In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Glasgow like this:
Glasgow, parl. and royal burgh, partly in Renfrewshire but chiefly in Lanarkshire, on river Clyde, 14 miles SE. of Dumbarton (at the commencement of the Firth of Clyde), 47½ (by rail) W. of Edinburgh, and 401½ (by West Coast route) NW. of London -- royal burgh (co-extensive with City par.), pop. 166,128; parliamentary and municipal burgh, pop. 511,415; town (municipal and suburban), pop. 674,095; 13 newspapers. Market-day, Wednesday. Glasgow is the commercial and industrial metropolis of Scotland, and claims to be the second city of the British Empire. ...
It is an ancient place, but almost the only monument of antiquity which it contains is the Cathedral (1179), dedicated to St Mungo, or Kentigern, the apostle of Strathclyde, who is said to have settled at Glasgow about 580. The old University buildings in High Street have been converted into a railway station; the new University buildings (1870), on Gilmore Hill, in the NW. of the city, are probably the finest modern specimen of secular architecture in Scotland. The University (1450) had in 1882-1883 professors to the number of 27, and students to the number of 2275, of whom 1307 were Arts students. The commercial importance of Glasgow is of comparatively modern date. At the Reformation the population was about 5000, at the Union about 12,000, and at the beginning of the 19th century about 77.000; it is now. including the neighbouring burghs, which are essentially parts of Glasgow, about 750,000. The chief natural cause of the rapid growth of Glasgow is its position within the richest coal and ironstone field in Scotland, and on the banks of a river which has been rendered, by almost incredible labour, navigable for vessels of the largest tonnage. Its industries, which are characterised by their immense variety, include textile mfrs. (principally cotton, woollen, and carpets): bleaching, printing, and dyeing; chemical mfrs.; the iron mfr., engineering, and shipbuilding. All the iron trade of Scotland is controlled by Glasgow, which is also the headquarters of the great shipbuilding industry of the Clyde. Glasgow has 4 distilleries and 6 paper mills. It is one of the three principal seaports of the United Kingdom. The harbour extends along the river for over 2 miles, and includes 2 tidal docks, one of them (the Queen's Dock) the largest in Scotland. The foreign trade is with all parts of the world, but chiefly with India, the United States, Canada, and South America, Belgium, France, and Spain. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) Glasgow contains terminal stations of the 3 great trunk lines of Scotland; and its railway communications are assisted by the City Union Railway and the Underground Railway. Tramways penetrate into every suburb, and the Clyde is crossed by numerous bridges and ferries. There are 4 parks -- the Green, the Kelvingrove or West End Park, the Queen's Park, and the Alexandra Park. The health of the city has been greatly benefited by the Loch Katrine water supply, completed in 1859, and by the Improvement Act of 1866. The New Municipal Buildings, at the E. end of George Square, were founded October 1883. Glasgow is a brigade deptt; the barracks (1876) are at Maryhill. The burgh returns 7 members to Parliament -- 7 divisions, viz., Bridgeton, Camlachie, St Rollox, Central, College, Tradeston, and Blackfriars and Hutchesontown, 1 member for each division; its representation was increased from 3 to 7 members in 1885, when the parl. limits were extended; the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen return 1 member.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Glasgow has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Glasgow. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Glasgow and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Glasgow in Scotland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 18th May 2013
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