The 12 erections of George Square
How many times have you walked through George Square? Or sat amongst the red asphalt on a clear summer’s day admiring the bright warmth of the sun, and thought to yourself, “who the bloody hell are they statues.”
GlasgowLiving asks you this question, and be honest, of the 12 monuments standing in George Square, how many can you name?
12. Robert Burns (erected 1877)
Unmistakable, one of the world’s greatest ever poets, admired throughout the world, and one of the leading lights of Scottish socialism, liberalism and loved Ae Fond Kiss off of the odd married woman.
11. James Watt (erected 1832)
Mr Watt changed the face of the world with his inventions, helping to improve the previously patented steam engine, he paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. So important to the world was James Watt, that a unit of mathematical measurement was named in remembrance of him. The watt, is the measurement of electrical and mechanical power.
10. Sir Walter Scott (erected 1837)
Shock horror, a man from Edinburgh sitting proudly in the heart of Glasgow City Centre (to be fair Burns hails from Ayrshire and Watt from Greenock) Sir Walter Scott a leading light in the history of literature. Studied (grudgingly) by literature and English students for more than a century. Ivanhoe and Rob Roy are two of his most famous works.
9. Sir Robert Peel (erected 1859)
Quite the controversial member of George Square elite. Sir Robert Peel was a twice elected Conservative Prime Minister. Sir Robert Peel in his time laid down the principles in which the modern day Conservatives still abide by. However he was also responsible for emancipating Catholics during the famine and eventually became known as a traitor to the Tory cause because of his liberal leaning views on child labour and his wish to limit harsh working hours.
8. Thomas Campbell (erected 1877)
A personal favourite of the journalists in the office, Thomas Campbell born in High Street, Campbell was partially responsible for the creation of the University of London. After travelling the world, as war poet and writing about his travels, he returned to become Rector of Glasgow University. In his time some say he procrastinated and was without focus, however his works have stood the test of time and many of his writings and poems are considered masterpieces.
7. General Sir John Moore (erected 1819)
Believe it or not Sir John Moore is known for far more than a Wetherspoons pub in Argyle Street. A true lord of war, General John Moore, battled in the US War of Independence, French Revolution and countless others, he repelled Napoleon’s Armada from Dover to Dungeness. It was said that his contribution to the British Army was insurmountable and many of the beliefs he installed remain to this day. “The belief that the perfect soldier can only be made by evoking all that is finest in man – physical, mental and spiritual”.
6. William Gladstone (erected 1902)
Born to Scottish parents in Liverpool. William Gladstone originally declined a career in politics but eventually rose through the ranks to take power of the most prominent roles in British political society. Gladstone originally of Conservative mind rebelled to become one of the leading men in the newly formed “Liberal” party. He served as Prime Minister four times (more than any other in history) and upon his death was named “The People’s William”.
5. Field Marshal Lord Clyde (erected 1868)
Field Marshal Lord Clyde aka Colin Campbell, born in Glasgow was responsible, along with the limited number of Highlander Brigade defended with his ” Thin Red Line” in the Crimean War’s “Battle of Balaclava”. So honoured and respected was he, that he now lies interred in Westminster Abbey.
4. Prince Albert (erected 1866)
Rather unfortunately Prince Albert’s legacy will forever be linked to a certain genital piercing. (Rumours are he was so well endowed that his genitals would be strapped to one side via non pierced chain to avoid certain “bulge” issues. Loyal husband to Queen Victoria, she plunged into mourning after his death. Albert helped avoid war between the USA and Great Britain through diplomacy. He also convinced Victoria to abstain from political opinion and favouring political parties. The Monarchy abstaining from politics in Britain is almost universally accepted to this very day.
3. Queen Victoria (erected 1854)
Incumbent during Britain’s progression to becoming a complete world power. Queen Victoria was also ruling Monarch as the Industrial Revolution took hold in the UK. She was Head of State while the British empire became known as. “The empire in which the sun never set.” Meaning that Britain’s empire was so extensive at no point was one part of their imperial power across the globe ever without sunlight.
2. Thomas Graham (erected 1872)
A literal lifesaver Thomas Graham changed medical history with his invention. Inventing dialysis, Thomas Graham has saved millions of lives across the world. Born in Glasgow, Graham rejected his father’s pleas to join the Church of Scotland. Founding the Chemical Society of London, Graham’s work in chemistry changed the face of the world. So well regarded by his peers in fact that, The Royal Society of Chemistry at Cambridge is named Thomas Graham House.
1. James Oswald (erected 1875)
One of Glasgow’s first M.P’s. Oswald Street in the city centre is named in memory of James Oswald. A staunch liberal Oswald fought for the liberalisation of the people of Glasgow and succeeded after the passing of the Reform Act of 1832. The Reform Act of 1832 paved the way for equal voting powers across the land. Allowing more of the population to vote than ever before (500,000 to 813,000) diminishing the overwhelming corrupt power of the wealthy and leading the way to a democratically, politically minded Britain.