Glasgow Green

Drinking Fountain, Glasgow Green
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Drinking Fountain, Glasgow Green

Lying on the north bank of the River Clyde, Glasgow Green extends from Saltmarket in the west to Bridgeton in the east. To the north of the Green lies the Barras and an area known as the Calton. An area of common land, Glasgow Green was sold by the city during the 16th and 17th centuries to alleviate the City's debt, only to be bought back during the 18th Century. Since the late 18th century it has remained at its present size of 55 ha (136 acres) and today represents Britain's oldest public park. More a functional space than an ornate parkland, the Green has been used for grazing cattle, washing and drying of clothes, and continues to be used for recreation and as a locus for speeches and demonstrations. The World Pipe Band Championships take place on the Green annually in August. The Drying Green remains with Victorian cast-iron clothes poles, which served nearby public wash-houses and were still used until the 1970s. Its western entrance is dominated by the McLennan Arch, while within the park sits the Doulton Fountain, the Collins Fountain and the 44-m (144-foot) tall Nelson's Obelisk. On the northwestern edge of the park are the People's Palace and the Templeton Business Centre.

James Stuart, the Earl of Moray (1531-70), assembled his troops here prior to the Battle of Langside. Bonnie Prince Charlie camped his troops here during the winter of 1745, while demanding supplies from the city fathers of Glasgow. In 1765, James Watt (1736 - 1819) is said to have been inspired to build his steam engine during a stroll on the Green and he is remembered by two memorials here (a statue dating from 1936 and a boulder marking the supposed spot of his inspiration, unveiled in 1965). The mill-owner and social reformer David Dale (1739 - 1806) built an opulent mansion at the foot of Charlotte Street, overlooking the Green and lived here until 1799.

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