-Botanic Gardens

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


There has been a long history of botanic gardens in the city, with the first being the Physic Garden (1705) in the Old College. In 1817 gardens were established near Sauchiehall Street by the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow which had strong links with Glasgow University; indeed, much of their success was due to Sir William Hooker (1785-1865), the Professor of Botany. However, the rapid industrialisation of that area made the site unsuitable and in 1839 this plot of land in the West End was purchased and the glasshouses and plants were transferred.

It soon became a popular place with West Enders and in 1854 Hugh Macdonald noted that `During the season, these spacious and well-conducted gardens are generally largely attended by the rank and fashion of our city`. The Institution was a private body and the gardens were for the benefit of the members, but the general public were allowed in on Saturdays for one shilling and on occasions the gardens were `thrown open to the Working Classes on the payment of one penny each`.

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

A sunny summer day. The Kibble Palace glasshouse is on the right; the main glasshouse is top left.

In the 1870s the Kibble Palace was brought here but by the 1880s the Institution was very short of money and in 1887 Glasgow Corporation took the gardens over, even though they were outside the city`s boundary. It was opened as a park in 1891 and since then the essential purposes of the gardens have been maintained, the links with the university are strong and they act as an important reference collection (all the plants are tagged with their Latin names).
List of Botanic Gardens articles:
Botanic Gardens

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