George Square

George Square, Glasgow
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

George Square, Glasgow

Originally laid out in 1801 to plans by James Barry, George Square is situated in the heart of Glasgow with the City Chambers on its eastern side and Queen Street Station on its northwestern corner. It forms the main 'open space' in the City Centre and was named after King George III. It is home to statues of General Sir John Moore (1761 - 1809; dating from 1819, by John Flaxman and the first to be installed in the Square), author Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832), politicians Sir Robert Peel (1788 - 1850), William Gladstone (1809-98) and James Oswald (1779 - 1853), Prince Albert (1819-61), poets Robert Burns (1759-96) and Thomas Campbell (1777 - 1844), Field Marshal Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, (1792 - 1863), chemist Dr. Thomas Graham (1805-69), inventor James Watt (1736 - 1819) and Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901), the only female. The city's war memorial lies on the eastern side of the Square, in front of the City Chambers, and was unveiled by Field Marshall Earl Haig in 1924.

Originally set out with grassed areas, plant beds and trees, it has been redesigned with most of the flora removed and replaced with red tarmac such that Glaswegians refer to it as "Red Square". The Square has been the focal point of many demonstrations over the years, including those of the 'Red Clydesiders'. In 1919, a demonstration by thousands of strikers in support of a reduced working week turned violent and became known as the Battle of George Square. Fearing this was the start of a Bolshevik-style revolution, the Government responded by ordering 10,000 soldiers onto the streets of Glasgow - the biggest ever peace-time deployment of troops at home.

The Square underwent a remarkable transition in 2011 to become the US city of Philadelphia as a set for the £80-million blockbuster film World War Z starring Brad Pitt. Street signs were changed and American vehicles imported for the production which involved hundreds of local extras and was estimated to bring £2 million into the local economy.

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