formed the main North-South route over the river. Its early trade was in agriculture, brewing and fishing, with cured salmon and herring being exported to Europe and the Mediterranean.Following the Scottish Reformation in the fifteenth century and with the encouragement of the Convention of Royal Burghs, the 14 Incorporated Trade Crafts federated as the Trades House in 1605 to match the power and influence in the Town Council of the earlier Merchants Guilds who had established their Merchants House in the same year. Glasgow was subsequently raised to the status of Royal Burgh in 1611. The city’s substantial fortunes later came from came from international trade, manufacturing and invention in the Seventeenth Century, followed by tobacco, cotton and linen<ref> Harris, Nathaniel (2000) Heritage of Scotland, 70</ref>

Trading port

Tobacco Ships at Port Glasgow

After the Act of Union in 1707, Scotland gained further access to the vast markets of the new British Empire and Glasgow became prominent as a hub of international trade to and from the Americas, especially in sugar, tobacco, cotton, and manufactured goods. The city's 'Tobacco Lords' created a deep water port at Port Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde, as the river within the city itself was then too shallow.<ref>Abolition of the Slave Trade. Learning and Teaching Scotland Online. (Accessed 1st August 2014)</ref>

By the late 18th century more than half of the British tobacco trade was concentrated on Glasgow's River Clyde, with over of tobacco being imported each year at its peak<ref>Donnachie, Ian (2004). "The Glasgow Story: Industry and Technology — Food, Drink and Tobacco". The Glasgow Story</ref> Author, civil servant and spy Daniel Defoe visited the city in the early 18th century and famously opined in his book 'A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain'- that Glasgow was "the cleanest and beautifullest, and best built city in Britain, London excepted." At that time, the city's population numbered approximately 12000, and was yet to undergo the massive expansionary changes to the city's economy and urban fabric, brought about by the influences of the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.


Glasgow Cross during the early twentieth century

The opening of the Monkland Canal and basin linking to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Port Dundas in 1795, facilitated access to the extensive iron-ore and coal mines in Lanarkshire. After extensive river engineering projects to dredge and deepen the River Clyde as far as Glasgow, shipbuilding became a major industry on the upper stretches of the river, pioneered by industrialists such as Robert Napier (engineer) John Elder (shipbuilder), George Thomson (shipbuilder) Sir William Pearce and Alfred Yarrow. The River Clyde also became an important source of inspiration for artists, such as John Atkinson Grimshaw, James Kay, Sir Muirhead Bone, Robert Eadie and L.S. Lowry, who depicted the industrial era.

In 1821, Glasgow’s population surpassed that of Edinburgh. The development of civic institutions included the City of Glasgow Police in 1800, one of the first municipal police forces in the world. Despite the crisis caused by the City of Glasgow Bank's collapse in 1878, growth continued and by the end of the 19th century it was known as the ‘Second City of the Empire’ – producing more than half Britain’s annual shipping tonnage and a quarter of all railway locomotives in the world<ref>"Industrial decline — the 20th Century". Glasgow City Council</ref>In addition to its pre-eminence in shipbuilding and engineering, Glasgow developed as a major centre for chemicals, explosives, textiles, garment making, carpet manufacturing, furniture making and pottery, printing and publishing. At the same time, baking, insurance and professional services expanded to meet the ever growing demands of industry. Glasgow became one of the first cities in Europe to reach a population of one million. The industrial age was accompanied by immigration, particularly from the Highlands of Scotland and Ireland, as well as continental Europe.

During this period, the construction of many of the city's greatest architectural masterpieces and most ambitious civil engineering projects, such as the Milngavie water treatment works and Loch Katrine aqueduct, the Glasgow Subway, The Glasgow Tram system and the Mitchell Library were executed. In addition the Glasgow Corporation invested in amenities such as urban parks, giving the city some of the most extensive in Britain. The most notable of these include Kelvingrove Park in the city’s West End, and Glasgow Green- to the east of the City Centre. Bequests of land by wealthy industrialists such as the shipbuilder John Elder, led to the addition of parkland in areas including Govan and Bellahousten.

The pre-eminant role of the city in industry was celebrated by a series of international exhibitions including the International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in 1888, the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901 and the Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry in 1911, and Britain’s last major international exhibition, the Empire Exhibition in 1938. The latter reflected a vision of Britain’s image as a world power which was soon to be undermined by the Second World War and its aftermath.

Decline and Revival

Clearance of Glasgow tenements during the 1960s

The 20th century offered mixed fortunes for Glasgow. After World War I, the city suffered from the impact of the Great Depression. This contributed to the rise of radical socialism and the ‘Red Clydeside’ movement, the influence of which was crucial in creating the United Kingdom’s first Labour Government. The Second World War and following recovery efforts facilitated a reprieve for the city’s ailing manufacturing industries, which were already suffering from international competition and a failure to innovate effectively. But by the 1960s the problems of traditional industries reached a point of crisis, exemplified by the failure of the giant North British Locomotive Works in Springburn. As a result of changing economic fortunes, Glasgow entered a lengthy period of economic decline and rapid de-industrialisation. This led to high unemployment and urban decay, compounded by issues such as the poor health and poverty of many of the city’s inhabitants.

During the 1960s there were attempts at urban regeneration which led to mixed results. The most drastic of these was the controversial Bruce Report which advocated demolishing much of the city centre and replacing it with new building along strictly planned lines. While many of the report’s recommendations were never carried out, the Glasgow Corporation embarked on a huge programme of rebuilding, which saw the demolition of many of the cities ‘slum’ areas, but also the loss of many historic buildings and sometimes whole areas. Displaced residents from urban clearance were decanted to large suburban developments such as Easterhouse, Pollock and Drumchapel. Residents were also moved to ‘new towns’ in the Greater Glasgow area such as Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. There were accusations that the Scottish Office had deliberately attempted to undermine Glasgow's economic and political influence in post-war Scotland by reducing its population. The city also invested heavily in its roads infrastructure, with an extensive system of arterial roads and motorways which bisected the central area.

By the late 1980s, there had been a significant resurgence in Glasgow's economic fortunes, although this was not without controversy. The "Glasgow's Miles Better" campaign aimed to rebrand the city as an attractive location for investment. Amenities such as the Burrell Collection – a large purpose built art gallery in the city’s Southside- and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, facilitated Glasgow’s new role and civic identity as an international centre for business and finance. Glasgow City Council also promoted, with some success, an increase in tourism. The latter continues to be bolstered by the legacy of Glasgow’s status as European City of Culture in 1988 and concerted attempts at economic diversification. Wider economic revival has persisted and the ongoing regeneration of inner city areas such as the large scale developments on the Clyde Waterfront- formerly an industrial area-has led to wealthier people moving back to Glasgow, although this has fuelled allegations of gentrification at the expense of less affluent residents. The city is now considered by Lonely Planet to be one of the world's top 10 tourist cities.

Despite Glasgow's economic renaissance, the East End and North of the city remain a focus of social deprivation. A Glasgow Economic Audit report published in 2007 stated that the gap between prosperous and deprived areas of the city is widening. In 2006, 47% of Glasgow's population lived in the most deprived 15% of areas in Scotland, while the Centre for Social Justice reported 29.4% of the city's working-age residents to be ‘economically inactive’. Although marginally behind the UK average, Glasgow still has a higher employment rate than the comparable cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.In 2008 the city was ranked at 43 for Personal Safety in the Mercer index of top 50 safest cities in the world. The Mercer report was specifically looking at Quality of Living, yet by 2011 within Glasgow, certain areas were (still) ‘failing to meet the Scottish Air Quality Objective levels for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10)’.


The 'Squinty Bridge' which links Finnistoun to the Govan Road in the Southside

It is common to derive the name 'Glasgow' from the older Cumbric language 'glas cau' or a Middle Gaelic cognate, which would have meant 'green hollow'. The settlement probably had an earlier Cumbric name, 'Cathures'; the modern name appears for the first time in the Gaelic period (1116), as 'Glasgu'. It is also recorded that the King of Strathclyde, Rhydderch Hael, welcomed Saint Kentigern (also known as Saint Mungo), and procured his consecration as bishop about 540. For some thirteen years Kentigern laboured in the region, building his church at the Molendinar Burn, and making many converts. A large community developed around him and became known as 'Glasgu' (often glossed as the dear Green' or 'dear green place').



The coat of arms of the City of Glasgow was granted to the royal burgh by the Lord Lyon King of Arms on 25 October 1866.<ref>Urquhart, R.M. (1973) Scottish Burgh and County Heraldry. London. Heraldry Today</ref>It incorporates a number of symbols and emblems associated with the life of Glasgow's patron saint, Mungo, which had been used on official seals prior to that date. The emblems represent miracles supposed to have been performed by Mungo and are listed in the traditional rhyme:

'Here's the bird that never flew' 'Here's the tree that never grew' 'Here's the bell that never rang' 'Here's the fish that never swam'

St Mungo is also said to have preached a sermon containing the words 'Lord, Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word and the praising of thy name'. This was abbreviated to "Let Glasgow Flourish" and adopted as the city's motto. In 1450, John Stewart, the first Lord Provost of Glasgow, left an endowment so that a 'St Mungo's Bell'could be made and tolled throughout the city so that the citizens would pray for his soul. A new bell was purchased by the magistrates in 1641 and that bell is still on display in the People's Palace Museum, near Glasgow Green. The supporters are two salmon bearing rings, and the crest is a half length figure of Saint Mungo. He wears a bishop's mitre and liturgical vestments and has his hand raised in 'the act of benediction'. The original 1866 grant placed the crest atop a helm, but this was removed in subsequent grants. The current version (1996) has a gold mural crown between the shield and the crest. This form of coronet, resembling an embattled city wall, was allowed to the four area councils with city status. The arms were re-matriculated by the City of Glasgow District Council on 6 February 1975, and by the present area council on 25 March 1996. The only change made on each occasion was in the type of coronet over the arms.<ref> Urquhart, R.M. (2001) [1979]. Scottish Civic Heraldry (2nd edition ed.). Swindon: School Library Association</ref>

Government and Politics

Glasgow City Chambers during the Nineteenth Century

Glasgow City Chambers, located on George Square, is the headquarters of Glasgow City Council and the seat of Local Government in the city. Although the Glasgow Municipal Corporation had been a pioneer in the Municipal Socialist movement from the late 19th century, since the Representation of the People Act of 1918, Glasgow increasingly supported Left-wing ideas and politics at a national level. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and German Revolution of 1918–1919, the city's frequent strikes and militant organisations caused serious alarm to government in London. One demonstration in 1919, the ‘Battle of George Square’ prompted the then Prime Minister, David Lloyd George to deploy 10, 000 troops and tanks onto the city’s streets. During the 1930s, Glasgow was the main base of the Independent Labour Party (ILP).

Towards the end of the 20th century it became a centre of the struggle against the Community Charge, known as the Poll Tax. This was a measure introduced by Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher which altered how local rates (council tax) were calculated, which was perceived by many to be a serious social injustice. A consequence of events of the 1980s is that Glasgow has not elected a Conservative Member of Parliament since 1982.

While the Scottish Labour Party has controlled Glasgow City Council for thirty years. However, since 2007 local government elections in Scotland began to use the Single Transferable Vote system rather than the traditional First Past the Post. This has contributed to the decline of the Labour Party’s dominance within the City, although it remains one of only two local authorities in Scotland where it has an outright majority over other parties.

The resultant general political bias against the Conservative party continued and currently they have only 1 of the 79 councillors on Glasgow City Council, despite having been the controlling party (as the Progressives (Scotland) from 1969-1972 when Sir Donald Liddle was the last non-Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow.

Scottish Parliament region

The Glasgow Glasgow electoral region of the Scottish Parliament covers the Glasgow City council area, the Rutherglen area of South Lanarkshire and a small eastern portion of Renfrewshire. It elects nine of the parliament's 73 first past the post constituency members and seven of the 56 mixed member proportional representation additional members. Both kinds of member are known as Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The system of election is designed to produce a form of proportional representation.

The first past the post seats were created in 1999 with the names and boundaries of the then existing Westminster constituencies. In 2005, the number of Westminster MPs representing Scotland was cut to 59, with new constituencies being formed, while the existing number of MSPs was retained at Holyrood. In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, the boundaries of the Glasgow region were redrawn.Currently, the nine Scottish Parliament constituencies in the Glasgow electoral region are:

United Kingdom Parliament constituencies

Following reform of constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 2005, which reduced the number of Scottish MPs, the current Westminster constituencies representing Glasgow are:

  • Glasgow Central
  • Glasgow East
  • Glasgow North
  • Glasgow North East
  • Glasgow North West
  • Glasgow South
  • Glasgow South West

Geography and Climate

Glasgow is located on the banks of the River Clyde, in West Central Scotland. Its second most important river is the River Kelvin the name of which was used to create the title of the noted scientist William Thompson, first Baron Kelvin. As a result of this the name Kelvin ended up as the scientific unit of temperature. On older maps Glasgow will be found within the area of the pre-1975 county of Lanarkshire, from 1975 to 1996 it will appear within Strathclyde Region. Current maps will generally show Glasgow as one of 32 Council Areas in Scotland.

In spite of its northerly latitude, close to the same line as Moscow and Copenhagen, Glasgow's climate is classified as Oceanic. Data is available online for 3 official weather stations in the Glasgow area: Paisley, Abbotsinch and Bishopton. All are located to the West of the City Centre. Owing to its westerly position and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Glasgow is one of Scotland's milder areas. Temperatures are usually higher than most places of equal latitude away from the UK, due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream. However, this results less distinct seasons as compared to much of Western Europe. In Paisley, the annual precipitation averages 1245 mm.

Winters are cool and overcast, with a January mean of 5.0 Celsius, though lows sometimes fall below freezing. Since 2000 Glasgow has experienced few very cold, snowy and harsh winters where temperatures have fallen much below freezing. The most extreme instances have however seen temperatures around -12 Celsius in the area. Snowfall resulting in snow lying on the ground is an infrequent occurrence and generally short-lived. The spring months (March to May) are usually mild and often quite pleasant. Many of Glasgow's trees and plants begin to flower at this time of the year and parks and gardens are filled with spring colours.

During the summer months (June to August) the weather can vary considerably from day to day ranging from relatively cool and wet to quite warm with the odd sunny day. Long dry spells of warm weather are generally very scarce. Overcast and humid conditions without rain are frequent. Generally the weather pattern is quite unsettled and erratic during these months, with only occasional heatwaves. The warmest month is usually July, with average highs above 20°C. Autumns are generally cool to mild with increasing precipitation. During early autumn there can be some settled periods of weather and it can feel pleasant with mild temperatures and some sunny days.


The 1950s saw the population of the City of Glasgow area peak at 1,089,000. During this period, Glasgow was one of the most densely populated cities in the world. After the 1960s, clearings of poverty-stricken inner city areas like the Gorbals and relocation to ‘New Towns’ such as East Kilbride and Cumbernauld led to population decline. In addition, the boundaries of the city were changed twice during the late 20th century, making direct comparisons difficult. The city continues to expand beyond the official city council boundaries into surrounding suburban areas, encompassing around 400 square miles of all adjoining suburbs, if commuter towns and villages are included.

There are two distinct definitions for the population of Glasgow: the ‘Glasgow City Council Area’ -which lost the districts of Rutherglen and Cambuslang to South Lanarkshire in 1996- and the ‘Greater Glasgow Urban Area’ (which includes the conurbation around the city).

Influx attracted by physical and economic growth, and the City’s own population growth, resulted in the following demographic percentages in the 1881 Census calculated by birthplaces - born in Scotland 83%, Ireland 13%, England 3% and Elsewhere 1%. By 1911 the population was no longer gaining by migration. The demographic percentages in the 1951 Census were - born in Scotland 93%, Ireland 3%, England 3% and Elsewhere 1%.

In the early 20th century, many Lithuanian refugees began to settle in Glasgow and at its height in the 1950s there were around 10,000 in the Glasgow area. Many Italians also settled in Glasgow, originating from provinces like Frosinone between Rome and Naples and Lucca in north-west Tuscany at this time, many originally working in the catering industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, many Asians also settled in Glasgow, mainly in the Pollokshields area. Today these number 30,000 people of Pakistani origins, 15,000 of Indian origins, 3,000 Bangladeshis as well as Chinese immigrants, many of whom settled in the Garnethill area of the City. Recent immigration has been added to be the UK government’s policy of dispersing asylum seekers in order to ease pressure on social housing in the London area.

Since the United Kingdom Census 2001 the population decline has stabilised. The 2011 population of the city council area was 593,245 around 2,300,000 people live in the Glasgow travel-to-work area. This area is defined as consisting of over 10 per cent of residents travelling into Glasgow to work and is without fixed boundaries. The population density of London following the 2011 census was recorded as 5,200 people per square kilometre, while 3,395 people per square kilometre were registered in Glasgow. Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy of any UK city at 72.9 years.Much was made of this during the 2008 East Glasgow by-election. In 2008, a World Health Organization report about health inequalities, revealed that male life expectancy varied from 54 in the City’s Calton area – to 82 in the nearby area of Lenzie.

Districts and suburbs

City centre

The City Centre is bounded by the High Street to the east, the River Clyde to the south and the M8 motorway to the west and north which was built through the Townhead, Charing Cross, Cowcaddens and Anderston areas in the 1960s.The City Centre is based on a grid system of streets on the north bank of the River Clyde. The heart of the city is George Square, site of many of statues and the elaborate Victorian Glasgow City Chambers, headquarters of Glasgow City Council.

Museum of Modern Art and Statue of the Duke of Wellington

To the south and west are the shopping precincts of Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street, the last featuring more upmarket retailers and winner of the Academy of Urbanism 'Great Street Award', 2008. The main shopping centres are [[Buchanan Galleries[[ and the St. Enoch Centre, the latter built on the site of the former St. Enoch Railway Station. The upmarket Princes Square and Italian Centres specialise in designer labels and high end shopping. Glasgow's retail portfolio forms the UK's second largest and most economically important retail sector after Central London.

The City Centre is home to most of Glasgow's main cultural venues: the Theatre Royal, (performing home of Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet, the Pavilion Theatre the King's Theatre, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow Film Theatre, Tron Theatre, Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Mitchell Library and Theatre, the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts), McLellan Galleries and the The Lighthouse Museum of Architecture. The city centre is also home to four of Glasgow's higher education institutions: the University of Strathclyde, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University. The area between Sauchiehall Street and the M8 Motorway is home to many notable Victorian tenements, including the example preserved in original condition by the National Trust for Scotland- the Tenement House.

Merchant City

To the east is the commercial and residential district of Merchant City. The Merchant City was formerly the residential district of the wealthy city merchants in the 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly the Tobacco Lords from whom many of the streets take their name. As the Industrial Revolution and the wealth it brought to the city resulted in the expansion of Glasgow's central area westward, the original medieval centre was left behind.

Tolbooth Steeple

Glasgow Cross, situated at the junction of High Street, Gallowgate, and Saltmarket was the original centre of the city, symbolised by its Mercat Cross. Glasgow Cross encompasses the [[Tolbooth Clock Tower[[- all that remains of the original City Chambers, which was destroyed by fire in 1926. Moving northward up High Street towards Rottenrow and Townhead lies the 15th century Glasgow Cathedral and the Provand's Lordship- one of the few surviving medieval buildings remaining in the city. Due to growing industrial pollution levels in the mid-to-late 19th century, the area fell out of favour with residents and gradually declined. The University of Glasgow relocated from its historic location on High Street to the then newly developing West End during this period. From the late 1980s onwards, the Merchant City has been rejuvenated with luxury city centre flats and warehouse conversions. This regeneration has supported an increasing number of cafés and restaurants. The area is also home to a number of high end boutique style shops and some of Glasgow's most upmarket stores, as well as nightclubs and bars.

Royal Exchange Square at Night

The Merchant City is the centre of Glasgow's ‘cultural quarter’, based on King Street, the Saltmarket and Trongate. There is an annual Merchant City Festival. The area has supported a growth in art galleries, the origins of which can be found in the late 1980s, when it attracted artist-led organisations that could afford the cheap rents required to operate in vacant manufacturing or retail spaces. The potential of the Merchant City as a ‘cultural quarter’ was harnessed by independent arts organisations and Glasgow City Council. The area also contains a number of theatres and concert venues, including the Tron Theatre, the Old Fruitmarket the Trades Hall, St. Andrew's in the Square and Merchant Square.

Financial district

To the western edge of the city centre, occupying the areas of Blythswood Hill and Anderston, lies Glasgow's financial district, known officially as the International Financial Services District (IFSD), although often irreverently nicknamed by the contemporary press as the "square kilometre" or ‘Wall Street on Clyde’. Since the late 1980s the construction of many modern office blocks and high rise developments have paved the way for the IFSD to become one of the UK's largest financial quarters. With a reputation as an established financial services centre, coupled with comprehensive support services, Glasgow continues to attract and grow new business.

Of the 10 largest general insurance companies in the UK, 8 have a base or head office in Glasgow- including Direct Line, Esure, AXA and Norwich Union. Key banking sector companies have also moved some of their services to commercial property in Glasgow- Resolution, JPMorgan Chase, Abbey, HBOS, Barclays, Wealth, Tesco Personal Finance, Morgan Stanley, Clydesdale Bank, BNP Paribas, [[Santander UK and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

West End

Much of Glasgow's West End is a bohemian district which includes many cafés, tea rooms, bars, boutiques, upmarket hotels, clubs and restaurants. In addition the area is home to a large population of students. It encompasses the hinterland of Kelvingrove Park, the University of Glasgow- based on Gilmorehill and Glasgow Botanical Gardens. The main thoroughfare is Byres Road, which runs from Partick Cross to [Great Western Road]].

Byres Road

The area was developed in the mid-ninteenth century as an upmarket escape from the industrial areas of the city centre. The Park Circus area above Kelvingrove Park is home to some of the city’s most impressive Victorian architecture, while the park itself was laid out by the famous engineer and inventor Joseph Paxton. Notable second hand bookshops are located in and around Otago Street, adjacent to Great Western Road. A major provider of transport to the area is the Glasgow Subway, which links the West End and part of the South Side districts of the City.

Glasgow uni 200382a1.jpg

The West End includes residential areas of Hillhead, Dowanhill, Kelvingrove, Kelvinside, Hyndland, Broomhill and to an increasing extent, Partick. The name is also increasingly being used to refer to any area to the west of Charing Cross, This includes areas traditionally viewed as less affluent, such as areas such as Scotstoun, Jordanhill, Kelvindale and Anniesland. A part of the West End often overlooked is Maryhill, which borders Great Western Road to the North. The area is bisected by the River Kelvin which flows from the Campsie Fells to the north and confluences with the River Clyde at Yorkhill Quay, adjacent to the new Glasgow Riverside Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid.

The spire of Sir George Gilbert Scott's University of Glasgow main building -the second largest Gothic Revival building in Britain- is a major landmark, and can be seen from miles around, sitting atop Gilmorehill. The university itself is the fourth oldest in the English-speaking world. The area is also home to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, ]]Hunterian Museum[[ and Art Gallery, Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena and the Henry Wood Hall (home of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The Oran Mor bar and restaurant on Byres Road is home to a number of murals by celebrated artist and polymath Alistair Grey. The West End also has an annual festival which is held annually in June.

Glasgow is the home of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), the United Kingdom's largest exhibition and conference centre, opened in 1995. A major expansion of the SECC facilities at the former Queen's Dock by Foster and Partners completed construction in 2013 and included a 12,000 seat arena, now known as the Hydro.

East End

The East End extends from Glasgow Cross in the City Centre to the boundary with North and South Lanarkshire. It is home to the famous Glasgow Barrowland Market popularly known as "The Barras" ,Glasgow Green and Celtic Park, home of Celtic F.C. Many of the original sandstone tenements remain in this district. The East End was once a major industrial centre, home to Sir William Arrol & Co, James Templeton & Co and William Beardmore and Company. A notable local employer continues to be the Wellpark Brewery, home of Tennent's Lager.

The Glasgow Necropolis

The Glasgow Necropolis Cemetery was created by the Merchants House on a hill above the Glasgow Cathedral in 1831. Routes curve through the landscape uphill to the 62 meter high statue of [[John Knox] at the summit. There are two late 18th century tenements in [[Gallowgate[[. Dating from 1771 and 1780, both have been well restored.

The construction of Charlotte Street was financed by David Dale, whose former pretensions can be gauged by the one remaining house, now run by the National Trust for Scotland. Further along Charlotte Street there stands a modern Gillespie, Kidd & Coia building of some note. Once a school, it has been converted into offices. Surrounding these buildings are a series of innovative housing developments conceived as ‘Homes for the Future’, part of a project during the city's year as UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999.

East of Glasgow Cross is St Andrew's in the Square, the oldest post-Reformation church in Scotland, built in 1739–1757 and displaying a Presbyterian grandeur befitting the church of the city's wealthy Tobacco Lords. Also close by is the more modest Scottish Episcopal Church, St Andrew's-by-the-Green- the oldest Episcopal church in Scotland. The Episcopalian St Andrew's was also known as the "Whistlin' Kirk" due to it being the first church after the Reformation to own an organ.

Overlooking Glasgow Green is the façade of Templeton On The Green, featuring vibrant polychromatic brickwork intended to evoke the Doge's Palace in Venice. It is now home to an independent Brewery. Further east, the extensive Tollcross Park was originally developed from the estate of James Dunlop, the owner of a local steelworks. His large Scots Baronial Style mansion was built in 1848 by David Bryce and until the 1980s housed the City’s children’s museum. Today it is a sheltered housing complex. The Tollcross area also houses an Olympic sized swimming pool which will be utilised during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Tollcross Park.

To the north of the East End is Dennistoun, again developed in the mid-nineteenth century. Intended as a middle class area by its builders, Dennistoun failed to attract this clientel and instead developed as a prosperous working class district with many amenities, including the Dennistoun Palace (Dancehall) celebrated by folk singer Hamish Imlach during the 1960s. It is now a popular area with students due to the comparatively lower rents to the West End and its proximity to the City Centre, as well as substantial Victorian tenements and amenities such as Whitehill Swimming Pool. It is served by the railway stations of Bellgrove, Duke Street and Alexandra Parade.

Approaching Glasgow from the Northeast by motorway, the visitor can observe two massive gasometers from the former Provan Gas Works, overlooking Alexandra Park. They are often used for displaying large advertising slogans and have become and unofficial portal to the city for road users. Elsewhere, the East End Healthy Living Centre (EEHLC) was established in mid-2005 at Crownpoint Road with Lottery Funding and City grants to serve community needs in the area. The centre provides service such as sports facilities, health advice, stress management, leisure and vocational classes.

South Side

Glasgow's South Side sprawls out south of the Clyde, covering areas including The Gorbals, Toryglen, Govan, Ibrox, Cessnock, Shawlands, Simshill, Strathbungo, Cardonald, Mount Florida, Pollokshaws, Nitshill, Pollokshields, Battlefield, Langside, Govanhill, Crosshill, Mosspark , Kinning Park, Mansewood, Arden, Carnwadric, Kennishead, Darnley, Newlands, Deaconsbank, Pollok, Croftfoot, Castlemilk, King's Park, Cathcart, Muirend Clarkston, Eaglesham,Giffnock, Thornliebank, Netherlee, and Newton Mearns in the East Renfrewshire council area, as well as Cambuslang, East Kilbride, and Rutherglen in the South Lanarkshire council area.

Although predominantly residential, the area does have many notable buildings including, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Scotland Street School, now a museum and the House for An Art Lover, built during the 1980s to plans by Mackintosh. Nearby is Bellahousten Park, once the location of the Empire Exhibition of 1938. Foundations of the huge modernist buildings constructed at this time remain in evidence. The world famous Burrell Collection is based in Pollock Country Park, an extensive estate gifted to the city by local potentate Sir John Stirling Maxwell in the 1950s. Maxwell’s grand house is now an art gallery run by the [[National Trust for Scotland[[ and is known for its collection of renaissance Spanish Art.

Former Co-Operative headquarters, Tradeston

The former Govan Town Hall, facing onto the Clyde- once the source of the area’s former wealth- is now a studio complex known as Film City. The BBC headquarters relocated to a former industrial site at Pacific Quay in the 2000’s, as part of attempted regeneration of the area. Further east along the river, the Tradeston area was decimated by industrial decline and the arrival of urban motorways but some notable buildings have nonetheless survived around Tradeston Cross which bear witness to better times. Several new bridges spanning the River Clyde have been built or are currently planned, including the Clyde Arc known by locals as the Squinty Bridge at Pacific Quay and others at Tradeston and Springfield Quay. Located in Ibrox, the stadium of [[Rangers FC.] is a major landmark.

Tradeston Bridge

Govan is a district and former burgh in the south-western part of the city. It is situated on the south bank of the River Clyde, opposite Partick. It was an administratively independent Police Burgh from 1864 until it was incorporated into the expanding city of Glasgow in 1912. It has a long history, once being an important religious centre for Strathclyde during the Early Medieval Period. Govan has a legacy as an engineering and shipbuilding centre of international repute and is home to one of two BAE Systems shipyards on the River Clyde and the precision engineering firm, Thales Optronics. During the 1970s the then Fairfield Shipyard was the scene of the famous ‘work in’ organised by Trade Unions in response to attempts to close the yard following the withdrawal of government subsidies. An innovative and well known regeneration initiative in Govan is the GalGael Project, which fosters traditional boatbuilding skills and crafts. Further west is the Southern General Hospital, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country, and the maintenance depot for the Glasgow Subway system, as well as the Braehead shopping development. The Clyde Tunnel was constructed during the 1930s to link Partick and Govan, as the need for large shipping to access docks further upstream ruled out a bridge. Further south, the areas of Langside and Battlefield were once the scene of the famous 'last battle' of Mary Queen of Scots as she attempted to regain the Scottish Crown from her many enemies. Supposedly Mary watched the battle from underneath a large Oak tree- part of which is preserved in Pollock House.

North Glasgow

North Glasgow extends out from the north of the city centre towards the affluent suburbs of Bearsden, Milngavie and Bishopbriggs in East Dunbartonshire and Clydebank in West Dunbartonshire. Milngavie is nowadays associated with the start of the West Highland Way, a footpath which leads north into the Highlands.The area also contains some of the city's poorest residential areas. Possilpark is one such area, where levels of unemployment and drug abuse continue to be above the national average. Much of the housing in areas such as Possilpark and Hamiltonhill have fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years.This has led to large scale redevelopment of much of the poorer housing stock in north Glasgow, and the wider regeneration of many areas, such as Ruchill, which have been transformed; many run-down tenements have now been refurbished or replaced by modern housing estates.

Ruchill was formerly the location of a vast Victorian hospital, some remains of which can still be seen. Much of the housing stock in north Glasgow is rented social housing, with a high proportion of high-rise tower blocks, managed by the North Glasgow Housing Association trading as NG Homes and Glasgow Housing Association.The Forth and Clyde Canal passes through this part of the city, and at one stage formed a vital part of the local economy. It was for many years polluted and largely unused after the decline of heavy industry, but recent efforts to regenerate and re-open the canal to navigation have seen it rejuvenated. Sighthill is home to Scotland’s largest asylum seeker community.

A huge part of the economic life of Glasgow was once located in Springburn, where the Saracen Foundry, engineering works of firms like Charles Tennant and locomotive workshops employed many Glaswegians. Indeed, Glasgow dominated this type of manufacturing, with 25% of all the world’s locomotives being built in the area at one stage. It was home to the headquarters of the North British Locomotive Company. Today part of the St. Rollox railway works continues in use as a railway maintenance facility- all that is left of the industry in Springburn, while the remainder of the site has been redeveloped for retail use.


Alistair Gray

The city has many amenities for a wide range of cultural activities, from curling to opera and ballet and from Association Football to art appreciation; it also has a large selection of museums that include those devoted to transport, religion, and modern art. Many of the city's cultural sites were celebrated in 1990 when Glasgow was designated European City of Culture. The city's principal library, the Mitchell Library, has grown into one of the largest public reference |libraries in Europe, currently housing some 1.3 million books, an extensive collection of newspapers and thousands of photographs and maps. Most of Scotland's national arts organisations are based in Glasgow, including Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Youth Theatre.

Glasgow has its own ‘Poet Laureate’, a post created in 1999 for Edwin Morgan and as of 2007 occupied by Liz Lochhead. In 2013, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) declared Glasgow to be the most vegan-friendly city in the UK, a judgement that could be considered rather at odds with the city’s reputation for poor health and lifestyles, with the Daily Record considering it an ‘unlikely title’. However this claim not without merit as Glasgow is home to a number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants including Mono and the Thirteenth Note in the Trongate area. The city has notably been depicted in fiction by Alistair Grey as the dystopian 'Lanark'.

Glasgow on Film

Notable films set in Glasgow and its environs include Young Adam (2003), Red Road (2006), Deathwatch (1981) and Under the Skin (2013), as well as The Acid House (1998) and Sweet Sixteen (2002). The city has been used as a location for a number of film shoots.

Music scene

Glasgow has many live music venues, pubs, and clubs. Some of the city's more well-known venues include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, The Hydro, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut (where Oasis were spotted and signed by Glaswegian record mogul Alan McGee), the Queen Margaret Union (who have Kurt Cobain's footprint locked in a safe), Barrowland Ballroom- a ballroom converted into a live music venue as well as which is the largest nightclub in Scotland, as well as the Glasgow School of Arty Union, colloquially referred to as the ‘Art School’.

Other smaller music venues include the infamous bar and club Nice’nSleazy on Sauchiehall Street and the Old Hairdressers on Renfield Lane, as well as the 13th Note in Trongate and Stereo, near Central Station. During the 1960s the city was a centre for the famed ‘folk revival’ with musicians such as Hamish Imlach and Matt McGinn, and the esoteric humorist Ivor Cutler, who chronicled his childhood in Ibrox and Shawlands. Dennistoun was the birthplace of the contemporary popstar Lulu. More recently, the success of bands such as The Blue Nile, Simple Minds, Del Amitri, Wet Wet Wet, Texas, Hipsway, Hue & Cry, Love & Money, Aztec Camera, Idlewild, Jesus & Mary Chain, Deacon Blue, Orange Juice, Teenage Fanclub, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand Mogwai, Snow Patrol, and Primal Scream have significantly boosted the profile of the Glasgow music scene, prompting Time Magazine to liken Glasgow to Detroit during its 1960s Motown heyday. More recent successes include The Fratellis, Chvrches, Glasvegas and Paws. The city of Glasgow was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 20 August 2008 as part of the Creative Cities Network.

Glasgow's contemporary dance music scene has been spearheaded by Slam, and their record label Soma Quality Recordings with their Pressure club nights at The Arches Glasgow attracting DJs and clubbers from around the world. The MOBO Awards were held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on 30 September 2009, making Glasgow the first out-of-London city to host the event since its launch in 1995. Glasgow was also appointed as host for the 2014 MTV Europe Awards.


Both BBC Scotland and STV have their headquarters in Glasgow. Television programs which are or were filmed in Glasgow include 'Rab C Nesbitt', 'Taggart', 'High Times' 'River City', 'City Light', 'Chewin' the Fat' and 'Still Game'. Most recently the long running series 'Question Time' and the early evening quiz programme Eggheads moved its production base to the city and 'Mrs. Brown's Boys' is also filmed at BBC Scotland.

The Scottish press publishes various newspapers in the city such as the 'Evening Times', 'The Herald’, 'Sunday Herald’, the 'Sunday Mail (Scotland)|Sunday Mail' and the 'Daily Record'. Scottish editions of Trinity Mirror and News International titles are printed in the city. STV Group is a Glasgow-based media conglomerate with interests in television, and publishing advertising. STV Group owns and operates both Scottish ITV franchises (Central Scotland and Grampian), both branded STV.

Various radio stations are also located in Glasgow. Bauer Radio owns the principal commercial radio stations in Glasgow; 102.5 Clyde 1 and 1152 Clyde 2 which can reach over 2.3million listeners. In 2004, STV Group plc (then known as SMG plc) sold its 27.8% stake in Scottish Radio Holdings to the broadcasting group EMAP for £90.5 million. Other stations broadcasting from Glasgow include 105.2 Smooth Radio, Real Radio and 96.3 Rock Radio, which are all owned by GMG Radio. Global Radio's Central Scotland radio station Capital FM Scotland also broadcast from studios in Glasgow. The city has a strong community radio sector, including Celtic Music Radio, Subcity Radio, Radio Magnetic, Sunny Govan Radio, AWAZ FM and Insight Radio.


Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis during the Nineteenth Century

Glasgow is a city of significant religious diversity. The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church are the two largest Christian denominations in the city. There are 147 congregations in the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Glasgow (Church of Scotland)| Presbytery of Glasgow (of which 104 are within the city boundaries, the other 43 being in adjacent areas such as Giffnock). The city has four Christian cathedrals, Glasgow Cathedral of the Church of Scotland; St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow of the Roman Catholic Church; St. Mary's Cathedral, of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and St Luke's Orthodox Cathedral, of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Glasgow Central Mosque in the Gorbals district is the largest mosque in Scotland and, along with twelve other mosques in the city, caters for the city's Muslim population- estimated to number 33,000. Planning permission was submitted for a new Sikh temple in 2007, which will complement the existing four Sikh temples 'Gurdwaras Sabha' in Finnieston and 'Guru Nanak Sikh Temple' in Kelvinbridge) and two in the Southside area of Pollokshields -'Guru Granth Sahib Gurdwara' and 'Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara'. There are more than 2,000 Sikhs in Glasgow, constituting more than one-third of all Sikhs in Scotland.

Glasgow has seven synagogues with the seventh largest Jewish population in the United Kingdom after London, Manchester, Leeds, Gateshead, Brighton and Bournemouth, but once had a Jewish population second only to London, estimated at 20,000 in the Gorbals alone. In 1993, the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art opened in Glasgow. It is believed to be the only public museum to examine all the world's major religious faiths.


'Glaswegian'- otherwise known as the Glasgow patter, is a local variety of Scots. Glaswegian is a dialect, more than an alternative pronunciation. Words also change their meaning as all over in Scotland, e.g.- away can mean leaving as in 'A'm away', an instruction to stop being a nuisance as in 'away wi ye', or drunk or ‘demented’ as in 'he's away wi it'.

'Ginger' is a term for any carbonated soft drink, historically referring to ginger beer -'A bottle o’ ginger'. Then there are words whose meaning has no obvious relationship to that in standard English- 'coupon' means ‘face’, via ‘to punch a ticket coupon’. A headbutt is known in many parts of the British Isles as a 'Glasgow kiss'- although this term is rarely used by Glaswegians, who say ‘Malkie’, e.g., ‘ah'll Malkie ye’ or ‘stick the heid/nut on ye’. A speaker of Glaswegian might refer to those originating from the Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles as 'teuchters', while they would reciprocate by referring to Glaswegians as 'keelies' and those from the East of Scotland refer to Glaswegians as 'Weegies'.

The long-running TV drama 'Taggart' and the comedies 'Empty’, 'Chewin' the Fat', 'Rab C. Nesbitt', 'Still Game' and 'Dear Green Place]' depict the Glaswegian 'patois', while Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle, Craig Ferguson and Billy Connolly have made Glaswegian humour known to the rest of the world.


Very little of Medieval Glasgow remains; the two main landmarks from this period being the 15th century Provand's Lordship and 13th century St. Mungo's Cathedral, although the original medieval street plan (along with many of the street names) on the eastern side of the city centre has largely survived intact. The vast majority of the city as seen today dates from the 19th century. As a result, Glasgow has an impressive heritage of Victorian architecture: the Glasgow City Chambers; the main building of the University of Glasgow, designed by George Gilbert Scott, Govan Town Hall (now known as Film City), the former Co-Operative Building in Tradeston (visible from the M8 Motorway) and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, designed by John William Simpson are notable examples.

The city is notable for architecture designed by the Glasgow School, the most notable exponent of that style being Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh was an architect and designer in the Arts and Crafts Movement and a noted exponent of Art Nouveau in the United Kingdom, designing numerous Glasgow buildings such as the Glasgow School of Art, the Willow Tearooms and the Scotland Street School, now a museum. A hidden gem of Glasgow- also designed by Mackintosh- is the Queen's Cross Church in Maryhill.

Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's Caledonia Road Church

Another architect who has had an enduring impact on the city's appearance was Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, with notable examples of his work including Holmwood House, now administered by the National Trust for Scotland and St. Vincent Street Church. Caledonia Road Free Church- in the Gorbals- is now a ruin, but is proposed to be the site of a museum dedicated to his work. Glasgow’s Victorian buildings reflect the wealth and self confidence of the residents of the ‘Second City of the Empire’. Many of the city's most impressive buildings were built with red or blond sandstone, but during the industrial era those colours disappeared under a pervasive black layer of soot and pollutants. In recent years many of these buildings have been cleaned and restored to their original appearance.

There are over 1,800 listed buildings in the city, of architectural and historical importance, and 23 Conservation Areas extending over 1,471 hectares. Such areas include the Central Area, Dennistoun, parts of the West End, Pollokshields - the first major planned garden suburb in Britain - Newlands and Carmunnock Village.

The Clyde Auditorium

Modern buildings in Glasgow include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and along the banks of the Clyde are the Glasgow Science Centre, The Hydro and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, whose Clyde Auditorium was designed by Sir Norman Foster, and is affectionately known as the ‘Armadillo’, as well as the vast University of Glasgow Library- a noted West End landmark. Many notable public buildings from the 1920s and 1930s in the Art Deco style survive in the city and surrounding area, while the 1950s and 1960s buildings in the modernist style by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia are increasingly appreciated. Glasgow's impressive historical and modern architectural traditions were celebrated in 1999 when the city was designated UK City of Architecture and Design.


Although diminished from its early 20th century heights, Glasgow remains the hub of the UK's Shipbuilding industry. Glasgow has the largest economy in Scotland and is at the hub of the metropolitan area of West Central Scotland. Glasgow also has the third highest GDP Per capita of any city in the UK (after London and Edinburgh).The city itself sustains more than 410,000 jobs in over 12,000 companies. Over 153,000 jobs were created in the city between 2000 and 2005- a growth rate of 32%. Glasgow's annual economic growth rate of 4.4% is now second only to that of London. In 2005, over 17,000 new jobs were created, and 2006 saw private-sector investment in the city reaching £4.2 billion, an increase of 22% in a single year.

55% of the residents in the Greater Glasgow area commute to the city every day. Once dominant export orientated manufacturing industries such as shipbuilding and other heavy engineering have been gradually replaced in importance by more diversified forms of economic activity, although major manufacturing firms continue to be headquartered in the city, such as Aggreko, Weir Group, Jim McColl, Clyde Blowers, James Howden, Howden, Linn Products, Firebrand Games, William Grant & Sons, Whyte and Mackay, The Edrington Group, British Polar Engines and Albion Motors. Glasgow was once one of the most significant cities in the UK for manufacturing, which generated a great deal of the city's wealth; the most prominent industry being shipbuilding based on the River Clyde. Although Glasgow owed much of its economic growth to the shipbuilding industry, which still continues today in the form of BAE Systems Maritime - Naval Ships' two shipyards, the city has its roots in the tobacco trade and is noted to have risen from its ‘medieval slumber’ from trade in tobacco, pioneered by figures such as John Glassford.

The city was also noted for its locomotive construction industry, led by firms such as the North British Locomotive Company- which grew during the 19th century before entering a sharp decline in the 1960s. Whilst manufacturing has declined, Glasgow's economy has seen significant relative growth of tertiary sector of the sector industries such as financial and business services, communications, biosciences, creative industries, healthcare, higher education, retail and tourism. Glasgow is now the second most popular foreign tourist destination in Scotland (fourth in the UK) and its largest retail centre.

Between 1998 and 2001, the city's financial services sector grew at a rate of 30%, making considerable gains on Edinburgh, which has historically been the centre of the Scottish financial sector. Glasgow is now one of Europe's sixteen largest financial centres with a growing number of Blue chip (stock market)| financial sector companies establishing significant operations or headquarters in the city. The 1990s and first decade of the 21st century saw substantial growth in the number of call centres based in Glasgow. In 2007 roughly 20,000 people, a third of all call centre employees in Scotland, were employed by Glasgow call centres.This growth and its high use of recruitment agencies to hire graduates as temporary workers has led to accusations of exploitative practices such as long hours, poor pay and lack of job security by the Trades Union Congress and other union bodies.

The city's main manufacturing industries include companies involved in; shipbuilding, engineering, construction, brewing and distilling, printing and publishing, chemicals and textiles as well as newer growth sectors such as optoelectronics, software development and biotechnology. Glasgow forms the western part of the Silicon Glen high tech sector of Scotland.


Public transport

Glasgow has two major railway terminals. Glasgow Central station is the northern terminus of the West Coast Main Line, while Queen Street Station is the starting point for journeys to the North and East. Glasgow Central Station is also the terminus for suburban services on the south side of Glasgow, Ayrshire and Inverclyde, as well as being served by the cross city link from Dalmuir to Motherwell. The city has the most extensive commuter rail and urban rail network in the UK outside of London with rail services travelling to a large part of the Strathclyde area. Most lines were electrified under British Rail. All trains running within Scotland, including the local Glasgow trains, are operated by First ScotRail, who own the franchise as determined by the Scottish Government.

Glasgow's suburban railways were electrified during the 1960s
The Glasgow Subway

The city's suburban network is currently divided by the River Clyde, and the Crossrail Glasgow initiative has been proposed to link them- it is currently awaiting funding from the Scottish Government. The city is linked to Edinburgh by four direct railway links. In addition to the suburban rail network, SPT operates the Glasgow Subway. The Subway is the United Kingdom's only completely underground rapid transit-metro system, and is generally recognised as the world's third underground railway after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro. Glasgow has a large urban transport system, mostly managed by the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT). The city has many bus services; since bus deregulation in almost all are provided by private operators though SPT part-funds some services. The principal bus operators within the city are: First Glasgow, McGill's Buses, Stagecoach West Scotland and Glasgow Citybus. The main bus terminal in the city is Buchanan bus station. As part of the wider regeneration along the banks of the River Clyde a Bus Rapid Transit system called Clyde Fastlink is currently under construction.


Ferries used to link opposite sides of the Clyde in Glasgow but they have been rendered near-obsolete, by bridges and tunnels including the Erskine Bridge, Kingston Bridge, and the Clyde Tunnel. The only remaining crossings are the Renfrew Ferry between Renfrew and Yoker, and the Kilcreggan Ferry in Inverclyde, both run by SPT but outwith the city boundary.The 'PS Waverley', the world's last operational seagoing paddle steamer provides services from Glasgow city Centre, mainly catering to the pleasure cruise market. A regular water taxi service links the city Centre with Braehead in Renfrewshire, some 30 minutes downstream.

A service by Loch Lomond Seaplanes, connecting the city with destinations in Argyll and Bute. The only operational dock left in Glasgow operated by Peel Group, Clydeport is the King George V Dock, near Braehead. Since the advent of Containerisation, most other facilities, such as Hunterston Terminal are located in the deep waters of the Firth of Clyde which together handle some 7.5 million tonnes of cargo each year. Longer distant commercial sea shipping from Glasgow occurs regularly to many European destinations including Mediterranean and Baltic ports via passage through the Sea of the Hebrides.


The main M8 motorway passes through the city centre and connects to the M77 motorway, M73 motorway and M80 motorway motorways. The A82 road connects the city to Argyll and Bute and the western Scottish Highlands|. The A74(M) and M74 motorways runs directly south towards Carlisle, the M74 completion scheme has extended the motorway from Tollcross into the Tradeston area to join the M8. Other road projects in the city include Glasgow East End Regeneration Route, which aims to provide easier access to deprived areas of the East End by linking the M8 to the extended M74.

The Clyde Arc or 'Squinty Bridge'


The city is served by two international airports and a seaplane terminal: Glasgow International Airport, (west of the city centre) in Renfrewshire and Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK) which is approximately 30 miles south west of Glasgow in Ayrshire and Glasgow Seaplane Terminal, by the Glasgow Science Centre on the River Clyde. There is also a small airfield at Cumbernauld | in Lanarkshire to the north-east and Glasgow City Heliport located at Stobcross Quay on the banks of the Clyde. A plan to provide a direct rail link to Glasgow International was dropped with the cancelling of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link in 2009.


Glasgow is known for its tenements - the red (or blonde) sandstone buildings are one of the most recognisable signatures of the city. These were the most popular form of housing in 19th- and 20th-century Glasgow and remain the most common form of dwelling in Glasgow today. Tenements are commonly bought by a wide range of social types and are favoured for their large rooms, high ceilings and original period features. The Hyndland area of Glasgow is the only tenement conservation area in the UK and includes some tenement houses with as many as six bedrooms.

Typical Glasgow tenements

Like many cities in the UK, Glasgow witnessed the construction of high-rise housing in tower blocks in the 1960s, along with large overspill estates on the periphery of the city, in areas like Pollok, Nitshill, Castlemilk, Easterhouse, Milton, Glasgow and Drumchapel. These were built to replace the decaying inner-city tenement buildings originally built for workers who migrated from the surrounding countryside, the Highlands, and the rest of the United Kingdom, particularly Ireland, in order to feed the local demand for labour. The massive demand outstripped new building and many, originally fine, tenements often became overcrowded and unsanitary. Many degenerated into the infamous Glasgow slums, such as the Gorbals. Efforts to improve this housing situation, most successfully with the City Improvement Trust in the late 19th century, cleared the slums of the old town areas such as the Trongate, High Street and Glasgow Cross.

Subsequent urban renewal initiatives, such as those motivated by the Bruce Report, entailed the comprehensive demolition of slum tenement areas, the development of new towns on the periphery of the city, and the construction of tower blocks. The policy of tenement demolition is now considered to have been short-sighted, wasteful and largely unsuccessful. Many of Glasgow's worst tenements were refurbished into desirable accommodation in the 1970s and 1980s and the policy of demolition is considered to have destroyed many fine examples of a ‘universally admired architectural’ style. The Glasgow Housing Association took ownership of the housing stock from the city council on 7 March 2003, and has begun a £96 million clearance and demolition programme to clear and demolish many of the high-rise flats.


Medical care is mainly provided by NHS Scotland and is directly administered by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.Major hospitals, including those with Emergency department provision, are: the Western Infirmary, Gartnavel General Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, in the West End, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Glasgow Dental Hospital and School in the City Centre, Stobhill Hospital in the North, Glasgow Victoria Infirmary and the Southern General Hospital in the South Side.

There is also an emergency telephone service provided by NHS 24 and 24 hour access to General Practitioners through Out of hours centres. Paramedic]services are provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service and supported by voluntary bodies like the St. Andrew's Ambulance Association. A strong Teaching Hospital tradition is maintained between the city's main hospitals and the University of Glasgow Medical School. All Pharmacies provide a wide range of services including minor ailment advice, emergency hormonal contraception, public health advice, some provide oxygen and needle exchange. There are private clinics and hospitals in the West end and Ross Hall in the South Side of the city.


Glasgow is a major centre of higher and academic research, with four universities within ten miles of the city centre:

  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • University of the West of Scotland

There are also three further education colleges in the city: City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Clyde College and Glasgow Kelvin College. Higher education colleges in the city include Jordanhill Teacher Training College, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art. In 2011 Glasgow had 53,470 full-time students aged 18–74 resident in the city during term time, more than any other city in Scotland and the fifth-largest in the United Kingdom outside London. The majority of those who live away from home reside in Shawlands, Dennistoun and the West End of the city.

The Glasgow School of Art

The City Council operates twenty-nine secondary schools, 149 primary schools and three specialist schools- the Dance School of Scotland, Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow School of Sport| and the Glasgow Gaelic School (Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu), the only secondary school in Scotland to teach exclusively in Scottish Gaelic.

Outdoor Education facilities are provided by the city council at the Blairvadach Centre, near Helensburgh. Jordanhill School is operated directly by the Scottish Government. Glasgow also has a number of Independent schools, including Hutchesons' Grammar School founded in 1639 and one of the oldest school institutions in Britain, and others such as Craigholme School, Fernhill School, Glasgow Academy, Kelvinside Academy, St. Aloysius' College, Aloysius' College and The High School of Glasgow, which was founded in 1124 and is the oldest school in Scotland.


Football and Rugby

The world's first international Association Football match was held in 1872 at the West of Scotland Cricket Club's Hamilton Crescent ground in the Partick area of the city. The match, between Scotland’s national football team and England finished 0–0.

Glasgow is one of only four cities (along with Liverpool in 1985, Madrid in 1986 and Milan in 1994) to have had two football teams in European finals in the same season: in 1967 Celtic F.C. competed in the European Champion Clubs' Cup final with rivals Rangers F.C. competing in the UEFA Cup final. Rangers F.C. were the first football club from the UK to reach a European final, which they achieved in 1961. They have also won more domestic top tier league titles than any other football club in the world. Celtic F.C. were the first non-Latin club to win the European Cup, under the management of Jock Stein in 1967, before Manchester United F.C.| the following year.

Celtic F.C. were the first non-Latin club to win the European Cup, under the management of Jock Stein in 1967, before Manchester United F.C. the following year. Hampden Park, which is Scotland's national football stadium, holds the European record for attendance at a football match: 149,547. Hampden Park has hosted the final of the UEFA Champions League on three occasions, most recently in 2002 and hosted the UEFA Cup Final in 2007. Celtic Park (60,355 seats) is located in the east end of Glasgow, and Ibrox Stadium (50,987 seats) on the south side. Ibrox Stadium Is Scotland's only UEFA Elite Stadium.

Glasgow has three professional football clubs: Celtic F.C., Rangers and Partick Thistle F.C. a fourth club, Queen's Park F.C. are an amateur club who play in the [Scottish Football League Third Division. Prior to this, Glasgow had five other professional clubs: Clyde F.C. (a club which has since moved to Cumbernauld), [Third Lanark A.C., Cambuslang F.C. Cowlairs F.C. and Clydesdale F.C. (most of which have now folded). There are a number of Scottish Junior Football Association clubs within the city as well, such as Pollok F.C. Maryhill F.C. Benburb F. C. Ashfield F.C. and Petershill F.C. as well as countless numbers of amateur teams. The history and status of football in the city, attracts many visitors to football matches in the city throughout the season. The Scottish Football Association, the national governing body, and the Scottish Football Museum are based in Glasgow, as are the Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Junior Football Association and Scottish Amateur Football Association. The Glasgow Cup was a once popular tournament, now played by youth teams. As of 2013, the Scotland's football league structure underwent reconstruction, merging the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League into the Scottish Professional Football League for the 2013/14 season.

Glasgow has a professional Rugby Union club, the Glasgow Warriors, who play in the Heineken Cup alongside teams from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy. In the Scottish League, Glasgow Hawks RFC was formed in 1997 by the merger of two of Glasgow's oldest clubs: Glasgow Academicals and Glasgow High Kelvinside (GHK). Despite the merger, the second division teams of Glasgow Academicals and Glasgow High Kelvinside re-entered the Scottish rugby league in 1998. In the South Glasgow suburb of Giffnock is based another of Glasgow's most prominent clubs Glasgow Hutchesons Aloysians RFC (GHA). GHA was formed in 2002 with the merger of two of Glasgow's leading clubs at the time, Glasgow Southern RFC and Hutchesons' Aloysians RFC. Cartha Queen's Park play at Dumbreck.

Rugby league

The Easterhouse Panthers based in the East End of Glagow are a rugby league team who play in the Rugby League Conference Scotland Division. Scotstoun Stadium has also hosted many rugby league tournaments/events.

Ice hockey

The City of Glasgow has a number of ice rinks, and a temporary one is set up in George Square in the Christmas period. From 1966 to 1986, the Glasgow Dynamos played at Crossmyloof Ice Rink. Since October 2010 a team called the Braehead Clan based in the nearby Braehead Arena in Renfrewshire has played in the professional Elite Ice Hockey League alongside three other Scottish teams, the Fife Flyers, Dundee Stars and the Edinburgh Capitals. This is the first time that a top level ice hockey team has represented Glasgow.


The Arlington Baths

The Arlington Baths Club is the oldest swimming club in the world, founded in 1870. The Club in Arlington Street, in the Woodlands, area of the city is still thriving today. It is believed the Club's first Baths Master William Wilson invented water polo at the Club. The Arlington inspired other Swimming Clubs and the Western Baths, which opened in 1876, is also still in existence in nearby Hillhead]. Most of Glasgow's Victorian and Edwardian Municipal Pools, colloquially known as ‘Steamies’ have been closed or demolished, with the city council investing in large new leisure centres such as Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Gorbals and Bellahouston Swimming Centres. A Victorian swimming pool survives in council ownership in Woodside, in the West End- although it is currently closed for repairs. Govanhill Baths, in the city’s Southside, is subject to attempts at restoration by a community group.


Glasgow hosts Scotland's only professional basketball team, the Glasgow Rocks, who compete in the British Basketball League.

Other sports

Major international sporting arenas include the Kelvin Hall and Scotstoun Sports Centre. In 2003 the National Academy for Badminton was completed in Scotstoun. In 2003, Glasgow was also given the title of European Capital of Sport. Glasgow is also host to many cricket clubs including Clydesdale Cricket Club who have been title winners for the Scottish Cup many times.

Smaller sporting facilities include an abundance of outdoor playing fields, as well as golf clubs such as Haggs Castle and artificial ski slopes. Between 1998 and 2004, the Scottish Claymores, an American Football team, played some or all of their home games each season at Hampden Park. Glasgow Green and the Gorbals are home to a number of rowing clubs, some with open membership the rest belonging to universities or schools. Historically, rowing races on the River Clyde here attracted huge crowds of spectators to watch regattas in the late 19th century and early 20th century, before football caught the public imagination. Two of Glasgow's rowing clubs separately claim that it was their members who were among the founders of Rangers Football Club. Motorcycle speedway racing was first introduced to Glasgow in 1928 and is currently staged at Saracen Park in the North of the city. The home club, Glasgow Tigers (speedway)| compete in the British Premier League, the second tier of motorcycle speedway in Britain.

Glasgow is also one of five places in Scotland which hosts the final of the Scottish Cup of Shinty, better known as the Camanachd Cup. This is usually held at Old Anniesland. Once home to numerous Shinty clubs, there is now only one senior club in Glasgow, Glasgow Mid-Argyll, as well as two university sides.

2014 Commonwealth Games

On 9 November 2007, Glasgow was selected to be the host city of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The games will be based on a number of existing and newly constructed sporting venues across the city, including a refurbished Hampden Park, Kelvingrove Park, the Kelvin Hall, and the SSE Hydro at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. The opening ceremony will be held at Celtic Park. Facilities which have been improved for the Commonwealth Games include the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, as well as new facilities such as the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.