History Scotland – The History of the Peoples Palace

The People’s Palace, Glasgow – History Scotland

The excellent article in April’s edition  of History Scotland’s online magazine is reprinted below.  It is well worth a read providing a detailed history of the People’s Palace & Winter Gardens.

Winter Gardens from above 5 February 2021, Peter Morton

“The Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green explain the importance of saving these well-loved historic sites for current and future generations.

The People’s Palace Museum and Winter Gardens, which has served as Glasgow’s social history museum since 1944 is at present only partially open to the public, and has had no investment for the last 20 years. The Friends of the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green were formed in response to the closure of the Winter Gardens when the 20-year life span of its glazing mastic ended on 31 December 2018, resulting in the loss of access to the shared facilities of the Café, toilets and fire escape, as well as the life-giving glories of the Gardens themselves.

Interior, Winter Gardens (2018), Robin Gillett

History of the People’s Palace

The People’s Palace, consisting of museum, reading rooms and winter gardens also serving as a hall for music, was designed to serve the working class people of the east end of Glasgow, built on Glasgow Green and first opened to the public on 22 January 1898. It is a unique institution built on Scotland’s oldest public park. Since the mid-1960s, the future and the very survival of the museum and winter gardens has been brought into question at regular intervals by local authority politicians of all parties.

People’s Palace, snow with Clydesdale horses (1991), Michael Donnelly

The location of the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green is as important as the museum itself. Glasgow Green is even more contested than the People’s Palace. It has been the common grazing ground, bleaching green, meeting, recreation and protest space for the city for over six centuries. Encroachments on the Green, ranging from coal mining to motorway building, have always been strongly resisted. Regular attempts at building on the Green, ranging from a theatre in the 1840s to a hotel in 1990, have always been strongly opposed. The People’s Palace has been the only permitted building, by public assent.

The roles of Glasgow Green

The politics of the time created and have always affected the institution and its collections. Glasgow Green was the terminus for all of the great Reform and Franchise demonstrations of the 19th century and the birth place of Scottish democracy. Each reform achieved was a triumph for the ruling Liberal Party and the People’s Palace was a place-marker for that achievement.

Franchise banners which saw service in 1832, 1867 and 1884 were gifted to the collection. Symbolic items carried in the various Franchise demonstrations: beehives of industry, a model potter’s kiln stuffed with burning rags to “Smoke out the House of Lords!” were among early gifts to the collection. When marking the 21st anniversary of the Representation of the People Act in 1949, former Suffragettes – who had demonstrated on Glasgow Green – decided that the People’s Palace was the place for their memorabilia. 

Reform Bill banner, Glasgow Shipwrights

A history of the demonstrations on Glasgow Green is also an important aspect of Scotland’s political and cultural history. The Green’s radical history can be explored here. When the Fife to Glasgow Miner’s March took place in 1985, their banner was acquired for the museum collections at the end of the march, on Glasgow Green. When the great Black Lives Matter march took place in 2020, sadly, the curatorship of the People’s Palace was so dormant that politicians wrote to Glasgow Life, the body which runs Glasgow Museums, to request that some of the placards be collected.

To contextualise the diverse collection relating to political reform and worker’s rights, a major mural was commissioned in 1987 from the–then very young artist Ken Currie for the dome of the People’s Palace. In eight large canvases, the Glasgow History Mural gives a summarised depiction of 200 years of struggle from the strike of the Calton Weavers in 1787 to 1987, when the last canvas shows a group studying the objects in the People’s Palace, with the aid of oral history to shine light on the past whilst unfurling the banners of the future. The Palace, its collections and Glasgow Green are inseparable.

Outstanding collections

Some people mistakenly think that because the complex was built for the working classes, that only working class history is covered. Nothing could be further from the truth. The People’s Palace has an outstanding collection of about 200 panels of Glasgow stained glass, all of it designed and made in Glasgow, and rescued from demolition sites. The 1981 exhibition, Glasgow Stained Glass won the European Museum of the Year Award and a pdf of the publication, together with one on Glasgow decorative tile work can be read on History Scotland.

Railwayman, by Stephen Adam (1848-1910). One of a series of panels for Maryhill Burgh Halls

The People’s Palace also commissioned a significant body of work from the artist Alasdair Gray (1934-2019) whose Continuous Glasgow Show exhibition in 1978 undoubtedly opened the Winter Gardens after a 16-year closure, and saved the museum from being abandoned as ‘unsuitable’. More can be heard here.

From 1949, when a middle class Glasgow parlour of the 19th century was built to show the contrast with a ‘single-end’ or one-roomed house of the kind where thousands of large Glasgow families were raised, the People’s Palace has shown the contrasts between rich and poor.

At opposite ends of the social scale, one of the earliest and most luxurious Glasgow bathrooms was rescued to contrast with a wooden booth from a Model Lodging House, both of which were still in use in the 1980s. A doll’s house Prefab, made to scale as a Christmas present for a child in the 1950s shows both postwar housing options and the great craft skills present in the society of that time.

Social issues, industry and fine art are often combined in some collections. A good example of this is the decorative Fern or Wardian Case, c1880, made by Andrew Brown, instrument maker to Lord Lister at the Royal Infirmary. This was gifted by Brown’s family in the 1950s, together with examples of the carbolic sprays and other instruments which changed the course of medical history. The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain vase exquisitely painted with a rat, and presented to the Glasgow doctor who managed to contain an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1901, is another.

Wardian Case by Andrew Brown, Tinsmith and Instrument Maker

Scotland Sober and Free, an exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of the Temperance movement in 1979 brought in rare collections covering the Band of Hope, Rechabites, Independent Order of Good Templars and material covering temperance organisations from the local to the international, all with a Glasgow base.

Church history is another important and well-represented factor in the Palace collections, from the stool used by John Wesley when he addressed the crowds on Glasgow Green, to the pulpit seat designed by Daniel Cottier (1838-1891) for his iconic Dowanhill Church in 1866. 

Theatre history is very well represented.

Glasgow is made up of many communities, some of them former independent Burghs, and all are represented in the People’s Palace. For the detail on the holdings for the Burgh of Govan for example, see article full article on History Scotland.

A loss to the city

Sadly, most of these collections have been locked up in storage for 30 years. One of the worst aspects of the current loss has been the closure and interior destruction of the Winter Gardens. This great glass house, one of the glories of Glasgow, is held in great affection by all who know it and has been a popular venue for weddings, concerts, parties and other events. From 1940-45, it was the only place bananas could be seen in Glasgow.

In 124 years, there have been many repair programmes, but none where the plants and palm trees were ripped out and shredded on site, and the floor lifted. Mercifully, after 3 years and 4 months of closure there is still not a broken pane of glass in this allegedly dangerous building and we look forward to the day when it will be repaired, restored and replanted, as the Council has promised. At present, there are no plans in place.

Interior, Winter Gardens November 2021 Whistleblower photograph

The Calton area is still one of the poorest areas of the city, and people who cannot afford to travel need the tropical uplift which the Winter Gardens provide.

We understand that the Burrell Collection “represents a significant milestone in the post-industrial re-invention of Glasgow as a renowned centre of culture” but this should not be at the expense of the rich, interesting and diverse material culture of the people of Glasgow. In the last 40 years, the People’s Palace has languished whilst the Burrell has been built twice.                                                          Glasgow deserves better.

Reprint  of History Scotland article


Con-sultation, In-sultation: A Glasgow Keelie’s View on the People’s Palace

Con-sultation, In-sultation: A Keelie View on the People’s Palace

Even worse than privatising our assets is the Council’s sham called ‘consultation’ with architects-New Practice. Consultation = Pulling the wool over our eyes, their well-used ‘model’. 

Despite the fact of 70,000+ online signatures and a very l-o-n-g established ‘Friends’ support group which includes world experts of renown and generations of museum users, the Council employs New Practice architects to consult 20 voters of Calton ward plus anyone who turns up at the Green on 11th June 2022 – no time given! Not to mention an online questionnaire that fankles you into agreeing the Council’s real ambition for a commercialisation agenda. Are you smelling a whiff of the Chamber’s Potty about our squandered money down the drain?

Keelies know that since 1898, The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens has had a very clear designation – it is a palace for people’s memories and tranquil space for their well-being. Keelies say-there is NO NEED FOR A CONSULTATION – we demand FULL REFURBISHMENT NOW: we know the building – we use the building and we own the building! By historical occupation and use Keelies expect it to remain fully maintained and with free access. No consultation – full investment and re-greening now! And bleaching the integrity out of the museum Collection is yet more council intentional disinvestment of our assets. We all know how that pans out. 

The con-sultation wants us to rank 5 daft words to sum up the Calton! What’s right-rank is that our land and heritage is being spirited away with the culprits pensioned off and not sacked. £68 million for a refurb of the Burrell after only 34 years at the expense of dozens of sports, land, and heritage facilities lost forever. And it’s crumbs for the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, the people’s heritage running on less than a shoestring for the past 124 years!

This con-sultation is a red herring no doubt cloaking greedy wee investors’ interests. The building already has its clear identity well loved by locals and over 200,000+ (2019) world visitors alike. Its purpose dovetails with the ancient history of the ground it stands upon. It is not for sale, not for repurpose and not for reimagining.

Keelies demand that the Council maintains the original brief for the building and gardens and finally invests in its collection and stops dumbing it down. Let’s rise to our duty and preserve the story of our struggles, let’s protect The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, from council privatisation by stealth.
Assume this in-sultation is a con. Beware of Council sca


A Glasgow Keelie’s Visit to the People’s Palace & Child Poverty

In Defence of People’s Palace and Winter Gardens despite the Council £19.7 million funding gap[1].

On a recent visit to the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens Museum I was in the downstairs area only with a disabled person and we were hoping to enjoy the atmosphere of the Winter Gardens but were disappointed as it was closed.

However, I was quite surprised at the displays, the Glasgow-lite version of ourselves which we offer international and local visitors.  Whoever wrote the commentaries has focused on economic prestige but white-washed the social history reality of how it came about. For some reason Glasgow’s 4 Empire Exhibitions 1888, 1901, 1911 and 1938 are thought to merit a wall display. They ‘celebrate the City’s status as Second City of the Empire’. They simply glorified Empire as a golden era ignoring that its success was built on Africa slavery and the corporate looting of India masking oppressive regimes, violence, the bloodshed of estimated 35 million Indians perpetrating utter impoverishment.  A schoolchild would find the content questionable.  

The tour into Glasgow’s social history then descends further into misogyny and how great the Steamie was, a women’s’ place to ‘gossip and laugh’ helping them ‘cope’ as they ‘cleaned the city’s grime off their clothes’, no context of the historical social structures and practices that oppress women. In the Glasgow Fair exhibit the highlight of the ‘anti-slavery booth’ further emphasised the missing context in the previous exhibit. Magically, the jolly Glasgow Fair picture is used to demonstrate the Green’s long history as a place of free speech and political protest! Where were the pikes versus guns of the Radical War 1820 Insurrection and State spies? Where was the Church-State violence against women and others in the Witch trials? Where were the state murders of local weavers who simply tried to combine (unionise) to get a pay rise? Where was the Red Clyde? Where was the Suffragette and Chartists Struggles? What an astounding exhibit this room could be! Just a weird room of dumbed down presentations bleached of any integrity. Where on earth has our Glasgow gone?

Social History (they might not know it) is near the top of the Business and Budget 2021-22, Plan A agenda 2.6 ‘The ongoing legacy of slavery, racism and the Black Lives Matter movement demands a re-examination of Britain’s colonial past and ongoing structural inequality. Whilst the rise in domestic violence during lockdown has brought a sharp focus to violence against women and women’s safety’. One of Glasgow’s Key Priorities in Glasgow Life BUSINESS AND BUDGET PLAN 2021-22[2]  P 12 is to address Glasgow’s historic role in slavery and empire, particularly in relation to the city’s Museum Collection and supporting Glasgow City Council’s anti-slavery motion. Accurate Social History is important because ‘We can learn the lessons of our city’s past to teach us how we can make a better future’, as Glasgow Life inform us.

Screen Scotland run by a BBC subsidiary, located at Kelvinhall is certainly an asset with the Botanics, Kelvingrove, the Hunterian, Riverside and the Science Centre all within walking distance.  A quick glance at the Child Poverty statistics show that a disgraceful 29% of children in Hillhead Ward are living in poverty. But ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and summer holiday clubs, family gatherings and clubs can make use of the 6 extensive high quality Free access public museums and Botanical Gardens and science based spaces there, joining up networks to maximise the quality of life, while growing up in poverty.

In the Calton Ward adjacent to the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens there is a staggering 49% child poverty with 22% unemployed. It has 3 local Free museums. Two are closed with the third in jeopardy, half open. The People’s Palace, run down over several years and closed for a time, is now reopened but its Winter Gardens are closed with its Botanics completely destroyed by the City Council. These Museums are assets not just for the local 49% but for all of us to see ourselves as others see us – they could inspire our young people to reflect their own diverse histories, climate change, natural history and help explain the poverty of the life almost half our local youth experience. It’s surrounding area Calton, Bridgeton and ‘fantasy Legacy area’, Dalmarnock has such high child poverty that Glasgow’s Community Plan 10, Thriving Places, has selected the area as Glasgow’s first ‘Thriving Places Neighbourhood’. Unable to increase incomes, ‘this place-based approach, based on experience and international research, enables positive activities which communities value, to grow, improving the circumstances and opportunities for their children’.  With several primary schools, nurseries and High School just adjacent to the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, 49% child poverty and so poor as to be designated a Thriving Places Neighbourhood, it seems culpable negligence to shut venues, destroy its Botanics and bleach the integrity out of its Museum Collections denying these young people and families access to opportunities intended to act to mitigate the depowering and isolating nature of poverty.  

Councillor choices have definitely been made and it’s clearly not in favour of the East End marginalised communities. City Council talk and no action, hot air. But further, they are brazenly adding to our hopelessness of the promise of a Botanics by its complete removal in order to commercialise the space, whilst the locals who need it to thrive are amongst the poorest in UK. This looks unlawful since it does not help to safeguard the mental health and wellbeing of the people they are paid to safeguard.

The current proposals from the Consultation[3] would not include the options of permanent commercial/ temporary community commercial/ private event hire and probably a restaurant we can’t afford (Q8) if that were not a Council consideration. The fact that a Glasshouse ‘takes a lot to run’ and ‘we need to look at ways to subsidise that’ is to say ‘make it pay for itself’. Surely solar panels, a wind turbine and ground heat pump would be enough. Electric cars got free-of-charge power to run them for years why not this building?  We have already paid for it but Glasgow Life and the Council allocated our money to other museums. They decided to underinvest in the 49% youth that needs it most. Simple.

Despite the youth of Calton being by far, in the greatest need of quality community facilities including Museum collections which are worthy of their lives and which demonstrate to visitors that we value and invest in our youth’s futures, the Councillors have chosen time and again over the years to defer and thereby to disinvest in them and put a new roof here or a new access road there or a full refurb of Burrell or Kelvinhall in fact ignoring the health impact which disinvestment makes to children of the east end. The Thriving Places policy lays this out clearly. With Glasgow life expectancy the poorest in Scotland, including for well-off Glaswegians, and violent crime twice the national average and 36% fuel poverty – rising[4], a social history collection worthy of our folk would contribute to and enrich this dialogue. Whilst it is nice for the 49% to look upon the riches of the Hutton Room in the Burrell if they can afford the fares, the jaw box at the People’s Palace tells them that people like us lived like this, less than 50 years ago. Many of us still remember this. Our plight has been real and seen and through the act of preservation and conservation our existence has not been denied. Put yourself in our place.


Therefore, like a sore skelp any con-sultation about the future of Peoples Palace and Winter Gardens, including asset transfer or full privatisation is the latest attempt to write us out, as clear to us as the current People’s Palace (ground floor) Display has just written us out. The building’s designation has been clear since 1898, therefore you are really consulting on its fiscal future. Green energy is the affordable answer, yet your ALEO commercialisation model for the building persists despite the utter poverty of those it serves.  

There are local experts willing to advise but they are sidestepped by the Councillors/Glasgow Life in favour of architects New Practice. The Councillors have accepted ‘models’ that don’t work, further disadvantaging the 49%: ‘Families! Pay us your taxes to manage your museums and we will let you volunteer to do our job free in your spare time!’ This model rewards themselves by shifting their responsibility back to us – it seems we will all pay twice. And when the volunteers are too exhausted to continue, the facility will become fully privatised accessed by elite who can afford it, not the 49%. 70,000 supporters, experts grounded in the space, plus generations of us, are not welcome, your questionnaire sore skelp attempts to put us back ‘in our place’.

But this is about ‘our place’. The Council threw in this con-sultation just to keep the pot boiling while they shred the trees, concrete the ground, turning-it-PRIVATE. Our lovely Winter Gardens will become commercialised, infested by the ALEO parasite that now lives off the Municipal host, bleeding us dry. We have already paid the council for the upkeep of this building. Museums elsewhere have had disproportionate amounts of that money, by Councillors’ choice.          

Their chosen model sucks out our profits into the partners’ pockets, not ours. They squander it on banquets for visiting dignitaries (see Common Good fund) and by selecting ALEO’s models that don’t work (Ms McConnell CBE words), mismanage our dough by paying Glasgow Life Executives, City Properties and Un-elected Officials enormous salaries (£140,000plus pensions) for running down and giving away our local sports and community facilities.  

Our voice is only heard within the confines of their ‘model’, within their acedemiaspeak and directed towards their predetermined commercial goals. We expect our critical thoughts and opinions will be neatly placed in the appendices of their expensive Report, so why bother? Their crushing disregard reinforces our invisibility- we are less important, our 49% are less respected, not as influential as our Unelected Executives. They invest £millions in flagships elsewhere but not in us, making us aware that our culture, the sum of generations of diaspora, is worth less and is less dignified.  It would make you greet if it didn’t make you so angry.

Commercialisation of the building peppers this questionnaire like red flags, loaded from the start. We have become accustomed to the Councillors violence against us. We have seen them stop at nothing to push this model, demolish whole districts and families (Jaconelli) for a fantasy ‘legacy’ now hollow and empty. The sell-off of a whole golf course for less than the average house price (£100,000) or a Council Executive’s annual salary. Asset strip 60 community facilities to fix their mistakes, demolish schools and sell the land, the list goes on. This model is not sustainable. They white-wash our history by bleaching out its integrity -our social history is simply not safe in their hands. We are not safe in their hands. And multiply this by all UK cities and elsewhere because it’s a familiar story. You are either for it or against it. You cannot say it is just your job to carry it out. How many times have we heard that before tragedy occurs? The system needs removed.

People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green are land and buildings which draws together the sum of all folk such as engineers, sports people, scientists, activists, writers, artists, poets, musicians, crafters and other folk amongst us from the Calton, Glasgow and the World to this place. People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green is our place with a wider network which tries to protect it. This place is not movable or replaceable because the location, the space and time of ‘here’, is where we live.  Despite being employed to safeguard us, this Council’s weapon is neglect and we are under constant attack from it.

The ground at our place, called Glasgow Green, contains the DNA of 1000 years of mass congregation from traditions like washing our faces in the dew on 1st May, to emergency sharing free food soup kitchens with our hungry, to State control the criminal injustice of being publicly murdered by State Execution for asking authority for a fair deal for our children.

The People’s Palace contains the impoverished social bones and artefacts of our ancestors, honoured by repeated visitations of their children and great-grandchildren. Despite neglect hundreds of thousands[5] visit each year. Our Social History artefacts provide visitors with visceral memories of our common upbringing, diverse ancestry, skin colour, language, class, schooling, work, family, religion and political attitudes. This forms our cultural identity, the loss of which leads us to struggle to understand who we are.

Our Winter Garden offers open and free warm shelter from life’s brutalities.  It offers an interpretation of ecology and climate change set within and in contrast to the brutal urbanism of a major post-industrial city. It brings our youth in contact with the reality of the exotic transporting us across the world to imagine those places where grow curious fruits. They are immersed in the warmth and the sensory coddling of the joy of mother earth. Stepping back outside our 49% now have experiences on which to base choices about climate change and world issues.     

Thus The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green presents a necessary root for our existence and reflection of being ‘us’ fulfilling part of our lifeblood of being human. Is it any wonder 70,000 are so protective of it and don’t want it changed?  Our current Collection displays rarely fulfil the museum and greenhouses combined potential to reflect all the facets of ‘history from below’ from society, to climate, landscape, urbanism, memories, history and the State’s apparatus. Engaging with common memories underpins honest comparisons of how we live now and how we ought to live and so this place is crucial.

By contrast, our People’s Palace highlights the discriminating interpretation of our place by Government, Glasgow Life and the Council towards the 49%, the poorest and marginalised of our kin. Our low status blinds them. They do not wish to see us. They experience our objects as sentimental or as unwanted reminders that we exist and our experience is brutality, part of our cultural identity is bleached out of existence by the tool of neglect, ensuring disrepair in order to rationalise and reinforce their decision to erase us. This lack of integrity points to a deep seated aversion to us which drives their fiscal decisions about us. 

By systematically denying meaningful dialogue with our passionate, renowned and dedicated experts they demonstrate their desire to erase our culture and cultural identity. By shredding our Winter Gardens in favour of a commercial space they demonstrate their ambition to pass on to future generations a Capitalist agenda of environmental catastrophe as well as their duplicitous attitude to COP 26 and insincerity to honestly cooperate on urgent world necessities.  And they give themselves awards and honours and promotions for this?       

People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and Glasgow Green represents these themes over centuries. Our actions within Glasgow in this place is spotlighted and the State is repeatedly found unacceptable. A simple look at a banner accuses Authority of perpetuating inequality, or of misogyny or of cruelty. A look at the ‘single-end room’ confirms the wealth inequality society accepts, the segregation and discrimination against the poorest.   Glaswegians reflect upon their individual struggles gazing up into the artefacts of solidarity, powerful banners, flags and lanyards charged with indignation and dripping with the bruises of injustice. These tattered fragments are pointers to the successes we can achieve when we join together seeking justice. These objects direct us towards a hopeful future.  

Therefore A building of two volumes, the People’s Palace and the Winter Gardens explores society and landscape, currently a place of greater potential for climate education than any museum we own.  It is the only museum in Glasgow about Glasgow for Glasgow. Its collection therefore is crucial to our health and wellbeing in all its diversity, to Glaswegians including ex-pats and to Scotland’s future identity. It is necessary for a thriving neighbourhood and crucial for our future, the 49%. Preserving the original remit of Full Free Access to an intelligent collection and a Botanical space would be the responsible route for the Council, starting immediately and without any commercialisation of any part. It is a responsibility we owe to the preservation of our ancestors struggle and our future environment education of all our youth grounding their understanding while preparing them in advance for the vital role they will play for us all, in the very near future.

[1] City Council 2022- 23 Budget: 


[2] https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/media/7176/business-plan-2021-22-gl-board.pdf

[3] https://new-practice.typeform.com/PPWGSurvey?typeform-source=www.glasgowlife.org.uk

[4] https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=35134&p=0

[5]2019 – Visitors numbered 223774  down from 34257  35% on previous year https://asva.co.uk/app/uploads/2021/02/ASVA-Annual-Visitor-Trends-Report-2019.pdf 








A side of the Peoples Palace Song – Billy Connolly Song

The Rutherglen St Eloi to appear for Landemer Day 2022

Glasgow Life has agreed to lend the copy of the Rutherglen St Eloi statue, made for the People’s Palace displays in 1975.

The piece has an important story to tell, not just for Rutherglen, but for the wholesale cultural destruction which took place of all catholic images at the time of the Scottish Reformation of 1560. The first two of the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me’ and ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..’ led to the wholesale smashing of statues and obliteration of devotional paintings in Scotland by the religious reformers. St Eloi, hidden beneath the floor of Rutherglen Parish Church, is a rare survivor. His story is told on the following pages.


When discovered in 1794, the statue was brightly painted as shown in the drawing above.











Photographs by Springburn photographer Willie Graham (1845-1914) taken in 1902  show  the paint and gilding on the statue  intact, after which it was scrubbed to the bare sandstone It is remarkable that a pre-Reformation religious statue survived with its colour intact for 350 years  in Scotland and the piece is unique in this respect. 

Photographs courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.


The copy fibreglass statue was exhibited without colour from 1975. In 1989, a tracing was made in preparation for the Early Glasgow Gallery re-display.


The copy statue was then painted in the colours in which it was discovered and shown in context as a flat-backed altar statue, using materials from other recently-demolished churches in Glasgow:

The original statue is now in the Hamilton Museum collection, following local government reorganisation in 1996. It is not currently on display.

More can be read about Rutherglen Old Parish Church here: https://rutherglenoldparish.org/historical-background-to-the-site-of-rutherglen-old-parish-church/

For the rarity of the St Eloi statue, see Lost Interiors: the Furnishings of Scottish Churches in the Later Middle Ages by David McRoberts (1912-1978) published by the Scottish Catholic Historical Association, 2013, p128

Landemer Day 11th June 2022

Landemer Day 11th June  Main St Rutherglen Gala  Day Starts about 11 am

There will be fundraising stalls, street entertainment and live music as well as kiddies rides, bouncy castles and hopefully the climbing wall to add to the attractions of the day.

 We will be having a stall at the event with  raffle prizes and  giveaways for children  Our stall will be banana themed with banana goodies and replica of Billy Connolly’s  Banana Boots  for photoshoot.  Plus banana themed raffle prizes.

Raffle prizes


Q: Where was the only source of bananas in Glasgow during WW2?
A: The Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green.


The Rutherglen St Eloi to appear for Landemer Day 2022 

Glasgow Life has agreed to lend the copy of the Rutherglen St Eloi statue, made for the People’s Palace displays in 1975.  The piece has an important story to tell, not just for Rutherglen, but for the wholesale cultural destruction which took place of all catholic images at the time of the Scottish Reformation of 1560. The first two of the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me’ and ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..’ led to the wholesale smashing of statues and obliteration of devotional paintings in Scotland by the religious reformers. St Eloi, hidden beneath the floor of Rutherglen Parish Church, is a rare survivor. More information on his story is told in our news page.

St Eloi


Election Hustings – What Future for the People’s Palace and the Winter Gardens

Thursday 14th April at 7:00pm. Calton Heritage & Learning Centre, 423 London Road G40 1AG

Your chance to hear what the candidates have to say and to  ask questions about the future of our local and internationally famous Palace and Winter Gardens.



Easter Sunday – Eggstravanza

Children’s Easter Event – Free Event

Join us on Easter Sunday 17th April 12:30pm  until 3:00pm at the Clyde View Bay Area next to the Blue Bridge on Glasgow Green

Face Painting/ Rickshaw Rides/Goodie bags

All welcome



Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5 St Lukes Saturday 23th April

Thanks to Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 for playing at our People’s Palace Birthday celebration in January. They fair livened up the event.  They have recorded a great song “The Palace” as a tribute to the People’s Palace and you can hear  it if you go along to their gig as part of the Spring Bonanza being held at St Lukes








Below is the link to the song “The People’s Palace

PEOPLES PALACE 21-02-22.wav (dropbox.com)


Millions for the Burrell what about the Winter Gardens! Protest 29th March outside the Burrell Museum

Protest on Tuesday 29th March at 11:00am outside the Burrell Collection. Pollock Park.  We will be joining with Glasgow Against Closure and other community groups to protest at the eyewatering  £69million that the City Council and Glasgow Life has spent refurbishing the Burrell Museum while other venues like the People’s Palace & Winter Gardens (and other City venues) does not have  an investment plan for its future. 

We will be making our views known on the morning of the re-opening of the Burrell please come and join us.

Devastation of the Winter Gardens

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