The Glasgow Guide

Charles Rennie Mackintosh New Hill House Pink Panel


THE Author has taken an interest in George Square and its Statues for many years. In early days, when attending College in the High Street, he had almost daily to pass through this Square, and the questions often recurred to his mind, “What had these men done whose statues are in the Square? Who dwelt in the houses around? and, Whose names do the streets bear?” The same questions will arise in the minds of many, both young and old; and this book is an attempt to answer them. It cannot but be profitable, for the young more particularly, to know something of those who have gone forth before them from these streets and distinguished themselves in the ranks of life.

Some years ago he contributed a series of articles to the Evening Times, “Meditations in George Square,” and so many expressed an interest in them, that he was encouraged to extend these in the few leisure hours which he has amid other duties. They might not now have seen the light but for the fact that there was the press of Messrs. Aird and Coghill in the East-End Exhibition, in which he had a part. This induced him to put the Sketches into print during the period of the Exhibition. It is hoped that, among other good results, the book will prove a suitable memorial of an undertaking so successful, in which so many of his neighbours and fellow-citizens were interested.

He wishes here to express the regret he shares with many that the beautiful statue of the late Dr. Norman Macleod is not also in this Square along with those of our other great men. The old motto of the city was “Let Glasgow Flourish by the Preaching of the Word;” and it would have been only right that whilst there are within it representatives of commerce, war, statesmanship, science, literature and travel, there should also be the statue of one who represented so well the Church and the country.

He is indebted to Mr. Munro, Depute Town Clerk, and other city officials for information kindly given.

He has put himself to some trouble to get suitable illustrations. Some of these, received from the friends named in the book, are entirely new, and very interesting. They have been photographed by Messrs. Brinkley & Stevenson, Regent Gallery, and transferred by process plate with excellent result. The statue of Burns has been re-drawn by Mr. W. F. Brown.

The short history of the Square in relation to the growth of Glasgow has led him to give a sketch of the city as it was a hundred years ago, and to bring under review many of those who walked the “plainstanes” in days gone by. The changes upon our city since then are many and striking. So great has been the progress that it cannot be doubted that they will be still greater during the next hundred years. The question may well arise, What like will Glasgow then be?

          “Who’ll press for gold each crowded street,
              A hundred years to come?
          Who’ll tread yon church with willing feet,
              A hundred years to come?
          Pale, trembling age, and fiery youth,
          And childhood with his brow of truth,
          The rich and poor, on land and sea,
          Where will the mighty millions be,
              A hundred years to come?

          “We all within our graves shall sleep
              A hundred years to come:
          No living soul for us will weep
              A hundred years to come;
          But other men our land will till,
          And others then our streets will fill,
          And other’s lips will sing as gay,
          And bright the sunshine as to-day,
              A hundred years to come.”

                                                                      T. S.


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