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Glasgow City Chambers

Glasgow City Chambers

One of the most striking buildings in Glasgow is the Victorian-era City Chambers at George Square, completed in 1889, which reflects the city’s importance and wealth at the end of the 19th century. Today they are home to the Glasgow City Council. The foundation stone was laid in October 1883 by the Lord Provost Ure and the building was inaugurated by Queen Victoria in August 1888. If you look carefully at  the top of the western facade of the building, you can spot a statue of Queen Victoria sitting on her throne. Around her are figures of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, as well as the colonies of the British Empire. Above her is Truth, popularly known as Glasgow’s Statue of Liberty (due to the similar pose), flanked by Riches and Honour. At the very top of the tower are statues of The Four Seasons. (You can see the original size of the photo here, and find the mentioned statues on it.)

As impressive as the City Chambers are from the outside, they’re even more ornate and awe-inspiring within. The expansive entrance hall displays a mosaic of the city’s coat of arms on the floor, and large murals decorate the walls. That’s about as much I can tell you about the inside of the building from personal experience, but from photos and writings I can tell you that the interior keeps to the venetian style, with rich marble staircases and pillars, a ceiling of gold leaf, fine paintings on the walls, to mention a few exuberances.

The cost of the building was nearly four times over budget, which would probably explain why the interior is so lavishly decorated. Interestingly, when it opened, the City Chambers was one of the first buildings in the country to be lit by electricity. There are free daily tours of the Chambers, lasting 45-60 minutes, and I plan on taking a tour next term. maybe I’ll post some photos of the interior the next time I feature the City of Glasgow on this blog.

Glasgow Trivia #22: The Glasgow we know might be the largest and most important Glasgow in the world, but it’s not the only one. There are some # Glasgows in the world, all of them in the Americas. You can find the smaller Glasgows in Alabama (a few scattered houses), California (nothing, at all), Delaware (pop. ~12,000), Georgia (a cemetery?), Kentucky (pop. ~14,000), Missouri (pop. ~1,200), Montana (pop. ~3,200), Illinois (pop. ~170), Ohio (pop. very few), Oregon (pop. ~275.5), Pennsylvania (pop. ~63), Virginia (pop. ~1,046), West Virginia (pop. ~783), Jamaica (a few houses), Ontario (Canada) (farms and some houses) and Suriname (pop. ~776). There’s also a New Glasgow in Nova Scotia (Canada) (pop. ~9,500) and a mountain range called the Glasgow Range in New Zealand.

[Summer 2010 Poll: Where Are You From?]
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