Museum & Galleries

The People’s Palace & Winter Garden

Scotland / Europe

The People’s Palace is a large red sandstone building, originally designed as a cultural centre for the people of the East End of Glasgow, and stands in the middle of Glasgow Green. It was inspired by City Councillor, Robert Crawford, and opened in 1898 by the 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929). Originally there were reading rooms on the ground floor, a museum on the first floor and an art gallery on the second. Since the 1940s it has been a museum dedicated to Glasgow’s history from the 1700s to the late 20th century. Here many of the radical political activities of the working communities around the Green are celebrated, everything from the Tobacco Lords to Trade Unions. The central dome contains a series of murals by Ken Currie created in 1987. It commemorates the 200th anniversary of the day when dragoons shot weavers protesting for better working conditions in the nearby village of Calton and the many later risings centred around Glasgow Green, including the Miners’ Strike in the 1980s. Amongst the portraits of old Glasgow characters can be found internationally famous, Glasgow-born comedian Billy Connolly’s “Big Banana Boots”, designed for the Great Northern Welly Boot Show of 1972. The adjoining Winter Gardens are an elegant Victorian glasshouse, filled with tropical plants. Outside there is the three-storey terracotta Doulton Fountain, erected in 1888 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The fountain features life-size statues representing Australia, Canada, India and South Africa. The restored Doulton fountain has stood in its current location in front of the Peoples’ Palace since 2004.

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