Annual General Meeting

Palace’s Birthday

To mark the 122nd anniversary of the opening of the People’s Palace/Winter Gardens, the Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green will be holding a commemoration event this Wednesday:

People's Palace postcard

11.00am to midday, Wednesday, 22nd January 2020,
at the People’s Palace, Glasgow Green.

There will be a designer-cake for the event, plus music and short contributions from speakers. If you’re free, please come along.

Keep an eye out for further details on our Facebook page:

Welcome to the Friends

Our mission is to care, renew and advocate for The People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green. We aim to preserve and enhance The People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green – they are important havens within the city of Glasgow, open to all where people can freely enjoy iconic buildings, green space, and heritage, and gather with others.

In our vision, this great outdoor space and the jewel in its crown, The People’s Palace & Winter Gardens, will forever be a park of the highest level of excellence, open to all, supported by stewardship and working in partnership with Glasgow City Council.

This is a pivotal time for Glasgow Green, the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. People involved with the Friends group come from all walks of life and from different communities across the city. If you want to be part of this, be a Friend, join us!

Messages on our birthday

People’s Palace 122nd birthday, 22 January 2020
Messages from people who could not be with us:
From actor John Cairney and his wife Alannah O’Sullivan. Both were very active in the 1990 campaign to help the People’s Palace.

Unfortunately, Alannah and I can’t be with you.
We genuinely wish you and all at the People’s Palace a deserving 122nd Happy Anniversary! The People’s Palace for me growing up nearby in the East End made it a very special place indeed, and I was grateful for it. It still belongs to the People of Glasgow as it speaks for all of us, not only by its longevity and continued credibility, but for fully representing the beating heart of the city.
John Cairney

From Bill Kidd MSP, who was a Friend of the People’s Palace 1987-1992 and has rejoined in support:
Due to Parliamentary duties I will be unable to join all those in attendance, however I send all best birthday wishes to the People’s Palace and to all of the Friends down the years who have helped in many and various ways to keep this fantastic venue relevant to the City of Glasgow and its people.
Bill Kidd MSP
Glasgow Anniesland
(former member of Workers City)
From John Mason, MSP:
‘I am delighted that there is an event like this to mark the birthday of this significant building.  In the constituency I cover in the East End, we do not have a huge number of museums or traditional tourist attractions.  That is why I am so proud to be the MSP for Glasgow Green, including the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens, and Templetons.  These are buildings Glasgow can be proud of and we need to do all we can to preserve them and put them to the best possible use for future generations.  Thank you to all who have put today’s event together and for all the work you do for our local area.’
 John Mason
MSP for Glasgow Shettleston

From Sandra White MSP, Glasgow Kelvin
Sandra lodged the following parliamentary motion in recognition of the 122nd anniversary of the People’s Palace.
Title: People’s Palace Celebrates 122nd Anniversary
Motion Text:
That the Parliament celebrates the 122nd anniversary of the opening of the People’s Palace at Glasgow Green; notes that it is home to a collection of objects, photographs, prints and film, which give a unique view into how Glaswegians lived, worked and played in years gone by through to the present day, and commends all of those involved in securing this wonderful venue for generations to come, in particular, the Friends of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, who have ensured that the People’s Palace and its artefacts are safeguarded and celebrated.
As the Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green is a ‘friends of parks group’, we invited other Friends of Parks, some of whom promised to come. Others, such as
From Duncan Speirs, Friends of Victoria Park, wrote:
Due to work commitments I will not be able to attend. My apologies, I wish the event much success and all the best on this celebratory occasion, may there be many more.
Meantime take care
Kind regards
Duncan Speirs, Friends of Victoria Park
There have been many birthday celebrations for the People’s Palace over the years. In 1998, musician Eileen Farrelly came to play for the 90th birthday party when she was part of the Glasgow Parks Orchestra, formed to play at the Garden Festival and in other venues. She was here again with her fiddle today.
The poet, Christie Williamson came to read a poem for the occasion.
The eminent composer and flautist, Eddie Macguire, who has played with his group, The Whistlebinkies in the Winter Gardens and has premiered some of his works there, also came to play some music at the event.
A cake with the Friends of the People’s Palace Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green logo was cut and enjoyed by the company, with special thanks to the Glasgow Life and Cordia staff who facilitated the event.


Seven facts about Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green was featured in this great article on ‘Glasgow Live’ on 30/11/19.

They list seven intriguing facts you might not know about the 146 acre public space next to the River Clyde, which attracts around 2 million visitors per year, and has played host to some of the most important historical events in Glasgow.

Meeting – November 2019

The next meeting of the Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 28th November 2019 at Calton Heritage, 423 London Road, Glasgow.

Glasgow Green Timeline

13 January, Feast of St Mungo, patron saint of Glasgow who first named the settlement Glas Chu, ‘the dear Green place’.

17 January, birthday of Matt McGinn of the Calton (1928-1977) whose ashes rest in the Winter Gardens

19 January 1736 Birthday of James Watt

22 January (1898) opening of the People’s Palace ‘for ever and ever’.

17 March, Feast of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. People went to Flesher’s Haugh to gather shamrock.

4 April 1817 Birthday of Hugh Macdonald (1817 – 1860), author of Rambles Round Glasgow; monument on the Green

30 April The day that women went to Flesher’s Haugh to collect Yarrow, a love charm in preparation for Beltane.

May 1765. James Watt, taking a Sabbath stroll on Glasgow Green, worked out the principle of the separate condenser and the Industrial Revolution followed.

1 May / Beltane. Women traditionally went to the Green to wash their faces in the early morning dew.

The traditional May Day march was celebrated on Glasgow Green for most of the 20th century

29 June Feast day of Sts Peter and Paul, and the start of the Glasgow Fair, inaugurated 1190 and traditionally the wettest fortnight of the year.

18 July Feast day of St Thenew, mother of St Mungo

1 August (1806); anniversary of the Battle of Aboukir. Foundation stone laid for Nelson’s Monument on the Green.

5 August (1810) Nelson’s Monument struck by lightning. See John Knox painting, Kelvingrove.

25 August 1819 Death day of James Watt

30 August 1820. Execution of radical weaver, James ‘Purley’ Wilson (1760-1820) on Glasgow Green for High Treason.

3 September 1787. Six striking weavers from Calton, killed, many others injured, on Glasgow Green. Ken Currie murals commissioned to commemorate bicentenary, 1987.

7 October 1876 Samian ware bowl, Roman, 3rd or 4th century found on Flesher’s Haugh

1 November All Saints Day. Templeton Carpet Factory Disaster, (1899) 29 women and girls killed.

5 November Guy Fawkes night. Traditional fireworks on Glasgow Green. Also the birthday of Guy Alfred Aldred (1886 – 1963) of the Bakunin Press and Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation who did much of his teaching work on Glasgow Green. Portrait in the People’s Palace collections.

30 November Feast day of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland and death date of Red Clydesider John Maclean (1879-1923) who had many support meetings on Glasgow Green.

6 December Feast day of St Nicholas, Patron of Provand’s Lordship, Aberdeen, Greece, Bari and elsewhere, whose symbols, the three balls of the pawnbroker’s sign, were all too well known in Glasgow. The People’s Palace has a pawnbrokers sign amongst its collection of shop signs.

25 December-3 January 1745-6. Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s army camped on Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green in the News

A look at coverage of the Green in the news archives, from 1853 to 1899

Glasgow Constitutional 16 July 1853 Glasgow Fair on Glasgow Green

Hylton’s Royal Menagerie, Glasgow Fair. 10am – 10pm. Lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, hyenas and howling wolves, with birds,beasts and monsters of the deep. + brass band. Pro bono publico

Paisley Herald 27 March 1858 Glasgow Green in Danger

Letter from IRLG against coal mining on the Green. ‘The old Unreformed Town Council would have been ashamed to have anything to do with such a job….the present Council…the only one in the kingdom capable of perpetrating such a barbarism as wilfully spoiling a public park, and that park the ancient Green of Glasgow, used by our forefathers for ages back.’

Glasgow Herald 29 June 1862 Glasgow Green on a summer Sabbath day.

Many thousands of people were to be seen on the Green. About six o’clock the assemblages were immense, yet everybody appeared to conduct themselves with propriety and good order. Large numbers…were stretched out on the grass, and evidently enjoying sound sleep and rest in the open air. Larger numbers were seen to be crowding round the various preachers or debaters – for about a dozen or a score of orators were holding forth on a variety of topics….it is certainly a good thing that so many poor people ae thus drawn to the open air from many of those ill-ventilated and confined dwellings in the Saltmarket and wynds of the city.

Glasgow Morning Journal 8 May 1865 Spanish Circo & Hippodrome Company

Troupe of 30 Equestriennes and 40 brilliant horsemen + 60 animals performing on Glasgow Green

Glasgow Evening Post 21 March 1867 Improvements on the Green

Lately, these have included new and suitable roads, lit with gas lamps at night, numerous seats for invalids, several gravitational water fountains, trees, shrubs, flowers. Upper Suspension Bridge now free on Sundays; pontage may be removed on other days as well.

Large common sewer now under construction on the Green to drain the lowest parts of Bridgeton. Runs from the river near the Gymnasium, along the Green, John Street, Muslin Street, Hosier Street, past the Glasgow Jute Company’s works to the London Road. Size: 4 x 6 feet interior, constructed of brick, depth of 19 feet. 8000- 10000 people employed.

 Road to be constructed, Washing House to Allan’s Pen.

Glasgow Evening Citizen 5 April 1870 Glasgow Green Vigilance Committee

Social meeting of the Glasgow Green Vigilance Committee in Mr Ancell’s restaurant, Glassford Street. Papers connected with the late Green Encroachment case, inclosed in a box bearing a suitable inscription, handed to the Custodiers, Councillor James Moir and Mr William Smeal. Income / expenditure £368.1s. 1d. Moir: “as long as he had a tongue he would strike the oppressors of his poor brethren”

Glasgow Herald 13 March 1871 Glasgow Green Improvements

‘The relegation to another locale…of the infant prodigies, fat boys, Hibernian giants, speaking fish, “poor players”, circuses and waxworks, with their surroundings of nut barrows, shooting alleys, and voluble “Cheap Johns”, accustomed to congregate in this neighbourhood’. [Jail Square, foot of Saltmarket] The railing of the Green will be carried forward, and the distance between it and the Court Houses reduced at the entrance.  Avenue to be built to Nelson’s Monument, the breadth being 40 feet. The Monument will stand in a central place, having a diameter of 200 feet. Drives will thence branch off towards Charlotte Street and the river. A double row of poplars will be planted the entire length of the principal avenue, that stretching from Charlotte Street to the Clyde by a single row. Shrubbery will be planted in the railed-off space facing Greendyke Street and a continuous belting of young trees will then skirt “The People’s Park” from the extreme east to the western entrance at the Court Houses.

Edinburgh Evening News 26 September 1876 Glasgow Green Disturbances

Meeting in the Mission Hall, Saltmarket last night. The notorious Peter McGowan, the anti-Popery lecturer and several other well known Green preachers talked against each other. Two policemen sent for.

Glasgow Herald 13 October 1876 Roman Bowl (Samian ware) found in Glasgow Green.

Letter by Aesica. The bowl was found flat on its bottom, as if carefully put down – no chip, abrasion or other indication of accident. Suggestion that a Roman cavalryman may have been watering his horses at the Clyde, laid the bowl down and lost it.

Glasgow Herald 19 August 1878 Demonstration on Glasgow Green against begging by Nuns.

 “A great meeting of protestants” held on Glasgow Green ‘to petition the Magistrates to enforce the law against begging by nuns’. 1.5 hour meeting of 1000 – 1500 people.

Dundee Evening Telegraph 12 November 1878 Unemployed on Glasgow Green

Meeting of 2000 men, largely unemployed labourers.

Glasgow Evening Post 24 June 1879 Flowers

Eastern Police Court case, 20 boys on charges of pulling flowers or damaging shrubbery on Glasgow Green. 5/- or 4 days imprisonment. Over the last 4 days, 40 men, boys and girls in court charged with these offences.

Glasgow Herald 4 May 1880 Party Riots on Green

Sunday riot started by John McIntyre, the “orator” whose connection with the People’s Park is pretty well known. Disturbances 3 – 7pm.

Glasgow Herald  3 June 1881 Damage by the Glasgow Agricultural Society:

‘The weather turned out unfavourable and so much damage was done to the Green as to deprive the inhabitants of the east end the privilege of using it for the whole season after the show took place. On this occasion, the Green had been damaged to a great extent, and the inhabitants had complained very bitterly indeed of the condition in which it had been put by the show…..Mr Richmond was never more astonished in his life. It was a perfect quagmire, and it would be a mystery to him if all the efforts of Mr McLellan and his staff could put that part of the Green in a favourable condition by the time it was required for the show next year.’

According to the Lord Provost: ‘It must be apparent that if they were to have shows of cattle for the inhabitants, they must provide a place for them’.

+ debate on by laws and free speech on the Green

Glasgow Herald 10 May 1882 Public meeting anent the use of the Green

First Ward Committee in the Bridgeton Temperance Institute “to protest against the annual granting of the Green to the Glasgow Agricultural Society for their show”. “The public had now suffered for years from…the annual destruction of Glasgow Green….some years ago there had been a good – going law plea in reference to it….The Town Council has been nibbling the boundaries of the park – cutting off two or three yards – while now they were year after year shutting up acre upon acre – not for the purposes of benefitting the citizens of Glasgow – but for the purpose of giving a present to the Glasgow Agricultural Society or Club …[shows] should not be held at the expense of “The People’s Park” and to the detriment of the enjoyment of the citizen’s children for six moths of every year”. Three resolutions passed to go to the Council and reports on the condition of the ground to be made

Dundee Evening Telegraph  29 June 1882 Democratic Federation

Open air meeting on Glasgow Green last night. Mr Webster, Unitarian minister spoke on the abolition of the House of Lords, dis-establishment of the Church of Scotland and the nationalisation of the land.

Aberdeen Evening Express 30 June 1884 Suicide on Glasgow Green

Man, 28 years old, found dead at the foot of Nelson’s Monument yesterday morning. Boots missing (taken off by some of the Green prowlers). Bottle of chloroform nearby; camphor in his hat.

Aberdeen Evening Express 17 February 1886 Boomerang demonstration

Billy, an Australian Native appearing at Crouch’s Palace of Varieties gave a demonstration of boomerang throwing at Nelson’s Monument.

Greenock Telegraph 3 September 1887 Great Jubilee Fete

Arrangements for Fete 10 September for thousands of school children. 2 balloons will ascend, 8000 prizes contested for and refreshments distributed to the children. Cooke’s Circus from Greenock will perform gratuitously.

Edinburgh Evening News 6 July 1888 Coal Under Glasgow Green

Glasgow Town Council. Mr Paterson, proposal to mine coal on the Green, estimated value £60,000 or £70,000. Treasurer Richmond, in the interests of the fund of the Common Good, supported the proposal but it was hotly contested; not pressed to a division.

Edinburgh Evening News 9 September 1890 H A Long

A Vigilance Committee to watch over and preserve the Green as “a place of social intercourse, recreation, interchange of thought and free discussion” formed, following the prosecution of Harry Alfred Long, the well-known Protestant lecturer, for alleged obstruction at the entrance to Glasgow Green

Glasgow Herald 31 January 1891 Report by Sir James Marwick, Town Clerk on Glasgow Green.

20 folio page report on the legal status of Glasgow Green.

2. The lands known as Mildamhead, Peatbog and the Dassie Green, which appear to have formed part of the ancient common lands of the burgh, were sold by the Council in 1383 for the relief of its necessity, but were re-acquired by the Council subsequent to 1662 and now form part of the Green…and the common good.

5. Act 33, George III, c124, passed in 1793, empowered the Council to sell or otherwise dispose of certain specified portions of the Green…..the statutory powers which the Act confers have not been hitherto exercised to the full extent.

6. Feuars in Monteith Row have no special powers, privileges or rights over any portion of the Green and stand in relation to it in the same position as do other citizens of Glasgow.

7. Interdict obtained in 1869 against the Council determined nothing but simply suspended the operations…till the questions raised were judicially decided.

8. The Council is entitled to work or lease the coal, fire clay and other minerals under the Green…as not to injure the surface area or create nuisance…..such working must necessarily depreciate the capital of the common good, the net profit so derived should be applied primo loco to the extinction of the municipal debt of the city.

Dundee Evening Telegraph 3 April 1893 Encroachment on Glasgow Green

Mass meeting of citizens held on Glasgow Green on Saturday to protest against the proposed roadway through that park. Green Defence Fund to be raised to oppose the proposal if necessary, in Courts of Law

Kirkintilloch Herald 21 September 1898 Glasgow Green Debates

Dundee Evening Telegraph 25 January 1899 Tidal Weir, Glasgow Green Messrs Morrison & Mason’s contract held up during the last 4 months by a series of almost uninterrupted floods. Great spate following the snow storm last week.

Glasgow Green Film Night

7pm, Thursday 7 November 2019

The Washing Green near Templeton’s Carpet Factory c1950

Glasgow Green is Scotland’s oldest public park and not surprisingly, there are many songs, poems and stories about it.

On this special evening, we will be looking at films supplied by the National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive at the Kelvin Hall. These include two full- length short films: From Glasgow Green to Bendigo (1961, on the world-wide operation of Templeton Carpets) and The Green of Glasgow (1962, produced for the Schools Museum Service and used as a teaching aid on the history of the Green up until the 1990s.)

Admission is free, so bring your popcorn and enjoy a great Glasgow night out!

Duration: 90 minutes

A Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green event

Venue: Calton Heritage and Learning Centre 423 London Road, Glasgow, G40 1AG

7pm, Thursday 7 November 2019

Meeting – October 2019

The next meeting of the Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 24th October 2019 at Calton Heritage, 423 London Road, Glasgow.