Glasgow Commonwealth Walkway

Scotland / Europe

GLASGOW Glasgow was the first Commonwealth city to have its own Commonwealth Walkway in commemoration of the 2014 Commonwealth Games held there and hailed as a huge success.   In 1753 the novelist, Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) described Glasgow as ‘the beautifullest little city I have seen in Britain.’  It is now Scotland’s largest city and the fourth largest city in Great Britain.  By the 18th century, it had grown from being a medieval settlement on the River Clyde into the largest seaport in Britain, ‘the second City of the Empire’, a hub of industry and shipbuilding and an important centre of science and intellect, known as the Scottish Enlightenment.   The Scottish and English monarchy merged in 1601 when King James VI of Scotland (1566-1625) became James I of England, the first of a dynasty of Stuart Kings and Queens that lasted until 1714.  The Royal Family’s love of Scotland was greatly strengthened when Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prince Albert (1819-61) first visited in 1842 and built Balmoral Castle ‘this dear paradise’ in 1855.  Since then the Royal Family have spent their summer holidays there, a tradition continued and fostered to this day.  Queen Victoria visited Glasgow in 1849 and attended the International Exhibition of Science and Art there in 1888. Glasgow has not always prospered.  At one time it was best known for whisky and violence.  George Square has seen ceremonial parades and political demonstrations in equal measure.   More recently, Glasgow has found new impetus as an artistic city with its museums and conference centres. It is the home of Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland.  In 1990 Glasgow was declared a European City of Culture. George Square, laid out in 1781, and named after George III (1738-1820), Glasgow’s first public open space and is the heart of modern Glasgow.  The Eastern side is occupied by Glasgow City Chambers with their grand central tower in the style of the Italian Renaissance, built between 1883 and 1888.  On the Southside stands the former Head Post Office and on the North, Queen Street Station. The North British Hotel, formerly ‘The George’ (built-in 1787), was replaced by the Millennium Hotel in 1979. The Cenotaph was built by Sir John Burnet (1857-1938). The spacious pavements contain many monuments, notably the 80-foot high fluted Ionic column and statue of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), erected in 1837.  Also celebrated are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Robert Burns (1759-96), General Sir John Moore (1761-1809), ‘Moore of Corunna’, and the poet, Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) (the last two born in Glasgow) amongst others.  

20.5 miles / 33 kilometres

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