Glasgow’s History in Brief


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When we arrived in 2016, Glasgow’s population was estimated to be around 600,000, with more than 1.2 million in the Greater Glasgow area.

It is the biggest city in Scotland and the third biggest in the UK after London and Birmingham. As proud Auswegians, we are in awe that we live in a city that had established trading routes to America and which had built many of its modern-day icons years before Britain had established penal colonies in Australia in the late 1770s.

There’s a lot to the Glasgow Story. The following information is but a sample of its rich history.

According to wiki, in around 500, Glasgow was little more than a farming village on the Molendinar burn, with a monastic church and cemetery.

In 612, Glasgow’s patron saint, St Mungo, was buried at the site of St Mungo’s Cathedral – known today as the Glasgow Cathedral. Saint Mungo, known for four miracles, appears in Glasgow’s coat of arms crest.

In 1286, the Glasgow Bridge was built, made of timber, and spanned the River Clyde. It was replaced by an arched stone bridge in 1410 and again in 1833 when it became the first in Glasgow to be lit by electricity.

In 1451, the University of Glasgow was founded. In 1870, it moved to the city’s west end, enclosed by a large meander of the River Kelvin. You can see the University’s tower overlooking Kelvingrove Park.

In 1568, the Battle of Langside was fought between the forces of Mary Queen of Scots and the Regent Moray and marked the Queen’s final defeat in Scotland.

In 1656, Glasgow was described as a “flourishing city” with “strong stone walls”.

In 1668, the land was purchased for a new harbour, which would later become Port Glasgow.

River Clyde Glasgow City
Glasgow City, Clyde River

In 1745, the Tennents Wellpark Brewery opened. Originally known as Drygate Brewery, it started producing Tennent’s Lager in 1885. Its pale lager accounts for approximately 60% of the Scottish lager market.

In 1752, Pollok House was built. Situated in Pollok Country Park on Glasgow’s South Side, it was given to the City of Glasgow in 1966.

In 1776, Adam Smith, a professor at Glasgow University, published Wealth of Nations.

In 1817, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in the West End were created. It features several glasshouses, the most notable of which is the Kibble Palace – a wrought iron framed glasshouse covering 2137 m2.

In 1832, the Glasgow Necropolis was established. Approximately 50,000 people have been buried here, and there are approximately 3,500 monuments. Not every grave has a stone.

Glasgow Cathedral

In 1842, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was opened, including the Glasgow Queen Street railway station. The Glasgow slums were also labelled the filthiest in Britain this year.

In 1848, Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton, 1st Baronet, was born in a tenement in Crown Street, Glasgow. A self-made man, merchant, and yachtsman. He engaged in extensive advertising for his chain of grocery stores and his brand of Lipton teas. He boasted that his secret to success was selling the best goods at the cheapest prices, harnessing the power of advertising, and always being optimistic.

In 1867, the Theatre Royal opened, now the oldest theatre in Glasgow.

In 1879, Glasgow Central Station was opened. With over 30 million passengers in 2015-16, Glasgow Central is the twelfth-busiest railway station in Britain and the busiest in Scotland.

In 1854, the Victoria Bridge was opened across the Clyde River from today’s Central Station.

In 1877, the Mitchell Library was established. The Mitchell Library also holds the Glasgow City Archives and collections, considered one of the world’s best resources for researching family history and is much used in the television series Who Do You Think You Are?

In 1883, the foundation stone was laid for the Glasgow City Chambers in George Square. It was opened in 1888.

In 1888, Glasgow hosted the International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry at Kelvingrove Park. One of the main exhibitors was Doulton & Co, who presented a massive terracotta Doulton Fountain to the city.

In 1890, the Doulton Fountain was moved to Glasgow Green. It remains the biggest fountain of its kind in the world.

Glasgow Green is the oldest park in the city. In 1745, it was once a campground for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army. In 1914, it hosted the anti-war movement mass demonstration under Nelson’s monument. In 1992, 65,000 people gathered to watch Michael Jackson perform live.

Charles Edward Stuart was known as the instigator of the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1745, in which he led an insurrection to restore his family to the throne of Great Britain, which ended in defeat at the Battle of Culloden, effectively ending the Jacobite cause.

A visit to Glasgow Green will give you access to the St. Andrew’s Suspension Bridge that crosses the River Clyde and the People’s Palace, which was opened in 1898.

Glasgow central train station
Glasgow Central Station

In 1896, the Glasgow Subway opened. It is the third-oldest underground metro system in the world after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro. It has 15 stations despite only running for 10.5km. While tourists may call it the “Clockwork Orange”, locals call it ‘the Subway’.

In 1901, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was established. It has since become the most visited museum outside of London, recording more than 1.26 million visitors in 2015.

In 1904, the King’s Theatre and the Pavilion Theatre were opened.

In 1931, the construction of the Finnieston Crane was completed. While it no longer works, it is one of only eleven giant cantilever cranes remaining worldwide. At 174 feet (53 m) tall with a 152 feet (46 m) cantilever jib, it has a lifting capacity of 175 tons and could perform a full rotation in three and a half minutes.

In 1942, Billy Connolly was born at 69 Dover Street, Glasgow, “on the linoleum, three floors up at six o’clock in the evening “.

In 1949, Mark Knopfler was born in Glasgow. Best known as lead guitarist for Dire Straits, he is one of the greater guitarists of all time.

In 1956, Jimmy Barnes was born James Dixon Swan in Glasgow. He moved to Australia with his parents at age 5 and became one of Australia’s most famous rock singer-songwriters, mostly under the Cold Chisel band. He met his wife in Canberra, Australia.

Also born in Glasgow in 1956 was Graeme Duffin. Musician, songwriter and record producer, he played the guitar for the Scottish pop band Wet, Wet, Wet. Wet is best known for their 1994 cover of The Troggs’ the 1960s hit “Love Is All Around“, which was used on the soundtrack to the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was a huge international success and spent 15 weeks atop the British charts.

  • Incidentally, this song was ‘our song’ when we first met as a couple. And Graeme’s wife, Pamela, is one of our property managers at Mac Flats, where we found our first Glasgow rental property.

In 1970, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened the Kingston Bridge for motor traffic.

In 1973, the Australian hard rock band AC/DC was formed. Three of its original members were born in Glasgow (Angus, Malcom and George) and moved to Sydney with family in 1963.

In 1997, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (known as the SEC Centre or the SECC) was established with the opening of the SEC Armadillo (also known as the Clyde Auditorium).

In 1999, the Lighthouse was opened. Formerly the Glasgow Herald Building, it has an uninterrupted view over the Glasgow cityscape. A state-of-the-art helical staircase suspended from the original water tower allows visitors to climb to the top of the tower to the external viewing gallery.

In 2001, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Glasgow Science Centre on the other side of the River Clyde as part of the redevelopment of the Pacific Quay. Today, its buildings include a Planetarium, the Glasgow Tower and an IMAX cinema.

In 2006, the Clyde Arc (previously known as the ‘Finnieston Bridge’ or ‘Squinty Bridge’) was opened to assist with the traffic congestion on the Kingston Bridge. The bridge has a main span of 96 m with two end spans of 36.5 m (total 169 m). The central navigation height at the mean water height is 5.4 m.

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown (who was also born in Glasgow) opened BBC Scotland‘s Pacific Quay Studios. The studios are adjacent to the Glasgow Science Centre and STV (formerly Scottish Television) and are across from the SECC.

In 2009, the Broomielaw-Tradeston pedestrian bridge (also known as the Tradeston or ‘Squiggly Bridge’) was opened. It’s only a 10-minute stroll between the SECC and the Glasgow Science Centre precinct.

In 2011, the Riverside Museum was established on the former site of the A. & J. Inglis Shipyard.

In 2013, the SECC was expanded with the opening of the SSE Hydro. The SSE Hydro (now called the Ovo Hydro) is the third-busiest music arena in the world, trumping Madison Square Garden for ticket sales in 2015.

In 2014, the city hosted the XX Commonwealth Games – ‘Glasgow 2014’.

In 2016, four Australians arrived in Glasgow to make it their new home.

In 2021, the four Aussies became permanent UK residents and still call Glasgow home.


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