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Glasgow is the largest of the six cities in Scotland; it is located on the
River Clyde, about 71km/44 miles west of Edinburgh. Despite its size today, the
town’s early development was slow until the late 17th century; it increased when
the town became an ideal location for trade with North America and the West
Indies. Glasgow later became famous for heavy industry such as shipbuilding.
Such was its growth that, in the Victorian era Glasgow was considered to be the
Second City of the British Empire; Sir John Betjeman described the town
as the greatest Victorian city in the world. Previously Glasgow had been
described by Daniel Defoe as one of the cleanliest, most beautiful, and best
built cities in Britain.1
The origins of Glasgow date back to the 6th century, when St. Kentigern, who
is also known as St. Mungo, built a monastery beside the Molendinar Burn, on the
spot where the cathedral now stands. The early settlement grew around the
monastery and then extended towards the Clyde along the route of the burn,
following what is now the High Street, towards the Clyde.
In the early days of Glasgow, the centre of the town was at Glasgow Cross,
the point where the High Street meets Trongate, Gallowgate and Saltmarket. The
town then developed west of the High Street and north of the Clyde; this area,
which is now enclosed by the M8 motorway to the north and west, now makes up the
Like Edinburgh, as Glasgow has grown a number of nearby villages have become
part of what is known as Greater Glasgow.
1 A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain (Vol. 3,
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