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Location: Glasgow Guide / Glasgow Information / Historical Timeline  


2nd Century
143The turf-built Antonine Wallpeni is built from the River Clyde to the Forth to separate Caledonia to the north from Britannia to the south. The Wall acts as the northernmost defensive line for the Roman armies, but is soon abandoned.
7th Century
?Early settlement founded by St Mungo (also known as Saint Kentigern) on the River Clyde.
12th Century
1175Bishop Jocelyn secures a charter from King William making Glasgow a Burgh.
13th Century
1238Work begins on Glasgow Cathedral symbolising the city’s role as a major ecclesiastical centre.
14th Century
1345Stockwell bridge built across the Clyde from Stockwell to The Gorbals by Bishop Rae.
15th Century
1450Glasgow becomes a Burgh of Regality.
 Glasgow Green becomes Glasgow's first public park.
1451The University of Glasgow founded by Bishop Turnbull at its original site in High Street, making it the second oldest in Scotland and the fourth oldest in the UK.
1471Provand's Lordship (which will become Glasgow's oldest house in) built
16th Century
1568Battle of Langside at which Mary Queen of Scots loses her crown and kingdom.
1588Great plague ravishes nearby Paisley and Kilmacolm resulting on a ban on travelling from Glasgow to these towns.
17th Century
1600Fire destroys a large part of the city.
1626Tolbooth Steeple erected at Glasgow Cross
1636Glasgow becomes a Royal Burgh.
1637Tron Steeple surviving part of St Mary's Church, burnt down by members of Hellfire Club.
1647Plague kills many throughout the city and beyond, staff and students at Glasgow University evacuated to Irvine.
1652Nearly one third of the city destroyed by fire.
1668Merchants buy land from Sir Patrick Maxwell to build a port (later known as Port Glasgow).
1677Another great fire hits the city.
c.1690The city begins to rise out of its mediaeval slumber.
18th Century
1707Treaty of Union with England allows increased trade with colonies.
1712A great flood, raising the water level by nearly 20 feet, devastates parts of Bridgegate and Saltmarket and the lower parts of the city.
1720Glasgow now a major port, overtaking Liverpool, Bristol and Whitehaven in importance through the success in the tobacco trade with Virginia.
1723Daniel Defoe describes Glasgow as 'the beautifullest little city I have seen in Britain.'
1740First attempt to deepen the Clyde below the Broomielaw.
1750First shops as we would know them are opened for business in the Trongate.
1757James Watt is installed as a mathematical instrument maker at the University of Glasgow where his experiments will transform the future industrial revolution.
1769James Watt patents the steam engine, using a condenser outside the main cylinder, which is arguably the greatest advance in the history of industry, revolutionising the steam engine and transforming the world.
1770Dredging of the River Clyde establishes Glasgow as a deep water port. Shipbuilding established helping the city to survive the threat of the American War of Independence and the subsequent collapse of the tobacco trade.

Printing established in the city for the first time.

1772Jamaica Street Bridge opened.

First lightning conductor in the City erected on the steeple of the old University building in High Street under the stewardship of US statesman Benjamin Franklin.

1775Jetties built at the Broomielaw.
1776The publication "An Inquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith, educated at Glasgow University, marks the transition of Europe from a late medieval to a modern economy. The book will be a major influence to economic development for centuries.
1780The creation of the textile and chemical industries signals the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Glasgow officially rated as a 'Port of Entry'.

Tennants Brewery built.

1783Glasgow Chamber of Commerce set up, making it the first trade organisation in Britain.

The Advertiser first published, which would later (1801) become the The Glasgow Herald and then, in the 1990s,simply The Herald.

1786Glasgow Distillery built.

Minor earthquake felt in the City.

1794Trades House built in Glassford Street by Robert Adam. The 14 trades represented are: bakers; barbers; coopers; cordiners; dyers; fleshers; gardeners; hammermen; maltmen; masons; skinners; tailors; weavers and wrights.
19th Century
1802The 'Charlotte Dundas', the first steam-powered tugboat in the world, pulls two 70-ton barges on the Forth and Clyde Canal successfully demonstrating that even the world's largest ships can be safely towed in and out of harbour.
1806Huge victory column erected on Glasgow Green in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson.
1811Glasgow becomes the second city of the British Empire. It is now larger than any other city in Britain outside London.
1812Bell's Comet launched on the Clyde becomes Europe's first successful commercial steamship.
1817Botanic Gardens instituted.

Candleriggs market complex built.

1818Typhus epidemic.
1823The 'Mackintosh' by Charles Mackintosh while working on producing waterproof garments in his father's chemical works in Dennistoun.
1828James Beaumont Nielson invents a method of using a hot blast furnace at the Glasgow Gasworks that will move the industrial revolution into a higher gear.
1829Thomas Graham publishes his first major influential paper dealing with gaseous diffusion. Graham will go on to be a world-famous chemist known as 'the father of colloid chemistry'.
1831Glasgow & Garnkirk Railway built - first in Scotland.
1832Cholera epidemic.
1834First consignment of tea from India direct to Glasgow by the shipping line founded by Kirkman Finlay (1772-1842).
1836Jamaica Street Bridge re-opens after widening.
1838First Clydesdale Bank opens.
1841City Halls built.
1842Creation of the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow’s rapidly expanding West End.

Glasgow to Edinburgh Railway opens.

1845First Omnibus runs from Bridgeton to Anderston.
1848Glasgow mathematician Professor William Thomson introduces the absolute scale of temperature which will become know as the 'Kelvin Scale' as a result of him becoming Lord Kelvin.

Cholera epidemic devastates the city.

'Chartist Riot' in the City

1850Water from Loch Katrine in the Trossachs provides Glasgow with the best water supply in Great Britain.
1853James McCulloch leaves Glasgow for Australia, where he will become the Prime Minister of Victoria (1863-68). He will be a major influence on the course of Australia's history.
1856McLellan Galleries acquired by the city fathers.
1860Prestwick near Glasgow plays host to the first British Golf Open.
1863First Free Hospital opens and the first Medical Officer of Health appointed in the city.
1865Joseph Lister pioneers the use of carbolic acid in treating compound fractures at Glasgow royal Infirmary, thus inaugurating the era of antiseptic surgery.
1866First Municipal Hospital built (the Fever Hospital in Parliamentary Road).
1870Glasgow University moves to its present site on Gilmorehill following the laying of the foundation stone on thesite laid by Prince and Princess of Wales two years earlier.

First Sanitary Inspector appointed.

1872First tramway route opened between St George's Cross and Eglinton Toll. At its peak tramway had 270 miles of track. Until introduction of numbering systems the trams were colour-coded for ease of identification: Red: Whiteinch-Dalmarnock; Green: Parkhead-Dalmuir; Blue: Renfrew Ferry-Milngavie; Yellow : Kelvinside-Cathcart; White: University-Dumbreck.

Glasgow School Board formed.

Porcelain rollers aere installed in a new mill in the city, bringing white bread and poor nutrition to Scotland.

1876Glasgow's Evening Times newspaper begins publication.

Thomas Lipton opens his first shop in the city, advertising his wares on two fat pigs driven through the streets.

1883Glasgow's main civic building, the City Chambers, is built according to the award-winning design of William Young.
1888The International Exhibition opens at Kelvingrove Park.
1896Opening of the Glasgow Underground.
1898People's Palace opened on Glasgow Green.

Thomas Lipton founds Lipton Ltd in Glasgow. The company was to become a household name in the business of selling tea, coffee and other provisions in a vast empire of retail outlets.

1899Jamaica Street Bridge re-opens after further widening.
20th Century
1900Glasgow reaches its peak of industrial production and is the major contributor to Scottish industry.
1901The International Exhibition and opening of the Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery in Kelvingrove Park.
1902Collapse of stand in Ibrox Stadium (home of Glasgow Rangers).
1905The world-class Glasgow Orpheus Choir is formed.
1911Mitchell Library (to become the largest reference library in Europe) built in North Street.
1913Opening of Hampden Park as home site for Queen's Park Football Club and as the site to be used as national stadium.
1919Glasgow born Arthur Whitten Brown (along with Englishman John W. Alcock) becomes one of the first two aviators to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They make the crossing eight days ahead of Charles Lindbergh.
1927Kelvin Hall opens to the public.
1928Death of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, creator of the Glasgow School of Art, whose innovative style led to the Art Nouveau movement in Britain.
1935"No Mean City: A Story of the Glasgow Slums" is published.
1938Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park.
1939Cosmo Cinema built by George Singleton to cater for Continental films (later to be known as the Glasgow Film Theatre).
1947East Kilbride village becomes the basis of a large building project to accommodate Glasgow overspill.
1949Blaze in Grafton's gown shop in Argyle Street kills 13 shop assistants.
1956Cumbernauld to the north of the city is built to accommodate Glasgow overspill.
1958On the 11th July 1958 Peter Manuel hanged in Barlinnie Prison, Riddrie, Glasgow. He had been convicted of the murders of 7 people and later confessed to a further 3 murders.
1960Cheapside Street whisky warehouse blaze kills 19 firemen.
1962Livingston town to the east of the city built to accommodate Glasgow overspill

Last tram in the City ran on the 4th of September, following the official fareweel from the people of Glasgow when a quarter of a million of them gathered in the streets in torrential rain to wave good-bye to the last of the "caurs".

St Andrews Halls virtually destroyed by fire.

1963Opening of the Clyde Tunnel by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to link the north and south parts of the city under the River Clyde.
1966Formation of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) by the amalgamation of: John Brown's, Connell's, Fairfield's, Stephen's, and as an associate - Yarrow's.
1967Glasgow Celtic Football club enter the Guinness Book of Records on 25th May by beating Inter Milan 2-1 in the final of the European Cup in Lisbon, Portugal. By beating the odds in Europe's premier footballing competition they become the:
  • first British team to win the European Cup;
  • first 'Non-Latin' team to win the European Cup;
  • first team to win the European Cup with home-grown players;
  • first team to complete a 'clean sweep' of every competition they entered in one year (including the 1967 BBC 'Quiz Ball').
1968Great January gale. Severe damage sustained in many parts of the City.

James Watt Street furniture factory blaze kills 20 people.

1970Kingston Bridge carrying the M8 motorway built to cross the Clyde at Anderston.
1971On the 2nd of January stairway 13 at Ibrox Football Stadium collapses as outgoing fans try to return to watch the game as a late goal is scored. The devastating death toll reached 66, most dying as the result of crushing, with a further 145 injured.

Erskine Bridge opened by HRH Princess Anne.

Clarkston Gas explosion kills 20 people.

1972Glasgow Rangers win the UEFA European Cup Winners' Cup, beating Moscow Dynamo 3-2 in an exciting final in Barcelona.
1973SNP candidate Margo MacDonald produces a major political shock when she is elected as Member of Parliament for Govan.
1983Opening of the world famous Burrell Collection by Her Majesty The Queen in its purpose built gallery in Pollok Country Park.
1985Opening of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.
1988Glasgow hosts the National Garden Festival attracts 4.3 million visitors.
1990Glasgow marks its reign as Cultural Capital of Europe with a year long festival of over 3,000 events and the opening of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Glasgow International Airport adopts an “open skies” policy allowing it to develop its role as Scotland’s Gateway Airport.

The majestic QE2 (Queen Elizabeth 2) returns to the river Clyde to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cunard Steam Ship Company.

1993Opening of the new St Mungo’s Museum- the UK’s only Museum of Religion - sited appropriately on Cathedral Square next to the city’s finest historic 13th century cathedral.
1996Greater Glasgow Tourist Board & Convention Bureau and Clyde Valley Tourist Board merge to form Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley Tourist Board.
1996Glasgow puts together a sustained city-wide Festival of Architecture and Design, the largest ever of its kind, and covering a four-year period. The celebrations commence with the Glasgow Festival of Visual Arts 1996, which comprise:

The opening of the Gallery of Modern Art in the former Stirling’s Library.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the largest retrospective exhibition of this designer-architect ever held.

The first Glasgow International Festival of Design.


Opening of new £38 million Clyde Auditorium as a satellite addition to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre.

1999Glasgow celebrates its reign as UK City of Architecture and Design 1999.

Glasgow Guide website launched.

21st Century
 2001Glasgow Guide website visits exceeds 1 million.
 2002Final of UEFA's Champion's League Football competition, the world's premier club football event, held at Hampden Park in Glasgow. On May 15th 2002, Real Madrid edge out Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in a nail-biting game.
 2003Final of World Bowl XI held at Hampden Park. On a warm June evening German NFL teams Frankfurt Galaxy and Rhein Fire contest the most important American Football event held outside the US.

Up to 80,000 Glasgow Celtic fans journey to Seville in Spain to watch there team narrowly beaten by Porto in the final of the UEFA Cup. Celtic fans are widely congratulated on their exemplary behaviour and win both UEFA and FIFA fair play awards.


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