Let’s go for a walk through the centre of this great city and discover how it became the British Empire’s ‘Second City’.
Three hundred years ago the wider Glasgow area was mostly countryside, with the Cathedral at its centre. In the 1500s, when Scotland became a Protestant country, the city began to change. Lucrative pilgrimages to Glasgow that had long been made by Roman Catholics came to an end, replaced by tobacco from America. (To listen to the story of mediaeval Glasgow, search VoiceMap for my ‘Glasgow Through the Ages’ tour).
On this walking tour, you’ll hear the story of how Glasgow went from surviving to thriving, transitioning from the tobacco trade, to cotton and, later, heavy engineering, to eventually become the burgeoning ‘Second City’ of the Empire. How did these merchants become wealthy beyond our imaginings? Slavery.
We’ll explore Glasgow’s roles in slavery and its abolition while we walk the streets of the Merchant City district, discovering how the city developed from the 1600s until today. Everywhere you turn, from George Square to the Royal Exchange Square, you’ll encounter the wealth of Glasgow’s merchants, written in stone.
On this tour, you’ll also learn:
• Why there is a mini Statue of Liberty in George Square
• Who the 18 year-old who rocked Glasgow with scandal and died in New York was
• Where the building for decrepit merchants over 50 can be found
• Why there is a traffic cone on the head of Duke Wellington’s statue
Our walk will take about an hour and a half, unless you decide to stop at one of the coffee shops along the way, many of which have been part of the social fabric of the city since the 1700s.