-Glasgow Green
-its place in Glasgow politics

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


Glasgow Green`s present layout was generally established in 1815-26; as much of the land was subject to flooding this involved raising the ground level and providing good drainage. However, in the mid-nineteenth century the threat of extensive coalmining became a real possibility as a means of raising money for the council`s plan to build West End Park (now Kelvingrove Park) in the prosperous western suburbs. The fight to save the Green was even put to verse in the poem Airn John (1858), addressed to Councillor John McDowall who wished to lease the mineral rights:

If ye maun sink a pit, John.
Sink it in George`s Square,
Or sink it in the Crescents John,
Amang the rich folk there,
An` they`ll be highly pleased, John,
To see sic noble wark,
Gaun on amang thesel`s, John,
To pay the west-end park.

Other threats to the Green, including proposals to drive railways and motorways through it, have also been fought against in the last hundred years or so. During one recent dispute, a decision of the council dating from 1576 was quoted in defence of the Green`s integrity: na mair pairt or portioun of the commoun muris sal be in na tymes cuming set nor gevin in few to ony persoun or persones, bot to ly still in communitie to the weill of the haill tounschip.

The Green has many connections with the people`s struggle for reforms and justice and in the 1830s, during the agitation for electoral reform, large Chartist demonstrations took place here. In many ways, the Green was similar to London`s Hyde Park Corner, with religious and political speakers entertaining weekend crowds with their oratory. Temperance, trade union rights, women`s rights and all manner of causes were espoused and hotly debated.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

A lampstandard outside the People`s Palace is decorated with the city`s coat of arms, a reminder that the Green has been involved in many political events over the centuries.

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Glasgow Green

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