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The Clyde from the Source to the Sea
Chapter V. Parks


Glasgow is well supplied with parks. The Green, bordering the river above the bridge, has long been a favourite place of recreation for the citizens and for assemblies of a civil or military character. More than a hundred years ago Wilson gives us a picture of a review on the “Green:”

“The Clydesdale heroes bright in arms are seen
To rival Rome’s in force and awful mien;
While, robed in red, fierce flame the lengthened lines,
From their bright arms a dreadful splendour shines;
While tubes that distant drive the death unseen,
Or gleaming swords flash terror o’er the Green.”

And since the first enrolment of a volunteer force in 1795, we have had many displays of the citizen-soldiers’ drill, and the evolutions of the yeomanry, together with the military displays of the “regulars.”

The Kelvingrove or West End Park was laid out by Sir Joseph Paxton about 1854, and is beautified by walks and drives along the slopes rising up to Park Terraco, from which extensive views of the valley of the Clyde can be had. Indeed on a fairly clear day the eye can range from Pen More in Glen Dochart to Goatfell in Arran, whilst the Dunoon and Lock Eck hills bound the western horizon.

From the Queen’s Park on the south side' of the river a complete and comprehensive view of the Clyde valley can be had, with Glasgow lying stretched around, curtained by a haze of smoke from its innumerable chimneys, both domestic and manufacturing. When the smoke nuisance is abated in Glasgow the visitor will then be able to admire the regularity and handsomeness of its street architecture. At present lie may study individual buildings, but no fine vista opens out as it might do if the atmosphere were clearer than it usually is in the busier part of the city.

From the Alexandra Park at the east end of the city fine views of the Clyde valley as fail as Tinto can lie had, the latter conical hill standing out distinctly thirty miles to the east.


Tinto, near the source of the Clyde.

The districts of Govan and Partick have also now their parks, showing the increase of population in the outskirts.

The parks are made' attractive to the citizens and visitors by a varied and tasteful ornamentation of shrubs and flowers, the latter arranged in a harmony of colour which delights the eye; whilst in summer bands of music at intervals perform selections from suitable stands around which crowd the old and young, the grave and gay.

At the present time the lower part of the Kelvingrove Park is being covered over with the buildings for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888. The domes and pinnacles of the temporary home of the industrial products of our nineteenth-century civilization and mechanical skill rise above the long line of buildings which are grouped almost at the feet of the University on Gilmourhill, whose high tower with its now finished spire grandly towers over all. This is a fitting association of the halls of learning and the products of the workshop, the home of philosophy with its cultured professors and eager students, and the courts of the Exhibition filled with the products of the artificer, around which circulates the stream of active life. Here we see once again, after more than a century has passed away, that association of the college and the workshop which led to such mighty consequences in that far-back time when .James Watt in his little workshop within the privileged walls of the old college in High Street, in repairing the old Newcomen engine of the natural philosophy class, devised the separate condenser, an invention to which so much of this grand industrial collection is due. It seems, therefore, fitting, after so many generations have passed away, during which even the old college has left the grimy shades of the High Street and reared itself wider and grander on the breezy slopes of Gilmourhill, that the industrial products of the world should be spread around it, as if in recognition of its early work in the field of philosophy and science, and of such names as Simpson, Black, Adam Smith, and Watt.


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