-the mid twentieth century

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


After the First World War, with Britain`s position in the world undergoing tremendous changes, new types of building were introduced into the city. Some architects drew inspiration from cities such as Chicago and a number of Glasgow`s commercial buildings, such as the massive Scottish Legal Life Assurance Society Building (1927-31) on Bothwell Street, reflect this American influence.

Important changes were also taking place on the outskirts of the city and in the 1920s and 1930s Glasgow continued to annexe new areas, many of which were used for houses. These were often relatively small buildings, thus allowing low population densities, and they were quite different from the traditional tenements of the older parts of the city.

As the middle decades of the century passed, and with the Depression and the Second World War taking its toll of the city`s once-proud role as The Second City, the fabric of the city slowly but surely deteriorated. As in the nineteenth century, many of the old tenement areas became slums and, as had occurred one hundred years previously, wholescale demolition was undertaken.

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

Slum clearance taking place in 1974, with tall multistorey blocks of flats replacing poor-quality tenements in north Glasgow.
The Comprehensive Development Areas of the 1950s and 1960s were very ambitious attempts to revitalise many of the older parts of Glasgow, and at the same time huge new housing schemes were built on farmland well outside the traditional limits of the city. `Deserts wi` windaes` was how the Glasgow comedian Billy Connolly described these new areas on the city`s outskirts. Tall skyscraper blocks of flats were erected in some of these new communities, as well as in the older (and newly redeveloped) parts of the city; the dominating height of these tall structures has radically changed the overall appearance of the city.
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The early twentieth century
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