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Classification and Statistics

Settlement Type: city
Population (2001): 629501    
(1991): 662954
(1981): 765029
(Combined with Baillieston, Bankhead, Burnside, Cambuslang, Carmunnock, Carmyle, Flemington, Fullarton, Millerston and Mount Vernon)
(1971): 897483
(1961): 1055017
(1951): 1089767
(1901): 622355
(Parliamentary Burgh)
(1891): 658198
(1881): 487985
(1871): 477732
(1861): 395503
(1851): 329096
(1841): 255650
(1831): 202426
(1821): 147043
(1811): 100749
(1801): 77385

Tourist Rating: Four Stars
Text of Entry Updated: 28-JUL-2014

Latitude: 55.8623°N Longitude: 4.2353°W
National Grid Reference: NS 602 655
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Located on the River Clyde, Scotland's most populous city is 44 miles (71 km) west of Edinburgh, 34 miles (55 km) north east of Ayr and 144 miles (232 km) south west of Aberdeen. The area of the city is 175.1 sq. km (43,243 acres), making it the 7th smallest of the 32 local government areas; its population has declined steadily since the 1950s but in 1997 it was still 36% larger than that of Edinburgh; and it is the third largest regional city in Britain. Glasgow was the headquarters of the former county of Lanarkshire until 1975 when it became the centre of Strathclyde Region (1975-1996).

Glasgow is built on a moderately hilly landscape formed by marine deposits and some 180 drumlins, most of which are north of the Clyde with their higher sides to the north west and their 'tails' to the south-east. Its geology also includes large amounts of coal and iron ore though today the total area is primarily developed for urban use (77%) with little than 15% occupying open countryside, the smallest proportion of the 32 councils areas. Glasgow's climate, like much of the west of Scotland, is usually cloudier, slightly warmer and much wetter than the rest of Scotland.

The city was extended several times to take in nearby villages and neighbourhoods. The main additions were in 1846 when Anderston, Bridgeton, Calton, Gorbals, Kelvingrove and Woodside were added to the city, in 1891 when Govanhill, Hillhead, Kelvinside, Maryhill and Pollokshields were included and in 1912 when Cathcart, Govan, Partick and Pollokshaws entered the city boundaries. Post-World War Two planning initiatives involved the creation of numerous council-owned high-rise flats on the city's outskirts, the renewal of city-centre housing and the Glasgow Overspill plan which moved several hundred thousand people to nearby New Towns, such as East Kilbride, Cumbernauld and Irvine.

Glasgow began as a religious centre with a monastery built by St Kentigern (also known as St. Mungo) in the 6th Century. During the 12th century the town became a burgh (c.1190), gained a cathedral (consecrated 1197) and an archbishopric. It became an educational centre with the founding of the University of Glasgow (1451).

The town remained small by Scottish standards, in 1649 it became the country's fourth largest burgh but by 1670 it was the second largest, behind Edinburgh. Its position was ideal for access to Edinburgh, the Highlands and Ireland, and its wealth grew through a ready supply of natural resources (coal and fish). It was not suited to European trade but grew during the 17th and 18th centuries through the Atlantic trade (tobacco and, to some extent, slaves) and through the rise of manufacturing (e.g., soap-making, distilling, glass-making, sugar and textiles). Textile production used coal in steam-driven cotton mills and power-loom factories; other industries included bleaching, dyeing and fabric printing.

By the early 19th century Glasgow was the second city of the Empire but endured many of the side effects of industrial growth (social deprivation, infant mortality). With its growing importance, Glasgow attracted a large number of immigrants (Irish, Jewish, Italian and East European) who contributed greatly to the economy and local community.

The economic base of the city shifted to heavy industry in the late 19th century with the expansion of shipbuilding and engineering, which, susceptible to economic downturns, resulted in Glasgow being classed as a "depressed area" in the 1930s.

In the 1970s many city centre buildings were destroyed to make room for motorways yet much of the city escaped intact and Glasgow was awarded the status of European City of Architecture and Design in 1999. It has also been the European City of Culture (1990) and founded a long running community campaign under the slogan 'Glasgow's Miles Better'.

Glasgow grew in the 19th and 20th centuries through textiles, coal, iron, steel, shipbuilding, engineering, chemical works, brewing, and by making paper, china and glass. Much of the city's heavy engineering and shipbuilding closed in the 1960s and 1970s and today it is primarily a service economy. The largest areas of growth have been in banking, finance and 'business services'; distribution, hotels and restaurants; energy and water; and public administration, education, and health. Other areas of strength predicted for the future include retail, telephone services, software, tourism and media. The city has three universities: the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, and Glasgow Caledonian University.
References and Further Reading
Allison, Arthur, at. al. (eds.) (2004) The Glasgow Story.
Daiches, David (1977) Glasgow. Andre Deutsch, London
Devine, T.M. and Gordon Jackson (eds.) (1995) Glasgow. Vol. I: Beginnings to 1830. Manchester University Press
Doak, A.M. and Andrew McLaren Young (eds.) (1977) Glasgow at a Glance. Robert Hale Limited, London
Fisher, Joe (1994) The Glasgow Encyclopedia. Mainstream, Edinburgh
Fraser, W. Hamish and Irene Maver (eds.) (1996) Glasgow. Vol. II: 1830-1912. Manchester University Press
Gibb, Andrew (1983) Glasgow. The making of a city. Croom Helm, London
Lawson, Judith (1981) Building Stones of Glasgow. Geological Society of Glasgow
MacDougall, Carl (1990) Glasgow's Glasgow: The Words and The Stones. Glasgow
McConnell, Rodger and Stuart Gulliver (1998) Glasgow's Renewed Prosperity. Glasgow's economic position statement. Glasgow City Council / Glasgow Development Agency
McKean, Charles, David Walker and Frank Walker (1989) Central Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Edinburgh
Pacione, Michael (1995) Glasgow: the socio-spatial development of the city. Wiley, Chichester
Reed, Peter (ed.) (1993) Glasgow: The Forming of the City. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh
Rodger, Johnny (1999) Contemporary Glasgow: The Architecture of the 1990s. The Rutland Press, Edinburgh
Small, Sam (2008) Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Edinburgh
Smart, Aileen (1996) Villages of Glasgow: Volume 2 (South of the Clyde). John Donald Publishers Ltd., Edinburgh
Smart, Aileen (2002) Villages of Glasgow: North of the Clyde. John Donald Publishers Ltd., Edinburgh
Teggin, Harry, Ian Samuel, Alan Stewart and David Leslie (1988) Glasgow Revealed. Heritage Books (Scotland) Ltd
Walker, Frank Arneil (1992) Phaidon Architecture Guide: Glasgow. Phaidon Press Limited, London
Williamson, Elizabeth, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs (eds.) (1990) The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow. Penguin, London

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