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Glasgow, Scotland

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Glasgow redirects here. For other uses, see Glasgow (disambiguation).

Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, located on the River Clyde in the southwest of Scotland. It is also one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, officially known as City of Glasgow. Glasgow has a population of 618,400 (1996 est). The name is reputed to be based on the expression Glas cu meaning "dear green place". It is popularly referred to as "Glesga" by Glaswegians who are known as "keelies" by other Scots. Other Scots are known as "teuchters" by the keelies, particularly if they are from places north of the city.
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Coat of arms

The coat of arms shows Glasgow's patron saint, Saint Kentigern also known as Saint Mungo, and includes four emblems - the bird, tree, bell, and fish. Children are taught to remember the arms using the following verse:
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

Art and Architecture

Glasgow has an impressive heritage of Victorian architecture, the Glasgow City Chambers, the main building of the University of Glasgow, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and the Glasgow School of Art[?], designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, being outstanding examples. Another architect who has had a great and enduring impact on the city's appearance was Alexander Thompson[?] who produced a distinctive architecture based on fundamentalist classicism that gave him the nickname "Greek". He was described as a "quiet, stay-at-home Victorian behind whose buttoned-up facade there seethed a kind of stylistic corsair who plundered the past for the greater glory of the present"

The buildings reflect the wealth and self confidence of the residents of the "second city of the Empire". There is even a building facing Glasgow Green, originally a carpet factory, which was designed as a replica of the Doge's Palace in Venice. It doesn't look out of place in Glasgow. The wealth came from the industries that developed from the Industrial Revolution. The shipyards, marine engineering, steel making, and heavy industry[?] all contributed to the growth of the city. At one time the expression "Clyde-built" was synonymous with quality and engineering excellence.

Of course, there was another side to the picture. The beautiful buildings were built with red or gold sandstone but after a few years those colours had disappeared under a pervasive black layer of soot and pollutants from the furnaces. There were other buildings. Tenements were built to house the workers who migrated from Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, the islands and the country areas to feed the insatiable need for labour. Some of these developed into the infamous Glasgow slums.

In recent years many of these buildings have been cleaned and restored to their original appearance. Others were demolished and the residents rehoused in new housing estates around the city. Many people feel that this has been less than successful as many of the "schemes" were heartless dormitories well away from the centre of the city with no amenities, and which split up long established community relationships. Over time many have become as bad as the slum areas that they replaced.

Modern buildings in Glasgow include the Glasgow Science Centre[?] and the Royal Concert Hall[?]. Along the banks of the Clyde is the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, and shopping centres include the Buchanan Galleries, the glass pyramid of the St Enoch Centre, and the upmarket Princes Square.


The city is blessed with amenities which cover a wide range of cultural activities, from curling to opera and from football to art appreciation.

Glasgow boasts a fine selection of museums that include those devoted to transport, religion, and modern art. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum[?] has an excellent collection of paintings including many old masters, French Impressionists etc. The Hunterian Museum[?] at Glasgow University has the best collection of Whistler paintings in the world. The Burrell Collection[?] is an eclcetic collection of art and antiquities donated to the city by William Burrell[?](although sometimes acquired by him in dubious title, in colonial times.) It is housed in a museum situated in the Pollok Country Park[?]. The People's Palace[?] museum reflects the history of the city and its people.

Glasgow has a number of parks and open spaces that give the city places to "breathe". Among these are:

The city was host to the two Great Exhibitions of 1881 and 1901. More recently it was European Capital of Culture 1990, National City of Sport 1995-1999, UK City of Architecture and Design 1999 and European Capital of Sport[?] 2003


Glasgow is home to Scotland's largest football stadiums: Celtic Park[?] (60,000+); Ibrox[?] (50,000+); and Hampden Park[?] (50,000+), which is Scotland's National football stadium. Glasgow has four senior football clubs, Rangers and Celtic, who together make the Old Firm, and Partick Thistle and Queen's Park[?]. Clyde[?] and Third Lanark[?] used to be two other senior football clubs in the city.

There are major international sporting arenas, such as Kelvin Hall[?] and Scotstoun[?] Sports Centres. In 2003 the National Academy for Badminton was completed in Scotstoun.

Religious rivalry

Some religious rivalry still exists in certain sectors of the population. The sporting rivalry between the supporters of Celtic and Rangers can have an underlying religious basis for some people. Supporters of Celtic are drawn from the Roman Catholic community, and Rangers supporters are generally non-Catholics. At Celtic Park[?], the national Flag of Ireland has a place of honour and at Ibrox Park[?], it is the Union Jack.The Orangemen of Glasgow (members of the Protestant Orange Lodges), parade annually through the city, playing flutes and drums, singing songs which are seen as provocative by some. Most people view this as an irrelevant throwback to more intolerant times and less liberal views, and the size of these parades seems to be dwindling over the years.

Glasgow has constantly had a ferment of new incoming religious groups, Jews, Highlanders, Irish Catholics, and more recently asylum seekers, from a multiplicity of faiths. Most young professional people see this as an enrichment and revitalising of the city, and regard bigotry as a dark but distant part of this vibrant and modern city's history.


Glasgow people have a unique sense of humour, and strong loyalty to their own city. The Glasgow Patter[?] is a brand of local humorous dialect which is hilarious to those who understand it, usually only natives of the city.

Billy Connolly has done a lot to make Glaswegian humour accessible to the rest of the world but, inevitably, it loses something in translation. In fact Glaswegian is a rich and vital living dialect which gives a true reflection of the city with all its virtues and its unattractive features. It is more than an alternative pronunciation; words also change their meaning eg "away" can means "leaving" as in 'Ah'm away", an instruction to stop being a nuisance as in "away wi ye", or drunk as in "he's away wi' it". "Cannae" means "can't", "Canny" means "careful". "Pieces" refers to "snacks", normally slices of bread. Then there are words that appear to have no obvious relationship to standard English, words like "coupon" which means "face". Other words can be a bit more obvious, a "Billy Boy" is a Protestant, a supporter of William of Orange. A Catholic on the other hand is a "left footer". The names are not complimentary but they are not necessarily pejorative either. An example of the dialect which comes from an anonymous lament by a housing scheme resident for the remembered joys of life in the city before being rehoused in one of the "deserts with windows" that were the schemes:

where are the weans that once played in the street,
wi a jorrie, a peerie and gird wi' a cleat,
can they still codge a hudgie or dreep aff the dyke,
play haunch cuddy haunch, kick the can an' the like?


Glasgow is also a major education centre with universities such as Glasgow University ( which has one ofthe highest ratios of students who continue living at home) and the University of Strathclyde, teacher training colleges, teaching hospitals and a range of technical colleges.

Areas of Glasgow include:

North of the river: Dalmuir[?], Clydebank[?], Knightswood[?],
Bearsden[?], Milngavie, Jordanhill, Summerston[?], Maryhill, Partick,
Bishopbriggs, Balornock[?], Millerston[?], Lenzie[?], Chryston[?],
Gartcosh[?], Dennistoun[?], Springboig[?], Easterhouse[?], Tollcross, Birkenshaw[?], and Uddingston[?].

South of the river: Braehead, Renfrew[?], Linwood[?]
Millikenpark[?], Johnstone[?], Paisley, Glenburn[?],
Cardonald, Pollok[?], Barrhead[?], Nitshill, Thornliebank[?],
Govan, Gorbals, Govanhill[?], Pollokshaws[?], Cathcart[?], Giffnock[?],
Rutherglen, Castlemilk[?], Bothwell[?] and Cambuslang[?].

Underground: Circle Line (10 km), nicknamed Clockwork Orange, built in 1896 (one of the oldest metros in the world), see Glasgow Underground (http://www.metropla.net/eu/gla/glasgow.htm)

See also:
Glasgow City Chambers

External links

History of Glasgow's West End (http://pike.colloquium.co.uk/~GLASGOWWEST/history.htm)
Redevelopment of the Gorbals (http://www.glasgowwestend.co.uk/out/outdoors/thegorbals)
Glasgow City Council (http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/html/about/aindex.htm)
Scottish vernacular dictionary (http://www.firstfoot.com/php/glossary/phpglossar_0.8/index.php)
Glasgow Museums (http://www.glasgowmuseums.com/index.cfm)

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