Clockwise from top-left: View of Glasgow Science Centre, Duke of Wellington statue outside Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square, cityscape view from The Lighthouse, Gilbert Scott Building of University of Glasgow, Finnieston Crane, Glasgow City Chambers
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom. At the 2011 census, it had a population density of 8,790 per square mile (3,390/km2), the highest of any Scottish city. It is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as Glaswegians.
Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become one of the largest seaports in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major centre of theScottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineeringindustry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, although many cities argue the title was theirs. Today it is one of Europe's top ten financial centres and is home to many of Scotland's leading businesses. Glasgow is also ranked as the 57th most liveable city in the world.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew in population, eventually reaching a peak of 1,128,473 in 1939. In the 1960s, comprehensive urban renewal projects resulting in large-scale relocation of people to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, have reduced the current population of the City of Glasgow council area to 592,000, with 1,199,629 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers about 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland's population. Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In other sports, Glasgow is also well known for the football rivalry of the Old Firm between Celtic and Rangers.
The present site of Glasgow has been used since prehistoric times for settlement, being the furthest downstream fording point of the River Clyde, at the point of its confluence with the Molendinar Burn. After the Romans left Caledonia, the settlement was part of the extensive Kingdom of Strathclyde, with its capital at Dumbarton 15 mi (24 km) downstream, which merged in the 9th century with other regions to create the united Kingdom of Scotland. The origins of Glasgow as an established city derive ultimately from its medieval position as Scotland's second largest bishopric. Glasgow increased in importance during the 10th and 11th centuries as the site of this bishopric, reorganised by King David I of Scotland and John, Bishop of Glasgow.
There had been an earlier religious site established by Saint Mungo in the 6th century. The bishopric became one of the largest and wealthiest in the Kingdom of Scotland, bringing wealth and status to the town. Between 1175 and 1178 this position was strengthened even further when Bishop Jocelin obtained for the episcopal settlement the status of Burgh from King William I of Scotland, allowing the settlement to expand with the benefits of trading monopolies and other legal guarantees. Sometime between 1189 and 1195 this status was supplemented by an annual fair, which survives as the Glasgow Fair.
Glasgow grew over the following centuries, the first bridge over the River Clyde at Glasgow was recorded from around 1285, giving its name to the Briggait area of the city, forming the main North-South route over the river via Glasgow Cross. The founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451 and elevation of thebishopric to become the Archdiocese of Glasgow in 1492 served to increase the town's religious and educational status, and landed wealth. Its early trade was in agriculture, brewing and fishing, with cured salmon and herring being exported to Europe and the Mediterranean.
Following the Reformation and with the encouragement of the Convention of Royal Burghs the 14 Incorporated Trade Crafts federated as the Trades House in 1605 to match the power and influence in the Town Council of the earlier Merchants Guilds who established their Merchants House in the same year. Glasgow was subsequently raised to the status of Royal Burgh in 1611. Glasgow's substantial fortunes came from international trade, manufacturing and invention starting in the 17th century with sugar, followed by tobacco, and then cotton and linen.
Daniel Defoe visited the city in the early 18th century and famously opined in his book A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, that Glasgow was "the cleanest and beautifullest, and best built city in Britain, London excepted." At that time, the city's population numbered about 12000, and was yet to undergo the massive expansionary changes to the city's economy and urban fabric, brought about by the influences of the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.
Although the Glasgow Corporation had been a pioneer in the municipal socialist movement from the late 19th century, since the Representation of the People Act 1918, Glasgow increasingly supportedLeft-wing ideas and politics at a national level. The city council has been controlled by the Labour Party for over 30 years, since the decline of the Progressives.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and German Revolution of 1918–1919, the city's frequent strikes and militant organisations caused serious alarm at Westminster, with one uprising in January 1919 prompting the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George to deploy 10,000 troops and tanks onto the city's streets. A huge demonstration in the city's George Square on 31 January ended in violence after the Riot Act was read.
Since 2007 when local government elections in Scotland began to use the single transferable voterather than first-past-the-post system, the dominance of the Labour party within the city has declined (though it remains one of only two local authorities - along with North Lanarkshire, where Labour maintains an outright majority over the other parties)
Industrial action at the shipyards gave rise to the "Red Clydeside" epithet. During the 1930s, Glasgow was the main base of the Independent Labour Party. Towards the end of the 20th century it became a centre of the struggle against the poll tax, and then the main base of the Scottish Socialist Party, a left-wing party in Scotland. The city has not had a Conservative MP since the 1982 Hillhead by-election, when the SDP took the seat, which was in Glasgow's wealthiest area. The resultant general political bias against the Conservative party continued and currently they have only 1 of the 79 councillors on Glasgow City Council, despite having been the controlling party (as the Progressives) from 1969-1972 when Sir Donald Liddle was the last non-Labour Lord Provost.
Glasgow is home to a variety of theatres including the King's Theatre, the Theatre Royal and the Citizens Theatre and is home to many municipal museums and art galleries, the most famous being the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and the Burrell Collection. Most of the museums in Glasgow are publicly owned and free to enter.
The city has hosted many exhibitions over the years, including being the UK City of Architecture 1999, European Capital of Culture 1990, National City of Sport 1995–1999 and European Capital of Sport 2003. Glasgow has also hosted the National Mod no less than twelve times since 1895.
In addition, unlike the older and larger Edinburgh Festival (where all Edinburgh's main festivals occur in the last three weeks of August), Glasgow's festivals fill the calendar. Festivals include the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Glasgow International Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections, Glasgow Fair, Glasgow Film Festival, West End Festival, Merchant City Festival, Glasgay, and theWorld Pipe Band Championships.
Glasgow is a city of significant religious diversity. The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church are the two largest Christian denominations in the city. There are 147 congregations in the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Glasgow (of which 104 are within the city boundaries, the other 43 being in adjacent areas such as Giffnock) The city has four Christian cathedrals: Glasgow Cathedral, of the Church of Scotland; St Andrew's Cathedral, of the Roman Catholic Church; St Mary's Cathedral, of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and St Luke's Cathedral, of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Biblical unitarians are represented by three Christadelphian ecclesias, referred to geographically, as "South", "Central" and "Kelvin".
The Sikh community is served by 4 Gurdwaras. Two are situated in the West End (Central Gurdwara Singh Sabhain Finnieston and Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Kelvinbridge) and two in the Southside area of Pollokshields (Guru Granth Sahib Gurdwara and Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara). In 2013, Scotland's first purpose-built Gurdwara opened in a massive opening ceremony. Built at a cost of £3.8m it can hold 1500 worshippers. Central Gurdwara is currently constructing a new building in the city. There are almost 10,000 Sikhs in Scotland and the majority live in Glasgow.
Glasgow Central Mosque in the Gorbals district is the largest mosque in Scotland and, along with twelve other mosques in the city, caters for the city's Muslim population, estimated to number 33,000.
Glasgow also has a Hindu Mandir,
Glasgow has seven synagogues with the seventh largest Jewish population in the United Kingdom after London, Manchester, Leeds, Gateshead,Brighton and Bournemouth, but once had a Jewish population second only to London, estimated at 20,000 in the Gorbals alone.
In 1993, the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art opened in Glasgow. It is believed to be the only public museum to examine all the world's major religious faiths.
Glasgow is known for its tenements - the red (or blonde) sandstone buildings are one of the most recognisable signatures of the city. These were the most popular form of housing in 19th- and 20th-century Glasgow and remain the most common form of dwelling in Glasgow today. Tenements are commonly bought by a wide range of social types and are favoured for their large rooms, high ceilings and original period features. The Hyndland area of Glasgow is the only tenement conservation area in the UK and includes some tenement houses with as many as six bedrooms.
Like many cities in the UK, Glasgow witnessed the construction of high-rise housing in tower blocks in the 1960s, along with large overspill estates on the periphery of the city, in areas like Pollok, Nitshill, Castlemilk, Easterhouse, Milton and Drumchapel. These were built to replace the decaying inner-city tenement buildings originally built for workers who migrated from the surrounding countryside, the Highlands, and the rest of the United Kingdom, particularly Ireland, to feed local demands for labour. The massive demand outstripped new building and many, originally fine, tenements often became overcrowded and unsanitary. Many degenerated into the infamous Glasgow slums, such as the Gorbals.
Efforts to improve this housing situation, most successfully with the City Improvement Trust in the late 19th century, cleared the slums of the old town areas such as the Trongate, High Street and Glasgow Cross. Subsequent urban renewal initiatives, such as those motivated by the Bruce Report, entailed the comprehensive demolition of slum tenement areas, the development of new towns on the periphery of the city, and the construction of tower blocks.
The policy of tenement demolition is now considered to have been short-sighted, wasteful and largely unsuccessful. Many of Glasgow's worst tenements were refurbished into desirable accommodation in the 1970s and 1980s and the policy of demolition is considered to have destroyed many fine examples of a "universally admired architectural" style. The Glasgow Housing Association took ownership of the housing stock from the city council on 7 March 2003, and has begun a £96 million clearance and demolition programme to clear and demolish many of the high-rise flats.
Glasgow is a major centre of higher and academic research, with four universities within 10 miles (16 km) of the city centre:
There are also three further education colleges in the city: City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Clyde College and Glasgow Kelvin College. Higher education colleges in the city include Jordanhill Teacher Training College, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art.
In 2011 Glasgow had 53,470 full-time students aged 18–74 resident in the city during term time, more than any other city in Scotland and the fifth-largest in the United Kingdom outside London. The majority of those who live away from home reside in Shawlands, Dennistoun and the West End of the city.
The City Council operates twenty-nine secondary schools, 149 primary schools and three specialist schools — the Dance School of Scotland, Glasgow School of Sport and the Glasgow Gaelic School (Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu), the only secondary school in Scotland to teach exclusively in Gaelic. Outdoor Education facilities are provided by the city council at the Blairvadach Centre, near Helensburgh. Jordanhill School is operated directly by the Scottish Government. Glasgow also has a number of Independent schools, including Hutchesons' Grammar School founded in 1639 and one of the oldest school institutions in Britain, and others such as Craigholme School, Fernhill School, Glasgow Academy, Kelvinside Academy, St. Aloysius' College and The High School of Glasgow, which was founded in 1124 and is the oldest school in Scotland.