A City Reborn

What is special about Glasgow? Well, a great many things but it’s history is pretty impressive. The area has had inhabitants for millennia and the River Clyde has sustained life for a long time, being a natural location for fishing. The Romans built the Antonine Wall and the remains can still be seen in Glasgow today. Glasgow has a long and important history.

The city itself was founded by Saint Mungo in the 6th century and he established a church on the site where Glasgow Cathedral stands now. The first stone Cathedral was built in about 1136 and it has been added to ever since. The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451 and by the 16th century, Glasgow had become an important academic and religious centre. It’s status remains today and in 2009 the University was assessed as being among the top ten in Britain.

Glasgow was a vital trading centre on the River Clyde with access to the rest of Scotland and the Atlantic Ocean for merchant shipping. American tobacco was imported along with cotton and sugar from the Caribbean. These goods were then traded throughout the rest of the UK and Europe and so there were many wealthy merchants living in the city in the area now known as Merchants City.

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As the city’s wealth grew, the centre expanded and beautiful Victorian architecture appeared. New public buildings were constructed and were lavishly decorated with intricate stonework. In the late nineteenth century, Glasgow became one of the richest cities in the world and one of the largest, after London. Shipbuilding started in the eighteenth century and after 1860 the Clydeside shipyards specialised in steamships made of iron and then steel. Their shipbuilding skills earned them world-wide renown and Clydebuilt became the benchmark of quality and so Glasgow received contracts for warships. For local businesses wishing to make their mark on history, think about hiring a Glasgow web designer. For more information, visit http://mediadesignassociates.co.uk/

The First World War saw the shipyards very busy indeed even with men being enlisted to fight. The situation declined during the Great Depression but soon picked up again with the advent of World War II. Due to the huge importance of the Clydeside, it was heavily bombed, the worst occasion occurring in March 1941 which caused such destruction it affected the city for decades after.

By the 1960’s, Glasgow industry was in decline and competition from abroad meant that major ship builders began to close. The Clydebank did, however, manage to build the QE2 before most builders shut down for good.

The 1970’s and 80’s were not great times for Glasgow as many heavy industries went out of business including steelworks, coal mines and engine factories. Mass unemployment ensued and had a hugely negative cultural impact. Since then the city has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes and has enjoyed a cultural re-birth, being voted European City of Culture in 1990. Now that’s an impressive turnaround. The city has been busy rebuilding it’s image and architecture and the riverbank has been transformed from industrial decline to a centre of entertainment and residential areas. Glasgow is now renowned for it’s art, culture, music, food and shopping. It really is a success story of re-invention and that’s what is special about Glasgow.