A Brief History of Glasgow
The City of Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third most populous centre in the United Kingdom.
In the 18th Century it became an important trading centre with the West Indies and North America. This contributed to the wealth of the city and helped in the construction of many fine buildings in the City.
During the Industrial Revolution it became a major ship-building and heavy engineering centre and in the 19th Century was known as the ‘Second City of the British Empire’ after London.
20th Century Glasgow
In the 20th Century the City suffered a decline, but in the late 1980’s it managed to reverse this with the opening of the Burrell Collection in 1983 and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in 1985. Glasgow became a European centre for business services and finance and the economy started growing again.
This has resulted in regeneration of inner-city areas, including the Clyde Waterfront Regeneration and development of the Merchant City which has encouraged people to move back to the City.
Area Around Glasgow Green
Today, however we are going to visit the buildings around Glasgow Green in the East End of the City. Firstly, we will admire the Doulton Fountain which dates back to back to 1880.This was gifted to the city by Sir Henry Doulton and first unveiled in Kelvingrove Park in 1888, where the Empire Exhibition was being held. The fountain was then moved to Glasgow Green in 1890 before being re-sited to outside the People’s Palace in Glasgow Green.
The Doulton Fountain is the largest terracotta fountain in the world and the best surviving example of its kind. It was designed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee of 1887, and celebrate Britain’s Imperial achievements. The fountain is decorated with images representing Australia, Canada, India and South Africa.
Queen Victoria stands at the top of the Fountain facing the People’s Palace and looking towards the River Clyde and the Gorbals area of the City.
Australia was another important country in the British Empire and is represented by the figures below.
Below the statue of Queen Victoria are some beautiful statues of young women.
In the first photograph of the Fountain a beautiful building can be seen in the background on the left. Was it the mansion of a wealthy Glasgow merchant? Or a townhouse of a member of the Royal Family? No – it was a carpet factory!
Templeton Carpet Factory or Doge’s Palace
This building was originally called the Templeton Carpet Factory or sometimes by its alternative name of ‘The Doge’s Palace’ due to the Venetian style of the building. It is now known as the Templeton Business Centre. It was built in 1889 and was designed by architect William Leiper.
The owner of the factory, James Templeton, had patented a chenille Axminster process which allowed him to manufacture carpets which were more densely patterned and richly coloured. He went on to become one of the most successful carpet manufacturers in Britain and produced carpets for state occasions, great houses, luxury liners including the ‘Titanic’, as well as carpets for domestic use.
Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, the Whitehouse, coronations since the mid-19th century and the parliament buildings of London, Canberra, Wellington and Cape Town all had carpets made by Templeton or another Scottish carpet manufacturer, Stoddart.
Below are some other views of the factory.
Close-up of the end part of the factory.
The building is no longer used as a factory but as office buildings by many companies in the city.
People’s Palace and Winter Gardens
Across from both the Doulton fountain and Templeton’s Carpet factory is the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens which was built to represent the people and culture of Glasgow. It is situated in Glasgow Green where Bonnie Prince Charlie camped there with 10,000 troops in 1745 during the Jacobite Uprising.
Glasgow Rangers played their football matches at Glasgow Green before moving to their present home in the Ibrox area of the city in 1899.
The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens were opened on 22 January, 1898 by the Earl of Rosebery. At the time, the East End of Glasgow was one of the most unhealthy and overcrowded parts of the city, and the People’s Palace was intended to provide a cultural centre for the people. It was designed by the City Engineer, Alexander B. McDonald.
The People’s Palace has many items on display relating to the social history of Glasgow and Scotland while the Winter Gardens has many exotic plants and trees including some banana trees. It is much smaller than the Botanic Gardens in the affluent West End of the City, but is nevertheless an impressive building.
Some full sized and miniature banana trees can be found here.
Some beautiful flowers are also grown, including this one:
It is worth spending time at the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens for an insight into the social history of Glasgow.
On cold winter days, the heat in the Winter Gardens is very welcome during a walk on Glasgow Green. On the day I visited there was a cold wind blowing but lovely and warm in the Winter Gardens.
I hope you enjoyed the article above. I will be continuing my articles on the City of Glasgow in the next few weeks, working my way from East to West of the City.
People’s Palace and Winter Gardens
Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1AT
0141 276 0788
People’s Palace: Monday CLOSED, Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday 10am–5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am–5pm. The Winter Gardens is open 10am–5pm daily