Glasgow City Chambers

Glasgow’s Landmarks TourLength : 5 Minutes 45 Seconds

Right in the heart of Glasgow, the East side of George Square is dominated by the strikingly grand presence of Glasgow City Chambers.

Gordon Urquhart, architectural historian and conservator of Glasgow City Heritage Trust, reopens our eyes to the full splendour of a building which is so dominant that we almost take it for granted.

Glasgow City Chambers was built to a competition winning design by architect William Young between 1882 and 1888, and it was certainly designed to impress. At that time Glasgow was second city of the British Empire, second only to London in size and importance.

So the new civic centre was located in the heart of the city, close to hotels and the new railway station. The scale and expense of the grand scheme fired the imagination of Glasgow people long before the building appeared above ground. Crowds of more than 600,000 turned out for laying of the foundation stone.

The building, which was opened by Queen Victoria in August 1888, has continued to fire imaginations. Entering the building you can see why. The bigger of the two marble staircases is so grand it has featured in many movies: Glasgow City Chambers doubling for the Vatican, Grand Central Station New York and the Kremlin.