Instead of sifting through lengthy, boredom-inducing history books, get out, live a little and see the sights. Being the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow is interwoven with history. All you have to do is take note of the buildings, and images from a bygone past will enter into the forefront of the mind. From bemusing statues to architectural masterpieces, make Glasgow your fountain of knowledge and explore the city’s most historic landmarks.
People make history. With this in mind, The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens is a voice for the city of Glasgow and a vehicle with which stories as far back as 1750 can be told. Delve deep into the maze of artefacts, prints, photographs, paintings, films and interactive displays and catch a glimpse of Glaswegian life through wondrous and colourful social narratives. There is no better way to pontificate the enlightening information than a wander amidst Winter Gardens, the Doulton Fountain, or Glasgow Green, the eldest public space in the city.
Those with a discerning eye can spot a Rennie Mackintosh a mile off. A must-visit for any architect, arty mind or creative, the Mackintosh House is a glorious conglomeration of the greatest interiors from the home of prolific Glaswegian visionary Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. Mackintosh, a master purveyor of design, architecture and art, went to extensive lengths to transform his home into a livable masterpiece. Forever a serious source of inspiration, an immense amount of attention to detail went into recreating the rooms to mirror the original.
An integral part of Glasgow, the equestrian Duke of Wellington Statue is an absolute classic. This is undeniably so because he sits unassumingly with a traffic cone on his head most of the time. Situated by the Gallery of Modern Art, the sculpture is the work of Italian artist Carlo Marochetti and has been around since 1844. In 2013, the council planned to double the height of the statue, in the hopes that it would deter the public from dressing Wellington up in this conical hat. However, a successful online petition, a rally and a fruitful Facebook campaign called ‘Keep The Cone’ (garnering over 72,000 likes in 24 hours) resulted in a victory for Glasgow. Interestingly, 2011 saw the Lonely Planet guide mention this masterpiece in its ‘Top 10 Most Bizarre Monuments on Earth’. Each to their own.
One man’s eyesore is another man’s masterpiece. Mighty and sturdy, Finnieston Crane may not be your typical monument, yet it never fails to make a statement. Dating back to the 1930s, this mammoth crane has retired from its days of loading cargo onto ships and acts as a watchful eye over Glasgow. Once more, if the positioning goes to plan, it makes for an interesting selfie (#craneheid).
Revered and grand, Glasgow City Chambers, with its Victorian civic architecture, was built between 1882 and 1888 by Scottish architect William Young. Exploring the Carrara marble staircase – the craftsmanship behind the mosaic ceiling, the gold leaf accents, and otherworldly banquet hall – and taking a moment to appreciate every minute yet exquisite detail will never get old. Tours occur daily, making it a hard-to-miss opportunity. Still Game fans will be well aware that the Chambers made a guest appearance in the episode ‘Job’.