The Clydesiders Trilogy

Glasgow Almanac

The Municipal Buildings,
page 6 of 8

adjoining salons. These main staircases are magnificent in structure and have a most imposing appearance. They are constructed of finely-veined Carrara marble, with rich coloured marbles and alabaster columns and balustrades, Parian cement for the ceilings, and marble panelling on the walls. The tout ensemble from the Council Chamber to the salons is both brilliant and artistic, and worthy in every respect of our great and enterprising city.

It will be remembered that the foundation stone of these magnificent buildings was laid on the 6th October, 1883. When the arrangements for the ceremonial began to be considered, it was felt that an occasion of so much importance might fitly be marked by the presence of royalty, and Her Majesty the Queen and H.R.H. the Prince of Wales were successively approached with this object in view. Unfortunately, however, at that immediate date neither was able to comply with the request. The committee in charge of the arrangements thereupon resolved to fall back on the time-honoured precedent, and to ask the Honourable John Ure, Lord Provost, to undertake the duty, in virtue of his high civic office. His lordship having willingly consented, steps were at once taken to make the day a memorable one, with the result that a civic and masonic procession and a trades procession were arranged to precede the ceremonial in George Square, that event being followed by a grand banquet and other festivities in the evening. All classes in our city took kindly to the great demonstration. Glasgow held high holiday, and was radiant from end to end. The great feature of the demonstration was a monster procession of the trades. Alike in respect of the numbers included, and of the variety, interest, and beauty of the multitude of flags, banners, emblems, and illustrations of the various trades in which our working population engage, nothing has ever been seen in the city to equal it. It was calculated that in this trades procession alone, fully 35,000 persons took part, whilst its length extended over four miles. Fully three hours were taken for it to pass any given point, and the vanguard reached the scene of the ceremonial long before the last contingent had left the place of muster on the Green. The scene in George Square, after the vast concourse had fully assembled, was alike picturesque and impressive. Estimates agreed pretty generally that the vast multitude congregated in and around George Square would amount to 60,000 at the least. Thus, with those members of the various trades in the great procession, there would be a grand total of nearly 100,000 persons as having assisted actively or as spectators in the day’s proceedings.

In the evening a grand banquet in connection with this memorable ceremony was given in the City Hall by the Corporation. About five hundred gentlemen, including the Lord Provost, Sir Archibald Campbell, Sir William Pearce, Lord Craighill, Rev. Dr. Watt, Rev. W. W. Tulloch and Rev. T. Somerville, Grand Chaplains, Archbishop Eyre, Mr. Bret Harte, and others, sat down to dinner. The addresses were of the most felicitous order, and the banquet was in every respect a brilliant success. Amongst the many toasts of the evening it was most natural that that of Mr. William Young, the architect of the Municipal Buildings, should be proposed. To this toast Mr. Young replied in appropriate terms, in which he paid a graceful compliment to our city: “The kindness which I have uniformly received in my relationships with this city of late, and especially to-day, carries my memory back to the happy days I spent in Glasgow as a student of architecture, and to the day, some


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