Glasgow, quite the city, never afraid to be the leader of innovation or for an entire city to stand against oppression. Here are 9 times Glasgow set the benchmark and dared the rest of the world to follow suit…

A City of Firsts: 9 Times Glasgow Set The Benchmark

9. First BBC Scotland Broadcast

Did you know that the first BBC Scotland broadcast took place 93 years ago in a loft apartment in Bath Street, which at the time was the city’s thriving theatre and music hall district. (Ironically Bath Street is still one of Glasgow’s most popular nightlife spots.) A plaque can still be found outside Rex House, 202 Bath Street.

8. First Unicef Simultaneous Charity Drive

Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games was life changing, not just for many of the people of Glasgow, but also for millions of children around the world. It was also a game changer, the Unicef charity appeal during the countdown, was the first time in history that a charity drive had been simultaneously attempted worldwide during the opening ceremony of a major sporting event. Glasgow’s “Friendly Games” raised more than £5 million pounds for underprivileged children in Scotland and around the world.

7. First Free Wifi

Glasgow became the first city to offer citizens free WI-FI access, the ambitious project was so successful, thanks to its low cost and high reward, many cities in the UK adopted the programme. Offering 24hr Wi-Fi the council weren’t forced to spend any money, as it came straight from the public sector.

6. First City to Give Nelson Mandela Freedom of City

A momentous moment for a momentous city, rewarding a momentous man. While Nelson Mandela was unduly still considered a terrorist by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government. Glasgow was the first in the world to grant him the Freedom of the City. Thanks to the “Dear Green Place”, 2500 mayors from 56 different countries eventually signed a declaration demanding the release of Nelson “Madiba” Mandela. It was presented to the United Nations in New York in the year 1981.

5. First City in UK Awarded Unesco City Of Music

Glasgow is awash with music, it’s entrenched in the city’s history. On any given night, on any given month, 365 days a year, you’ll find live music and people enjoying the soul nourishment it brings with it. Whether you prefer pop, punk, rock or rap, Glasgow is a city that can provide a soundtrack to your life. That’s why in 2008 Glasgow was awarded the title of Unesco city of Music. The first city in the UK to be awarded the title. In your face Liverpool and Manchester.

4. First Police Force

Glasgow was the first city in the world to hire a police force to specifically guard the streets and citizens of a city. Following the Houses of Parliament passing the Glasgow Police Act of 1980. The Glasgow Police Force guarded Glasgow up until 1975 when it was amalgamated into Strathclyde Police.

London’s Metropolitan Police attempted to claim ownership of the first police force the Advertising Standards Authority severely reprimanded them, London’s Met has never again attempted to claim ownership of the world’s first police force.

3. First Sea Going Steam Powered Ship Built On Clyde

It’s well known that Glasgow was the shipbuilding capital of the world, but the Clyde shipyards was also responsible for the evolution of the steam powered ship. In 1812 shipbuilders on the Clyde inadvertently made history by developing the “Comet” the first steam powered ship ever. This pushed the Clyde ship yards to the forefront of new technological innovation, which coincided with the Industrial Revolution, thus allowing Britain become the “Empire in which the sun never set”.

2. First City to Ban Smoking in UK

For 30 years, Ruth Kendall and the Glasgow health board campaigned to ban all smoking in public places. Shockingly the city at the time was the cancer capital of the world. In 1985, statistically 1 in 6 Glaswegian men would go on to develop lung related illnesses. Widely mocked after the campaign was first unveiled, the campaign gained traction until in 2000 it became the first city in the UK to ban smoking. The entire UK followed suit and is now smoke free in public places.

1. First City to Revolt Against the Poll Tax

Glasgow first led the revolution against the Poll Tax, which ultimately resulted in the collapse of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government (and some say paved the way for New Labour). Introduced in 1988, a full year before the rest of the UK. Scotland (and especially Glasgow) were not happy, resulting in the biggest response of  public demonstration in modern history.