Well it was our last full day in Glasgow and we decided to wander over to The People’s Palace as it is a walkable distance from our apartment on the east end of the city. The People’s Palace is located in the Glasgow Green, a large 136-acre urban park along the river Clyde and within walkable distance of downtown. Its center piece is the Palace and attached Winter Gardens, highlighted by the incredible Doulton Fountain.
It is the cities social history museum and walks you through Scottish life with glimpses of Glaswegians at home, work and leisure, reflecting how things have changed over the decades since 1750 too present. It’s an interesting rear view of how difficult life had been not that long ago to modern-day times. One of the museum exhibits claimed that 50% of homes here didn’t have indoor bathrooms as late as 1965. The city had a wash-house called The Steamie where the women met daily to do their laundry as documented in the exhibits and remained open until 1985. Nights out were dancing at the famous Barrowland Ballroom an escape from the crowded tenement homes where large, multi generational families would exist in a single room home.
Out front of the Palace is the Doulton Fountain which is the largest terracotta fountain in the world. It was gifted to the city in 1888 after the International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry by Sir Henry Doulton to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. A statue of her sits on top overlooking her British empire of Canada, Australia, India and South Africa.
The Winter Gardens (a large Victorian green house) were closed for renovations so we headed through the park to walk downtown again. We stopped at a number of pubs along the way, our first the Tolbooth which is a local haunt of older, blue-collar Scots that meet here for a pint to discuss the day’s news. We met some characters here, one an older couple that were on the second day of celebrating their 20th anniversary- a second marriage for both. We wandered some more and made a point to find a pub every hour or so to take in the atmosphere and try a pint of the local beers.
Starting at the museum to understand the difficulties of life just a while back to the juxtaposition of walking downtown Glasgow and its vibrant modern-day life shows how far the Scots have come. The city is bustling everywhere with stylish students and well dressed professionals hurrying throughout the streets, we were amazed at how vibrant and active this ancient but modern city is.
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