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Glasgow, pp.53-58.



THIS great and populous city, one of the largest commercial and manufacturing cities in the empire, is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Clyde, in the lower ward of the county of Lanark; and is said, with its various and extensive suburbs, to cover above seven hundred acres of ground. The Observatory, distant about a mile to the north-west of the city, as determined by the late Mr. John Cross, is in west longitude 4° 15′ 51″, and north latitude, 55° 52′ 10″. The city itself lies on the north bank of the river, occupying the ground between its banks, and a range of high ground which runs nearly parallel to the stream, at about the distance of a mile and a half to the north. The more northern streets are formed on the declivities and summit of the high ground. The southern banks are occupied by the extensive and well built suburbs of Hutchesontown, Gorbals, Lawriestown, and Tradestown.

When viewed from many points at a distance, Glasgow, with its numerous spires, domes, and towers, has a beautiful and interesting appearance; when examined in detail, few provincial cities have a more imposing effect, or present a greater variety of objects of interest to the stranger. It is built with great regularity and order; the streets are on an average, sixty feet wide; and are almost all laid out at right angles with each other. They are paved with whinstone; have broad flag-stone pavements on either side; and are remarkably clean and well kept. The shops are in general splendid, and display to the eye, all that wealth can command, or luxury desire. The houses are lofty, and built of free-stone, with polished and ornamented fronts. In the older parts of the town, they are divided as is customary in Scotland, into flats, and some are six stories above ground; but of late years, numerous new streets, and ranges of buildings of considerable architectural beauty, have been erected, the houses of which are on the English plan. The principal street in Glasgow, one of the finest in Europe, and which assumes at different points, the names of Trongate and Argyll streets, is in length a mile, and in breadth, upon an average, seventy feet. It is the principal scene of that spirit of industry, which has raised Glasgow to the rank of the second city in the empire.

Though the climate here is generally healthy, the air is somewhat moist. The soil around the city is very various, but is so much improved by an abundant supply of manure, as to produce heavy crops of every description. Coal, free-stone, whin-stone, and clay, of excellent quality, are to be found in almost every direction.

In an article so limited as the present, a particular account of the numerous public buildings with which the city is adorned, cannot be expected; but a few may be shortly noticed. The Cathedral is a magnificent specimen of the early English style of architecture, and is the only one of our ancient edifices, which the misdirected zeal of the Reformers has left entire, on the mainland of Scotland. It at present accommodates two congregations, thus serving for two city parish churches. There are ten other parish churches in the city, among which St. Andrew’s, St. George’s, St. Enoch’s, and St. David’s, may be noticed as being highly ornamental. The Catholic Chapel, which is in the decorated style of English architecture, is a fine structure, and highly ornamented, both externally and internally. Glasgow and its neighbourhood possess eight chapels connected with the Established Church, and upwards of thirty unconnected with the establishment. Some of the chapels recently erected by dissenting congregations, are handsome buildings, and form good specimens of the various orders according to which they are designed.

The Town Hall buildings are situated at the Cross. The basement story forms an arcade, with a rusticated front, which serves as the present exchange; the upper part is in the Ionic order, and the Hall itself is elegantly fitted up. The Jail and Public offices are from designs by Stark. They are in the Doric order, the portico in front possessing very nearly the proportions of the celebrated Parthenon. The University buildings, the houses of the Professors, and the quadrangles they circumscribe, occupy a space equal to 9556 square yards. The old part of the buildings are a fine relict of ancient monastic architecture; and they are enriched with hallowed recollections of the many great men who have shed a light within their darkened walls. On the east, a magnificent range of buildings, in the Doric order have been erected, which contain the Common Hall, Anatomical Theatre, and rooms for the Humanity, Greek, Logic, Chemistry, Medical, and Mathematical Classes. Immediately in front of this range, stands the edifice provided for the splendid bequest, left by the celebrated Dr. William Hunter to the University. It is a very fine specimen of the Roman Doric. The interior corresponds remarkably, with the beauty of the exterior. It exhibits the same simplicity, and the same elegance. The Royal Infirmary, both from its appearance and situation, has a very imposing effect. It was constructed originally to accommodate 150 patients; but a few years ago, a large addition was erected, which increased the accommodation, without injuring the appearance of the building. A second addition is at present constructing, which will still farther extend the benefits of the institution. The Lunatic Asylum is a plain edifice, consisting of a central building, and four ranges of wards projecting diagonally from it. The dome and general proportions are considered very beautiful. Hutcheson’s Hospital is also a respectable addition, to the buildings devoted to the purposes of benevolence in Glasgow. The Theatre is one of the largest and most elegant in the kingdom, out of London; and the Assembly Rooms, are in design and accommodation worthy of the city.

The situation of Glasgow, has tended much to advance her in the scale of commercial cities. Placed on the border of one of the richest coal and mineral fields in the island, with which it communicates by a canal; and connected on the one hand with the Atlantic by the Clyde; and on the other with the North Sea and German Ocean, by the Forth and Clyde navigation, its leading advantages are peculiarly great. The extent of her foreign trade may be appreciated by the following statement of imports, taken from the Custom House books, for the year 1815. Exclusive of grain, hemp, tallow, &c. from the Baltic, there were imported of Sugar, 540,198 cwt. 2 quarters, 25 pounds; Rum, 1,251,092 gallons; Cotton wool, 6,530,177 pounds. The import duties on these and other articles, amounted to L563,058, 2s. 6d. They employed 448 ships, the tonnage of which was 79,210 tons; worked by 4868 men. The exports for same period to America, the West Indies, and different parts of Europe, amounted to L4,016,181 12s. 2½d. For which were employed 592 ships, 94,350 tonnage, and 6,476 men. The trade with the East Indies an Australasia, is yearly increasing; an extensive commerce is carried on with the continent of Europe; and establishments have been formed in Brazil, and the different independent states of South America. But it would be endless to attempt an enumeration, of all the countries with which the merchants of Glasgow have formed connections, or where they have establishments: they are to be found in every foreign market, where British goods can be sold, or whence any produce can be imported, which the necessity or luxury of the British people may require.

The Cotton is the staple manufacture in Glasgow. In 1818 there were fifty-four mills for spinning cotton containing 600,000 spindles. In 1825 these were fifty-four power-loom factories, of which thirty were in full operation, and twenty partly filled with machinery. The gross number of power-looms then working was 7400, producing 37,000 pieces weekly; or 1,794,000 pieces annually. The hand looms employed by Glasgow manufacturers, were 32,000; but of these only 18,537 were situated in Glasgow or its neighbourhood. The manufacture of Bandana handkerchiefs is confined to Glasgow, and is very valuable. There are 38 calico printing establishments in Glasgow and its neighbourhood. The excise duties on printed goods for the year ending July, 1825, was L380,421, 0s. 10d. For dressing, &c. cotton Goods, there were in 1825, twelve calendar houses, containing 32 calendars, worked by steam; and twenty lapping-houses.

The construction of steam engines is carried on to a considerable extent, as, besides supplying the manufactures and steam navigation of Glasgow, there is a large demand from other parts of the kingdom. In 1825, there were employed in the city and suburbs, 310 steam engines, aggregating 6406 horse power. There are 16 brass foundries, in one of which the casting of great bells is executed with success. The flour mills belonging to the incorporation of bakers, are the most complete in the kingdom. There are 22 iron foundries, besides various large establishments for the construction of cotton, wool, and flax machinery.

The chemical manufactures are valuable and extensive. Those of Messrs. C. Tennent & Co. are the largest in the kingdom, and cover many acres of ground. About 1000 large carboys of concentrated sulphuric acid are manufactured weekly, besides corresponding quantities of oxy-muriate of lime, crystals of soda, and soaps. There are several other smaller establishments of a similar kind, which, together, are not only capable of supplying the bleaching and dying manufactories of Scotland, but the paper manufacturers of London, and many calico printers in Lancashire. The works of Mr. Charles Macintosh are celebrated for cudbear of the finest quality; his crystals, and prussiate of potassa, are unrivalled for their beauty and purity. Other works manufacture pyroligneous acid of the finest quality, and bichromate of potassa, used for dying the brilliant chrome yellow. At a little distance from the city, are several large chemical manufactories, where alum and copperas are prepared on a very extensive scale. There are twelve large distilleries in the city and suburbs, besides others on a smaller scale, and several breweries. The works for supplying the city with gas have attained unrivalled perfection. Upwards of 60 miles of pipes of different sizes, have been laid down, for conducting the gas to the various public works, shops, warehouses, and street lamps, which are entirely lighted in this manner. 

The government of the town is vested in a Provost and three Baillies of the Merchant’s rank, and two Baillies of the Trade’s rank; a Master of Works, and a Treasurer. The Lord Provost and the five Baillies are charged with the executive, while the magistrates and council conduct the other affairs of the community. By the constitution of the Burgh, two other distinct bodies are recognised, – the Merchants’ and Trades’ houses. The Merchants’ house consists of all merchant burgesses, who have paid the regular fee to the funds of the house. The Dean of Guild is president of the house. His council consists of himself, the Provost, the three merchant Baillies, collector, and twenty-four merchants named counsellors. The Trades’ house consists of the Deacon Convenor, late Convenor, two trades’ Baillies, present and late Collector, present and late Deacons of the several incorporations, and twenty-six members nominated from the incorporations. In these councils, the management of the whole affairs of the two houses are fully vested. Glasgow possesses several local courts of law, and is visited half yearly by branches of the supreme Justiciary, and civil Jury courts. Among the local courts, the Sheriff’s and Magistrates’ are of the most importance. Before them, questions of the greatest value and intricacy are decided. Both these courts likewise possess a criminal jurisdiction, and usually take cognisance of delicts of lesser importance. The Dean of Guild’s court, decides all disputes between neighbouring proprietors of heritable property within the burgh, encroachments on streets, &c. In the water baillie court, all questions are entertained of a civil and criminal nature, connected with maritime affairs, and occurring within the jurisdiction of the court, which extends from the harbour of Glasgow, to the Clough light-house. The Justices of the Peace hold quarter and petty sessions in the city, in which all infringements of the exercise laws, game laws, questions between master and servant, and matters of county police are decided. Besides these, courts are held weekly by the Sheriff, Magistrates, and Justices for the investigation and discussion of petty claims. The police establishment is admitted to be one of the most efficient in the kingdom. It consists of a superintendent, collector, treasurer, clerk, and surveyor; three constables, twenty-eight officers, one hundred watchmen, and twelve patrol-men, besides the superintendent of lamps, weighing machines, and fire engines. The latter has fifty firemen under him, with a suitable supply of fire-engines and water-butts. The executive power, and the administration of all the other affairs, are vested in the magistrates and twenty-four general commissioners.

The literary and scientific institutions of Glasgow, deserve a very lengthened account; we can only give them a passing notice. The University is well known, and has been long famous. It possesses professors of great talent in every branch of human learning. In the year 1819, there were 1264 students attending it. In the Andersonian Institution, lectures are delivered on natural philosophy, chemistry, and mechanics, delivered yearly. The Mechanics’ Institution is in a flourishing condition. There, lectures are delivered to from 600 to 800 students, on various branches of science. In the public Grammar School, there are six classes, viz. the rector’s, for Latin and Greek; four others for Latin; and a commercial class: the school is generally attended by from 500 to 600 students. Glasgow possesses several literary and scientific societies, among which the literary and commercial, the philosophic, the medical, and the dilettanti, are the most conspicuous. The royal botanic garden, consisting of nearly six acres and a half of ground, contains 9000 distinct named species of plants, besides 300 unnamed, the plants in pots amount to 60,000; grasses, 500; the collection of bulbous plants contains upwards of 900 species and varieties. There are several libraries: the College, which is very valuable; Stirling’s public library, containing upwards of 7000 volumes; the Glasgow library, which contains 6000 volumes; and the Foreign library, the object of which is to form a collection of all valuable works in the modern European languages: there are also a great variety of circulating libraries, for the use of the inhabitants. In 1819, there were 239 teachers, besides those in the public seminaries already alluded to, who taught privately various branches of education in the city and suburbs.

The charitable institutions, and beneficent societies of Glasgow, are very numerous, and of a varied nature. The Merchants’ and Trades’ houses, faculties of physicians and surgeons, and procurators, and the fourteen incorporated trades, bestow considerable sums on the poor and widows connected with their respective bodies. Aged and destitute people, and children are supported in the Town’s Hospital, besides a large number of out-door pensioners, who are relieved weekly. Hutcheson’s Hospital, besides educating poor children, distributes yearly to 200 individuals, pensions, varying from L5 to L25. Large sums are yearly raised by subscription, for the support of the Infirmary, Lunatic Asylum, Magdalen Asylum, Lock Hospital, Humane Society, Dispensary, &c. In addition to this, the general Session, and a variety of benevolent societies are careful in supplying the wants of the poor entitled to their aid. Mr. Cleland, whose general accuracy leaves little doubts as to the correctness of the result, has calculated, that in the year 1818-19, the sum of L140,005, 17s. 8d. Sterling, was expended in public charity, in the city and suburbs.

Year,          Persons. 
Year,          Persons. 
Year,          Persons. 
Year,          Persons. 
1560,          4,500. 
1740,          17,034. 
1791,          66,578. 
1819,          147,197. 
1660,          14,678. 
1763,          28,300. 
1801,          83,769. 
1821,          147,043.

The population of Glasgow has increased rapidly of late years. The following table will show something of the progressive increase. At present, (1828,) the population, including the suburbs, is 185,100. The rental of property within the Burgh, at the period of the Union, was £7,840, Sterling; for the present year, it is £300,450 Sterling.

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