Scotland from the Roadside


Southern Scotland
Glasgow Cathedral
Early Glasgow
Glasgow City Centre


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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 city centre.

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, 1726)

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Scotland from the Roadside 2002-2015