Dear Green Glasgow: George Square

A Tour of Glasgow's Green Spaces and Parks: George Square

Welcome to a new blog by Student Tours Scotland. This week we're looking into George Square in the first of our Glasgow's parks and green spaces feature.

You may already know that Glasgow has more green space per head than any other place in Europe. This is a fact not to be underestimated. In the City Centre of Glasgow there is very little in the way of green space. In fact, most of the parks in the city centre actually fall under different areas altogether: Garnethill People's Park is in Garnethill; Custom House Quay Gardens is in St. Enochs; Glasgow Green is in Calton; Glasgow Necropolis and Cathedral Square fall under Dennistoun; Cathedral Street Gardens, Rottenrow Gardens and Sculpture Gardens (all within the remit of the University of Strathclyde) come under Townhead and the majesty of George Square is technically the start of the Merchant City. For talkings sake though let's include this as the City Centre as well - many do.

George Square is a fantastic place - it's rich history should be respected as well as enjoyed. It's the centre of the city's public life - the City Chambers is where the council meets; it is home to Remembrance Sunday celebrations; it's seen more protests and strikes than anywhere else in Glasgow and on a sunny day it sees many of the locals flock to sunbathe. 

George Square, Glasgow was laid out in 1781 and is named after (but does not feature) King George III for many reasons. Glasgow loved him but he cost us dearly - a story for another day. At some point the square was decimated. The lovely grass taken up and replaced by horrid red asphalt flooring. Thankfully in 2013 we are finally taking this up and replacing it. But at what cost? You'll have seen from our Facebook and Twitter feeds that this process has not been without it's problems too. After a pathetic competition for a new square look and design it was decided to have a mere overhaul. The square is now currently (July 2013) closed to the public at the sunniest time of year. A fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by the Glaswegian public.

However, hopefully, when the facelift is done, we'll have a square we can love in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. But George Square is so much more than it's look. Next time you're passing through stop by and say hello to Robert Burns, our famous national poet. I also share a birthday with him! Take the time to locate the ship on the globe or to discover the unique layout of the buildings on the west side. Try and find the Statue of Liberty and fear in the knowledge my gran passed to me when I was a child - that the lions of the cenotaph come alive at night and eat the homeless people of the city! I still can't pass by them without showing some form of respect.

There is a surprising amount of hidden monuments in the square all around. The top of Queen Street Station archway peeks out over the horrid building of the hotel in front. There is also the set of olden measurement units lying around the place too. Hopefully when the grass is relaid and the red tarmac is lifted we can finally enjoy George Square as the way it was intended. Until then, you can read more about the square from the PDF on the Glasgow City Council Hertitage Trail pages HERE.