Parks & Open Spaces

Kelvingrove Park

Scotland / Europe

Kelvingrove Park was laid out in 1854 on 85 acres of land bought by the Town Council which had previously been owned by Patrick Colquhoun (1782), who became Lord Provost at 37 years old. It stands on the side of the River Kelvin in the West End of the city. The park was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton (1803-65), the famous gardener at Chatsworth, who also designed the Crystal Palace in London. As Glasgow expanded westwards, the park was planned as a green space and a contrast to the slum areas of the city. In 1871 Glasgow Corporation established its first museum and gallery in Kelvingrove House, one of Robert Adam’s most original designs. Competing with Edinburgh, three great exhibitions were held in the Park – notably the 1888 International Exhibition of Science, Art & Industry in which local architect, James Sellars (1843-88) created “Baghdad by Kelvinside,” a variety of temporary exotic buildings, opened by The Prince of Wales and visited by Queen Victoria. This exhibition financed the building of the new Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. The 1901 International Exhibition, opened by The Duchess of Fife (daughter of Edward VII), celebrated the opening of the gallery; and then there was the Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry in 1911. The park is known for its grey herons, cormorants and kingfishers, as well as red foxes and otters. It is a favourite route for cyclists and pedestrians commuting to the city centre. It contains a bandstand (built in 1924, vandalised in 1995, but restored in 2014), a skating park, and bowling and croquet greens. There are monuments to men such as Robert Stewart, Lord Provost of Glasgow (the Stewart Memorial Fountain), and statues of Lord Kelvin, the physicist, Thomas Carlyle, Field Marshal Earl Roberts and Joseph Lister.

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