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Wednesday, 24 November 2010 23:46

Glasgow

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Glasgow (pronounced /ˈɡlæzɡoʊ/ GLAZ-goh; Scots: Glesga; Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu, pronounced [ˈkɫ̪as̪xu]) is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands. A person from Glasgow is known as a Glaswegian, which is also a common name for the local dialect.

Glasgow grew from the medieval Bishopric of Glasgow and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, which subsequently became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with British North America and the British West Indies. With the Industrial Revolution, the city and surrounding region shifted to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of Heavy Engineering, most notably in the Shipbuilding and Marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was known as the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period. Today it is one of Europe's top twenty financial centres and is home to many of Scotland's leading businesses. Glasgow is also ranked as the 57th most liveable city in the world.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew to a population of over one million, and was the fourth-largest city in Europe, after London, Paris and Berlin. In the 1960s, large-scale relocation to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, have reduced the current population of the City of Glasgow unitary authority area to 580,690, with 1,199,629 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers approximately 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland's population.



Climate

In spite of its northerly latitude, close to the same line as Moscow, Glasgow's climate is classified as Oceanic. Owing to its westerly position and proximity to the sea, Glasgow is one of Scotland's milder areas. Temperatures are usually higher than most places of equal latitude away from the UK, due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream.

Winters are normally chilly, damp, and overcast, with a January mean of 4.0 °C (39.2 °F), though lows sometimes fall below freezing. Clear or dry days are rare. Snow occurs but rarely lies in the city centre. The spring months (March to May) are generally mild. Many of Glasgow's trees and plants begin to flower at this time of the year and parks and gardens are filled with spring colours. The summer months (June to September) can vary considerably between mild and wet weather or warm and sunny. The warmest month is usually July, with average highs near 20 °C (68 °F). Autumns are cool to mild, with increasing dampness.


City centre

The city centre is bounded by the High Street to the east, the River Clyde to the south and the M8 motorway to the west and north which was built through the Townhead, Charing Cross, Cowcaddens and Anderston areas in the 1960s.

Retail and theatre district of Glasgow
The city centre is based on a grid system of streets on the north bank of the River Clyde. The heart of the city is George Square, site of many of Glasgow's public statues and the elaborate Victorian Glasgow City Chambers, headquarters of Glasgow City Council. To the south and west are the shopping precincts of Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street, the latter featuring more upmarket retailers and winner of the Academy of Urbanism 'Great Street Award' 2008. The main shopping centres are Buchanan Galleries and the St. Enoch Centre, with the up-market Princes Square and the Italian Centre specialising in designer labels. The London-based department store Selfridges purchased a site in the city some years ago as part of its plans to expand stores, plans which have now been shelved according to the company. Glasgow's retail portfolio forms the UK's second largest and most economically important retail sector after Central London.

The city centre is home to most of Glasgow's main cultural venues: The Theatre Royal (home of Scottish Opera and formerly Scottish Ballet (which now resides in the Tramway theatre)), The Pavilion Theatre, The King's Theatre, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow Film Theatre, Tron Theatre, Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Mitchell Library and Theatre, the Centre for Contemporary Arts, McLellan Galleries and The Lighthouse Museum of Architecture. The world's tallest cinema, the eighteen-screen Cineworld is situated on Renfrew Street. The city centre is also home to four of Glasgow's higher education institutions: The University of Strathclyde, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University.

Merchant City

The Tolbooth Steeple dominates Glasgow Cross and marks the east side of the Merchant City. To the east is the commercial and residential district of Merchant City. The Merchant City was formerly the residential district of the wealthy city merchants in the 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly the Tobacco Lords from whom many of the streets take their name. As the Industrial Revolution and the wealth it brought to the city resulted in the expansion of Glasgow's central area westward, the original medieval centre was left behind. Glasgow Cross, situated at the junction of High Street, Gallowgate, Trongate and Saltmarket was the original centre of the city, symbolised by its Mercat cross. Glasgow Cross encompasses the Tolbooth Clock Tower; all that remains of the original City Chambers, which was destroyed by fire in 1926. Moving northward up High Street towards Rottenrow and Townhead lies the 15th century Glasgow Cathedral and the Provand's Lordship. Due to growing industrial pollution levels in the mid-to-late 19th century, the area fell out of favour with residents.

From the late 1980s onwards, the Merchant City has been rejuvenated with luxury city centre apartments and warehouse conversions. This regeneration has supported an increasing number of cafés and restaurants. The area is also home to a number of high end boutique style shops and some of Glasgow's most upmarket stores.

The Merchant City is the centre of Glasgow's growing 'cultural quarter', based on King Street, the Saltmarket and Trongate, and at the heart of the annual Merchant City Festival. The area has supported a huge growth in art galleries, the origins of which can be found in the late 80s when it attracted artist-led organisations that could afford the cheap rents required to operate in vacant manufacturing or retail spaces.[52] The artistic and cultural potential of the Merchant City as a 'cultural quarter' was harnessed by independent arts organisations and Glasgow City Council,[52] and the recent development of Trongate 103, which houses galleries, workshops, artist studios and production spaces, is considered a major outcome of the continued partnership between both.[53] The area also contains a number of theatres and concert venues, including the Tron Theatre, the Old Fruitmarket, the Trades Hall, St. Andrews in the Square, Merchant Square, and the City Halls.

Financial district

Clyde Arc, also known as "Squinty Bridge". To the western edge of the city centre, occupying the areas of Blythswood Hill and Anderston, lies Glasgow's financial district, known officially as the International Financial Services District (IFSD), although often irreverently nicknamed by the contemporary press as the "square kilometre" or "Wall Street on Clyde".[55] Since the late 1980s the construction of many modern office blocks and high rise developments have paved the way for the IFSD to become one of the UKs largest financial quarters. With a reputation as an established financial services centre, coupled with comprehensive support services, Glasgow continues to attract and grow new business. Of the 10 largest general insurance companies in the UK, 8 have a base or head office in Glasgow – including Direct Line, Esure, AXA and Norwich Union. Key banking sector companies have also relocated some of their services to commercial property in Glasgow – Resolution, JPMorgan Chase, Abbey, HBOS, Barclays Wealth, Tesco Personal Finance , Morgan Stanley, Lloyds TSB, Clydesdale Bank, BNP Paribas, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Ministry of Defence have several departments and Clydeport, the Glasgow Stock Exchange, Student Loans Company, Scottish Executive Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department, BT Group, Scottish Qualifications Authority and Scottish Enterprise also have their headquarters based in the district.

The West End of Glasgow

Glasgow's West End refers to the bohemian district of cafés, tea rooms, bars, boutiques, upmarket hotels, clubs and restaurants in the hinterland of Kelvingrove Park, the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Botanic Gardens and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, especially on the area's main thoroughfare, Byres Road, and on Ashton Lane. The area is popular with tourists, and contains many hotels, including the prestigious One Devonshire Gardens, which has accommodated a number of celebrity guests on visits to the city.

The West End includes residential areas of Hillhead, Dowanhill, Kelvingrove, Kelvinside, Hyndland, and, to an increasing extent, Partick. The name is increasingly being used to refer to any area to the west of Charing Cross. This includes areas such as Scotstoun, Jordanhill, Kelvindale and Anniesland.

The West End is bisected by the River Kelvin which flows from the Kilsyth Hills in the North and empties into the River Clyde at Yorkhill Basin.

The spire of Sir George Gilbert Scott's Glasgow University main building (the second largest Gothic Revival building in Britain) is a major local landmark, and can be seen from miles around, sitting atop Gilmorehill. The university itself is the fourth oldest in the English-speaking world. Much of the city's student population is based in the West End, adding to its cultural vibrancy.

The area is also home to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena, Henry Wood Hall (home of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) and the Museum of Transport, which is to be rebuilt on a former dockland site at Glasgow Harbour to a design by Zaha Hadid. The West End Festival, one of Glasgow's largest festivals, is held annually in June.

Glasgow is the home of the SECC, the United Kingdom's largest exhibition and conference centre. A major expansion of the SECC facilities at the former Queen's Dock by Foster and Partners is currently planned, including a 12,000 seat arena, and a 5 star hotel and entertainments complex.


Culture in Glasgow

Established by wealthy tobacco merchant Stephen Mitchell, the Mitchell Library is now one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe

The city has many amenities for a wide range of cultural activities, from curling to opera, ballet and from football to art appreciation; it also has a large selection of museums that include those devoted to transport, religion, and modern art. Many of the city's cultural sites were celebrated in 1990 when Glasgow was designated European City of Culture.

The city's principal library, the Mitchell Library, has grown into one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe, currently housing some 1.3 million books, a extensive collection of newspapers and thousands of photographs and maps.

Most of Scotland's national arts organisations are based in Glasgow, including Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, The National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Youth Theatre.

Glasgow has its own "Poet Laureate", a post created in 1999 for Edwin Morgan[66] and as of 2007 occupied by Liz Lochhead.

Recreation in Glasgow

Glasgow is home to a variety of theatres including The King's Theatre, Theatre Royal and the Citizens Theatre and is home to many municipal museums and art galleries, the most famous being the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and the Burrell Collection. Most of the museums in Glasgow are publicly owned and free to enter.

The city has hosted many exhibitions over the years, including being the UK City of Architecture 1999, European Capital of Culture 1990, National City of Sport 1995–1999 and European Capital of Sport 2003.

In addition, unlike the older and larger Edinburgh Festival (where all Edinburgh's main festivals occur in the last three weeks of August), Glasgow's festivals fill the calendar. Festivals include the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgow International Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections, Glasgow Film Festival, West End Festival, Merchant City Festival, Glasgay, and the World Pipe Band Championships.

Music scene
Glasgow has many live music pubs, clubs and venues. Some of the city's main venues include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the SECC, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut (where Oasis were spotted and signed by Glaswegian record mogul Alan McGee), the Queen Margaret Union (who have Kurt Cobain's footprint locked in a safe) and the Barrowland, a ballroom converted into a live music venue. More recent mid-sized venues include ABC and the O2 Academy, which play host to a similar range of acts. There are also a large number of smaller venues and bars which host many local and touring musicians, including Cosmopol, Pivo Pivo and Stereo. In 2010, Glasgow was named the UK's fourth 'most musical' City by PRS for Music.

In recent years, the success of bands such as Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Snow Patrol and Travis or indie bands such as Primal Scream has significantly boosted the profile of the Glasgow music scene, prompting Time Magazine to liken Glasgow to Detroit during its 1960s Motown heyday. More recent successes include The Fratellis and Glasvegas. The city of Glasgow was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 20 August 2008 as part of the Creative Cities Network.

Glasgow also has a thriving dance music scene spearheaded by Slam, and their record label Soma Quality Recordings. They're also the people behind the very successful Pressure club nights at The Arches which have attracted DJ's and clubbers from around the world.

The prestigious MOBO Awards were held at the SECC, on 30 September 2009, making Glasgow the first out-of-London city to host the event since its launch in 1995.


2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow

On 9 November 2007, Glasgow was selected to be the host city of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The games will be based on a number of existing and newly constructed sporting venues across the city, including a refurbished Hampden Park, Kelvingrove Park, the Kelvin Hall, and the planned Scottish National Arena at the SECC. The opening ceremony will be held at Celtic Park. Plans have already been drawn up for a Commonwealth Games campus in the east end of the city, which will include a new indoor arena, velodrome and accommodation facilities in Dalmarnock and Parkhead, with an upgraded Aquatics Centre at nearby Tollcross Park. 2014 will be the third time the Games have been held in Scotland.


Public transport in Glasgow

Glasgow Central station is the northern terminus of the West Coast Main Line. Glasgow has a large urban transport system, mostly managed by the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).

The city has many bus services; since bus deregulation almost all are provided by private operators though SPT part-funds some services. The principal bus operators within the city are: First Glasgow, Arriva Scotland West, Stagecoach West Scotland and Glasgow Citybus. The main bus terminal in the city is Buchanan bus station.

Glasgow has the most extensive urban rail network in the UK outside of London with rail services travelling to a large part of the West of Scotland. All trains running within Scotland, including the local Glasgow trains, are operated by First ScotRail, who own the franchise as determined by the Scottish Government. Central Station and Queen Street Station are the two main railway terminals. Glasgow Central is the terminus of the 641.6-kilometre (398.7 mi) long West Coast Main Line from London Euston. All services to and from England use this station. Glasgow Central is also the terminus for suburban services on the south side of Glasgow, Ayrshire and Inverclyde, as well as being served by the cross city link from Dalmuir to Motherwell. Most other services within Scotland – the main line to Edinburgh, plus services to Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and the Western Highlands – operate from Queen Street station.

The city's suburban network is currently divided by the River Clyde, and the Crossrail Glasgow initiative has been proposed to link them; it is currently awaiting funding from the Scottish Government. The city is linked to Edinburgh by three direct railway links; a further one, the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link, is proposed for completion in 2010. In addition to the suburban rail network, SPT operates the Glasgow Subway. The Subway is the United Kingdom's only completely underground metro system, and is generally recognised as the world's third underground railway after London and Budapest.[112] Both rail and subway stations have a number of park and ride facilities.

As part of the wider regeneration along the banks of the River Clyde, a Pre-Tram System, using dedicated bus lanes, called Clyde Fastlink is currently under construction.

Roads

M8 Motorway, the busiest motorway in Scotland

The city is the focus of Scotland's trunk road network and has many road connections to other cities. The main M8 motorway passes through the city centre, and connects to the M77, M73, and M80 motorways. The A82 connects the city to Argyll and the western Highlands. The M74 runs directly south towards Carlisle; the highly controversial M74 completion scheme will extend the motorway from Tollcross into the Tradeston area to join the M8. A legal challenge to stop the extension was withdrawn in 2006, and the road is now scheduled for completion by 2011.

Other road proposals include the East End Regeneration Route, which aims to provide easier access to deprived areas of the East End.

Airports in Glasgow

The city is served by an two international airports and a seaplane terminal: Glasgow International Airport (GLA) (13 km/8 mi west of the city centre), Glasgow Prestwick International Airport (PIK) and Glasgow Seaplane Terminal, by the Glasgow Science Centre on the River Clyde. There is also a small airfield at Cumbernauld (29 km/18 mi to the north-east) and Glasgow City Heliport located at Stobcross Quay on the banks of the Clyde. A plan to provide a direct rail link to Glasgow International was dropped with the cancelling of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link in 2009.

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