A Christian missionary by the name of St. Mungo founded Glasgow and turned it into a major religious center. After his death, wars swept through the country, one of the most well known (thanks to a little film called “Braveheart”) involving William Wallace who defeated the English at Bishop Castle. In 1451 Glasgow became a University City with Glasgow University popping up on its original location on High Street.

Glasgow also has been known as a success story when it comes to merchant trading, as well as the shipbuilding capital of the world. It’s been referred to the world first post-industrial city and has managed to reinvent itself after a couple of economic slumps. These days, Glasgow is known for its art, music and architecture.

Post War (1945-2000)

The ongoing decline of the city's industrial areas had been known since the 1930s.  In the closing years of the Second World War, the city undertook a series of studies (collectively known as the Bruce Report), which examined the city's chronic planning, social and overcrowding problems in the light of this decline and how the situation could be remedied.  On the back of the reports, the city embraked on a radical and comprehensive programme of regeneration and rebuilding in the 1950s which would last right into the 1970s.  The basic aim was to depopulate the centre of the city, together with its overcrowded slum housing, to allow a new service-based economy to be established.  Those displaced would be rehoused in new housing estates built on modern principles, located in New Towns (such as Cumbernauld and East Kilbride) and greenbelt sites on the city's outer periphery.  The city fathers looked to the ideas of the French architect Le Corbusier, and Glasgow thus became Britain's first truly high-rise city - as it embarked on the mass construction of tower blocks to house the displaced population.  Compared to the insanitary slum tenements which they replaced, the new concrete edifices were initially welcomed, but it soon became apparent that the new developments had created as many problems as they had solved.   Social structures which had been in place for generations in the disbanded communities were suddenly broken up, whilst the poor quality construction of many of the buildings resulted in them becoming crime ridden slums themselves within a few short years.

In the city centre, there was also great change.  The Bruce Report had called for widespread investment in commercial infrastructure to allow the new service industries to flourish.   New concrete office buildings went up in the centre of the city, whilst a system of arterial motorways to allow goods and people to quickly get in and out was constructed.  Not without cost however, as the M8 motorway cut a huge trench through the middle of Charing Cross and Anderston, which resulted in entire communities being wiped off the map.

By the end of the 1970s, the city had begun to realise that the grand regeneration scheme, although necessary, had serious flaws.  The poorly co-ordinated slum clearance programme was halted, and the surviving tenements were instead saved in favour of refurbishment and became desirable public and private housing.  The last tower block was built in the city in 1978.  Investment was made into restoring the city centre's lavish Victorian and Edwardian buildings, whilst the city fathers began to encourage tourism and to restore Glaswegian's own faith in their city through the highly successful "Glasgow's Miles Better" campaign in 1983.  Investment was also made into new shopping developments, with Princes Square (1988), the St Enoch Centre (1989) and the Buchanan Galleries (1998) all contributing to the city's now impressive retail portfolio.

 The city's historically strong arts and creative industries were also promoted, resulting in the city being awarded the status of  European City of Culture in 1990, a truly watershed moment in the city's post war history, which provided much momentum in encouraging inward investment, and continuing regeneration.  The city began to demolish many of the controversial housing schemes of the 1950s and 1960s, replacing them with better planned developments nearer the centre.  By the turn of the millenium, the city had built a huge new service industry based around the financial sector, the third largest financial quarter in the United Kingdom after London and Edinburgh, and things culminated in the award of the City of Architecture status in 1999.

 

City of Glasgow - History Info
Clyde Waterfront Heritage