Lost Glasgow

Glasgow's People, 1956-1988

The Municipal Buildings,
page 7 of 8

twenty years ago, when I left this city with the object of trying to force my way in the great metropolis of the south. At that time, and at the present moment, I could wish for no success which I should prize so highly as to return to Glasgow with a wider and more matured experience, and to have the privilege and honour of taking a part in carrying out one of the great works for which this — I think I may be permitted to say our — city is distinguished. For it is not one, but many works of magnitude that this city has carried out. We can point to the gigantic works of the water-supply brought from a distant loch; to the improvement — I may say the creation — of a navigable river from what was, I dare say in the memory of some present here to-night, a fordable stream; to the docks, the wharves and quays, the parks, the bridges, the city improvements, and I hope also by-and-bye the new Municipal Buildings, of which the foundation-stone has been so successfully laid this day by the most worthy and esteemed of Lord Provosts. Pointing to these works, we can truly say that they are the triumphs of peace—

                  ‘Which happiness to a nation brings,
                  These are imperial works and worthy kings.’ ”

These magnificent civic halls of ours which adorn George Square are second to those of no city outside of the metropolis of the world. Happily, too, in these days our City Council is not subject to any arbitrary coercion either from sovereign or lord; and, taken as a whole, we have at present a representative body of men, alike honourable and capable in the highest degree. And it is well that it is so. The judicious administration of the revenues of the city-revenues which have increased from £1,000 a year in 1650 to £1,400,000 per annum in 1890 — and the attending to the municipal interests of three-fourths of a million of human souls, is surely no light responsibility. It is of vast importance, too, in these days of world-wide competition between individuals and communities, and in such an extensive production of iron and textile manufactures in cry form, that our artisan population should be distinguished by the high quality of their moral, intellectual, and technical education. In the attainment of these great ends our municipal rulers have much in their power. The proper administration of well-compiled police and sanitary laws to procure healthy dwellings; the management of public hospitals; the splendid distribution of our water supply, obtained pure from the very heart of the land of romance; the providing of means of healthful recreation, in the conserving and extension of our public parks and open spaces-George Square, the finest example of the latter; the development of our art galleries, industrial museums, and public libraries, along with jealous attention to other departments of the public service, afford ample scope for all the loyal and well-directed energies of our city fathers. It must be said that the members of the town council are unwearied in their efforts to accomplish the prosperity of the vast community which has honoured them with its trust.

Glasgow, as we all know, has reached the proud position of being the second city in the Empire. To that enviable honour it has advanced with remarkable rapidity. There is no evidence of any relaxation in the energy and enterprise which have accomplished this proud result. And in contributing to this great end it must be loyally said that our Magistrates and Councillors, as a rule, have done all in t heir power, not only to retain the position in which our city now stands, but to give it even a yet more honoured position in the eyes of the nations, and to show, as did


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