February 23, 2015
The Second City of the Empire
While Glasgow's history extends back millennia, the city truly rose to prominence when it became one of the focal points of Britain's industrial revolution. The close proximity of abundant iron and coal deposits in Lanarkshire, as well as the mighty Clyde, propelled the rise of world-leading ironworking and shipbuilding industries. Clydebuilt became an international benchmark for engineering qualilty and durability. Glasgow-forged ships and locomotives knitted together the disparate parts of Britain's global empire.
Construction under way on the foundations of Glasgow Central Station. Today the station overhangs a number of streets in the heart of Glasgow.
Policemen pose with their vehicles outside the Central Police Office on Turnbull Street. Today the building is derelict. Worker unrest at the height of the Great Depression led to riots and accusations of police brutality. This photo, the caption from Lost Glasgow speculates, may have been created as part of a public relations campaign.
Medium Mark C Tanks at the Cattle Market in Gallowgate. I was very pleased to find the building still stands, though it is derelict. In 1919 workers began striking for a 40 hour work week. Spooked by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and fearing spread of the communist contagion, the government ruthlessly quashed the strike. The tanks here were photographed just before they were unleashed on the workers of Glasgow.
The McLennan Arch on the Glasgow Green was originally built in 1796. It has since been relocated several times until arriving at it's current location at the park's west end.
In addition to the cone on Lord Wellington's head, a lot has changed in this picture of Royal Exchange Squareâ€”not necessarily for the better.
Tolbooth Steeple at Trongate. Constructed in the 1620s, this is one of Glasgow's oldest buildings. The building connected to the steeple was used as the city chambers until the 19th Century. It was finally demolished in 1921. It was also the site of public hangings.
An exotic rider passes through Glasgow Cross as part of a parade to promote the arrival of the Chipperfield Circus.
An early shot of Bridgegate. Most of the buildings here were demolished over a century ago and the area extensively redeveloped as a transportation corridor.
The Great Fire of 1909 that ripped through warehouses on Ingram Street. Firemen battling the blaze were almost crushed by the building's facade that collapsed into the road, as you can see here. Notice their headgear. Today only the building on the far left survives.
Ironically enough the great fire in the last photo was directly across the street from Glasgow Central Fire Station, pictured here. You can see the firemen posed on the running boards of their firetrucks, a hazardous and hair-raising way to ride to an emergency.
Looking north up Queen Street, this picture makes it plain just how much fashions have changed since the Victorian Era. The roof of Queen Street Station can be seen in the distance, but few other buildings remain from that time.
A small crowd stands around the Cenotaph commemorating the sacrifice of the 200,000 Glaswegians who served in the Great War. Behind are the City Chambers which contain the world's longest marble staircase, larger than the Vatican's.
The view down Buchanan Street, Glasgow's popular shopping street. The church spire dominates the skyline less than it once did.
This enormous building on Bothwell Street once housed the Victorian Gothic Christian Institute. In the 1970s the institute sold the building to developers who demolished it and put up the rather handsome modern office block we see today.
The Bostock Indoor Zoo in Cowcaddens once occupied the space to the left, now a large Chinese restaurant and pool hall. On the right is the Normal School.
The statue of Sir William Pearce in Govan, renowned for forging Fairfields Shipyards' global reputation for excellence and setting up the philanthropic Pearce Institute for his workers. On the right is the old Lyceum Theatre.
The little Clyde ferry motors across the river. The SCWS Building can be seen on the background, which is partially obscured today by the Kingston Bridge which was completed in 1970.
This was the best angle I could get for this shot. Crowds throng the Broomielaw to board paddle steamers bound "doon the watter" to resorts like Largs, Dunoon and Rothesay. Today the Clyde is quite tranquil in comparison.
Traffic on Glasgow Bridge in the 1910s. During the city's industrial heyday traffic congestion would clog both sides of all the bridges over the Clyde.
The giant Finnieston Crane loads a locomotive onto a ship. Thanks to the commenters I have now discovered I had the wrong position. The original photo was taken from the deck of a ship looking in the opposite direction. Though retired, this one surviving crane remains as a symbol of Glasgow's mighty industrial past. One of the last such cantilever cranes in the world, it was built in the 1920s and loaded locomotives onto ships dispatched to every corner of the empireâ€”and the world. By the end of the Second World War Glasgow's locomotive works were the largest in the world.