-George Square

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


George Square is regarded as the very centre of the city as this is the location of the City Chambers, Glasgow`s main public building.

The square was laid out in 1781, even though a few years later it was still being described as a `hollow, filled with green-water, and a favourite resort for drowning puppies, while the banks of this suburban pool were the slaughtering place of horses`. Large two- and three-storey houses were built around it between 1787 and the 1820s, but only the present-day hotel on the square`s northern side retains these early buildings. The square itself was given over to private gardens which only the privileged householders could use; this so annoyed other Glaswegians that its railings were torn down on several occasions. Later the council discovered (as an 1872 guide relates) `that the whole enclosure belonged to the public who had been so long excluded from it`.

The square was to achieve its pre-eminence when the city moved its centre westwards and the merchants and manufacturers who controlled the council wanted a lavishly decorated building and a grand civic space which reflected their position as leaders of `The Second City`.

During the Christmas period the square is ablaze with its decorations while, during the hottest part of the summer, office workers flock to the benches in a desperate bid to soak up some sunlight.

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

George Square, Glasgow`s main open space.

The square is dominated by the very grand City Chambers, the headquarters of the city council. The tall column in the centre of the square supports a statue of Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland`s greatest authors. Around the square are other statues of people, including Robert Burns, who have connections with the city.

The square is also used for large public gatherings, whether it is to see in the New Year or for public rallies or protests. The most famous demonstration here was on `Black Friday` (31 January 1919).

The Scotland Guide: links
All areas
Special subjects
Scotland Help
Glasgow Help

The Scotland Bookshop: links
The Scotland Bookshop homepage
Books about the whole of Scotland
Bookshop Help