HISTORIC TIMES - Expanding Glasgow

WHAT'S in a name?

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Quite a lot, especially when it comes to local government in Scotland's largest city.

Glasgow Town Council became Glasgow Corporation in 1895, changing its name to the City of Glasgow District Council in 1975 and finally becoming Glasgow City Council in 1996.

Whatever the name, whatever the era, local government has always been a controversial subject here.

As the city changed and expanded it swallowed up neighbouring communities, including villages and burghs.

A burgh was a self-organising unit of local government.

The original Royal Burghs, or Burghs of Barony from the Middle Ages, had the right to operate a market, to control trade and to raise taxes.

Less well-organised areas were called districts.

A list of the 'casualties' of Glasgow's appetite for metropolitan expansion makes for interesting reading.

l 1846: Gorbals. This annexation was partly prompted by the need to combine police forces so as to combat criminals who were plying their trade on both sides of the river.

l 1891: the 'great annexation'. The burghs of Hillhead, Maryhill, Pollokshields East, Pollokshields West, Crosshill, Govanhill, Kelvinside, Possilpark and Springburn were all absorbed. Not content with all of that, Glasgow also swallowed up the districts of Langside, Shawlands and Mount Florida.

l 1905: Kinning Park. The Lilliputian burgh was created in 1871, when it seceded from Govan.

It was tiny, measuring less than 200 yards across at one point but it also happened to be the most densely populated burgh in the country, with a staggering 14,000 residents squeezing into just 100 acres.

The city's hunger for expansion did not stop there, however – the great example of 1912 being a case in point. More on this 'land grab' next week.


Local government

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