Skip Navigation / Jump to Content



Second City of The Empire: 1830s to 1914

Everyday Life

Public Services

By Irene Maver

Design for Kelvingrove Park Glasgow's public service provision grew rapidly between the 1830s and 1914. Municipal electoral reforms of the 1830s, together with wholesale police restructuring in 1846, created more favourable circumstances for administrative expansion under the single co-ordinating authority of the Town Council. The territorial extension of the city from 1846 also meant that Glasgow's traditional burgh identity altered substantially. Part of the city's modern, cosmopolitan image was the acquisition of prestigious municipal assets such as Kelvingrove Park (1852) and the Art Galleries (1856).

James Morrison Gale More recreational facilities followed as the century progressed. The problems associated with continuing population growth and the recurrence of epidemic diseases, notably cholera and typhus, demanded concerted social action. Of all the 19th century projects for promoting community well-being, none caught the public imagination more than the opening of the Loch Katrine waterworks by Queen Victoria in 1859. The loch is situated in the spectacular scenery of the Perthshire Highlands some 55 kilometres from Glasgow. Constructing the waterworks was an expensive but innovative feat of civil engineering and represented a potent symbol of civic pride and regeneration.

Pinkston Power Station Loch Katrine replaced private water enterprises dating from the 1800s and its success inspired new municipal endeavours. The gas supply came under civic control in 1869, three years after the inauguration of the City Improvement Trust, one of the most ambitious slum-clearance projects in Europe. At the same time public health administration was extended. The acquisition of the electricity supply and tramways system during the 1890s further consolidated Glasgow's international reputation as a "model municipality". By 1914 the city was the largest municipal employer in the United Kingdom, outside London, with some 15,000 staff serving over a million inhabitants.

Quick Search

Photo Album

You have 0 images in your photo album.

View Photo Album

Log-In (Optional)

Not a user? Register now for FREE!

Other Options