Glasgow Uni History -
5 centuries of show-offs?

Learn why Glasgow Uni history reflects
nothing less than the deep-rooted corruption
shackling Scotland for centuries

The Lowdown | History | What's there | Getting there | Gallery & Video


Glasgow University History

Eh?...Eh?...Did I fool you there?!!

Maybe it's because I studied at the nearby Rebel Alliance Strathclyde University and have a disturbing wish that surfaces now and again to tear a strip or two off those regimented Imperial stormtroopers along the road, what with their Death Star Glasgow University and their snobby habit of looking down on me like I was a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder (that's a movie quote BTW, for those less tragic than I), but whatever it was, I thought it might be pretty neat to catch attention to this Glasgow Uni History page byenraging Glasgow Uni students, alumni and alumnae in posturing that their beloved institution reflected anything other than our nation's historical seat at the forefront of global innovation.

Boy was that a long sentence!

Anywho, here's a wee page on the other university of Glasgow besides Strathclyde Uni. To be fair, learning a little about Glasgow Uni history will make your experience rich with admiration as you walk its grounds and take your photos, and despite how much it might stick in my throat saying this, it really is one of the most inspiring places to visit in Scotland, given that not only does it remain recognised as one of the top places in the world at which to research and study, but that its imposing Gothic structure has borne witness over hundreds of years to the origin and advancement of the world's technical, philosophical, and political education.

So I hope you enjoy what you read here about Glasgow Uni history more than I did writing it. While you do so, I'll just be standing in a dark corner somewhere, snarling like a cowardly Wookiee at Glasgow Uni students as they walk past!

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Glasgow Uni History - An enlightening tale

Glasgow University

As is usually the case, you'll find better sites than mine charting the Glasgow Uni history, so what I've done, in the spirit of armistice and truce as is my way, is to condesense the entire Glasgow Uni history most respectfully into one (hopefully not insultingly short) paragraph.

Just get on with it then, you might say. So here it is.

Established in the grounds of Glasgow Cathedral in 1451 by papal bull of Pope Nicholas V. Fourth oldest university in English-speaking world. Nexus of the Scottish Enlightenment. Pioneered higher education beyond upper classes and between the sexes. Moved to Gilmorehill in 1870 following Industrial Revolution. Seen through its doors the likes of Prime MinistersSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman & Andrew Bonar Law, absolute zero scientist Lord Kelvin, 'father of economics' Adam Smith, steam engine innovator James Watt, TV addict John Logie Baird, world's most respected empiricist & inspiration to Immanuel Kant David Hume, the founding First Minister of Scotland Donald Dewar, a venerable clutch of Nobel laureates, and my mate Alan Macdonald.

Brief, and to the point I think!

I don't need to go into more detail than that, because all you really need to know is that it's because of this university, and the ingenuity that's surrounded Glasgow and Scotland in the developing centuries of global civilisation, that common folks like me can take vicarious credit for oor wee nation having given the world, amongst other things, the steam engine, the pedal bicycle, the telephone, the television, the refridgerator, the flush toilet, the modern lawnmower, the electric clock, penicillin, electromagnetics, radar, insulin, logarithms & the decimal point, the Higgs boson, hypnotism, criminal fingerprinting, ultrasound and MRI scanners, general anaesthetic, cloned mammals, curling, cycling, golf, boasting about stuff, and the most significant technical & scientific innovations in shipbuilding, heavy industry, agriculture, medicine and alternative energy that's shaped the world we now live in and tend to accept without question.

And if you don't believe me on all that, feel free to look it up! Learning a wee bit of Scotland's innovative history, and particularly the Glasgow Uni history, may well shake off for you some of the tired and muscle-memoried stereotypes ascribed unfairly to Scotland and our citizens on a daily basis, and given what we're continually fighting against in this respect, I make no apology for jumping on the defensive when what we should really be talking about here is, well, Glasgow Uni history.

So, back to the plot (jeez Scott, it's only a travel site!...).

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What's there to see?

Glasgow University Scotland

As I alluded to, walking the grounds of this place will give you a great introduction to the Glasgow Uni history and development, and whilst Glasgow University is actually spread out on various locations in the City and beyond, the grounds around the iconic tower are where you'll be most interested in as a visitor, and all the attractions there are well sign-posted so shouldn't be difficult to find.

I'd suggest that your first stop should be the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Scotland's oldest public museum having been opened in 1807 when the university was in the High Street. It's named after William Hunter, a well travelled anatomist and obstetrician who bequeathed to the university his substantial geological, zoological, anatomical, archaeological (that's too many "al's", let's move onto "ic's"!), ethnographic and scientific instrument collections, including some of the most important work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and James Whistler. It's not to be confused with the other Hunterian Museum in London, which was actually founded by William Hunter's wee brother John, and which is more concerned with surgery than with art, plants and tiny beasties!

Other than Hunter's collections I'd also recommend spending some time with the more recently opened permanent gallery, The Antonine Wall: Rome's Final Frontier, which is a pretty outstanding exhibit of monumental sculptures and other Roman artefacts recovered from the Antonine Wall (which itself has UNESCO World Heritage Status, was built in about AD 142 by the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, ran once completed coast-to-coast across Scotland's central belt from the River Clyde to the Firth of Forth, and represents for many Scots a puff-chested reminder that our Caledonia was the only nation the mighty Romans failed to conquer - just as we did with proud Edward's Army, we sent them homeward tae think again!).

For me though, as I explain on my page on the unparalleled Charles Rennie Mackintosh,Mackintosh House in the Hunterian Gallery is the best place to visit in Glasgow University. Please feel free to have a look at that page, but in summary, this attraction is a perfectly constructed replica of CRM's house, and it's stuck onto the side of Glasgow University as though it's just returned in a magical whirlwind from Oz. Definitely worth a visit!

Other than these, the jaw-dropping University Chapel, and the visitor centre where you'll pick up much more fascinating material on Glasgow Uni history, as the gallery below will show you even walking around the grounds will give you plenty of amazing photo opportunities, and whilst members of the public are no longer allowed to the top of the famous Glasgow University Tower (which forms part of the intricate and ornate twin-quadrangle structure designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and represents the largest example of Gothic revival architecture in the UK after the Palace of Westminster), the views from down below are just as unmissable.

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Whaur is it?!!

Like I say, whilst the campus is all over the place, you'll want to head to the main campus at Gilmorehill to see all the attractions.

By taxi, just ask to go to the top of University Avenue, and that'll drop you right into the thick of it. By subway, stop at Hillhead Station on Byres Road, turn left and then left again up University Avenue. By car, probably best if you find a space in a car park and take the subway from there, because parking around Glasgow University is usually an absolute nightmare! And by bus there are loads of them heading up Great Western Road and Byres Road that'll take you near the university, so if you're coming from town into the West End of Glasgow, ask at Buchanan Bus Station and you'll be pointed in the right direction (failing that, go to the First Glasgow site and check the stops and times of the many services that run there).

Finally, here's a wee map for you to find your way.

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Scott and Ilmur in Glasgow
Click to see video
Password: ilmuringlasgow

Some time ago now I made some Glasgow Uni history of my own. Given that my little site has become so amazingly popular (erm...), I was contacted by Sagafilm, the leading independent TV and film production company in Iceland, to appear on a travel show starring Iceland's favourite actress, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir. She was doing shows all around the world and wanted to do one about oor wee Glasgow, and the show would be featured not only on primetime Icelandic TV but also on the flights between Iceland and Scotland. Ooh, check him!

So off I went to meet Ilmur at the top of the iconic Glasgow University Tower, a place that as I say above is actually closed to the public these days (don't worry, we didn't just sneak in, the university very kindly arranged for us to go up), in order to tell her a bit about my home town in what turned out to be a superb day weather-wise.

Take a look at this video if you fancy a laugh then (don't worry, they edited out most of the guff that I blabbered out that day!). My bit comes in at around 5 minutes into the video, and in the rest you'll see a very relaxed and amusing trip around the City by Ilmur that'll hopefully give you a better flavour of the place over and above the Glasgow Uni history yapped about here. The password to view the video is ilmuringlasgow.

Also, while I was up there and after I'd caught my breath after climbing the hundredsof narrow steps to get to the top, I took the opportunity of taking some great panoramic photos of Glasgow which came out OK, so feel free to have a look below.

I hope you've enjoyed my little introduction to Glasgow Uni history, therefore, and that you have a great time walking the university grounds. If you've any questions that the students you may meet there can't answer for you, fire them over to me (the questions, that is, not the students!), and I'll see what further useless information I can give you in response.

Click the picture below to view the entire gallery

To view the gallery below, click on any image on this page. The light box containing the pictures will open shortly, then 'click right' or 'left arrow' [ > or < ] or 'play'  button to view the gallery.

Glasgow University Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow Uni Sculpture
View from Glasgow Uni
Glasgow University Tower
Glasgow University view
A Dear Green Place
Kelvingrove Museum from above
Science Centre & Tower
Glasgow Uni Tower
Kelvinhall & Old Transport Museum
Ilmur and I

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