9 photos of Victorian Glasgow and how it looks now - George Square, Argyle Street, Great Western Road and more

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Glasgow has changed a lot since it went through a boom period in the Victorian age.

The ‘second city of the British Empire’ grew from a quarter of a million people at the start of Victoria’s reign to 760,000 at the time of her death in 1901.

Ship building, engineering, cotton and glass making helped transform Glasgow, bringing more money and people to the city, turning it into a hub of interational trade.

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But, since then, the city has undergone massive changes - the shipbuilding and manufacturing industries died off, and the population declined.

Glasgow has also evolved over time, as the way we travel, work, shop and spend our leisure time has changed.

We found some old pictures of Glasgow and compared them to scenes found from Google Maps.

Have a look at these pictures from Victorian Glasgow and the same locations now to get an idea of how much (and how little, in parts) the city has changed.

Royal Infirmary

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The original Royal Infirmary was opened towards the end of the 18th century. What we see now is the replacement, opened in 1914.


Sauchiehall Street

This image, taken at the Hope Street junction, shows how Sauchiehall Street has changed. Some new buildings have sprung up, while some of the original buildings remain.


Sailors Home

While we couldn’t get a picture from Google Maps at the same height, this comparison highlights how much Broomielaw has changed.


Royal Exchange Square

The Royal Exchange Square is a piece of Glasgow which, while evolving, would look familiar to a Victorian Glaswegian.


Jamaica Street

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Jamaica Street flourished during the British Empire days of the 18th and 19th centuries, but has quietened down since then.


Great Western Road

Another image which shows how little parts of Glasgow have changed. You can see Kelvinside Parish Church, long before it became the West End hub, Oran Mor.


Broomielaw bridge

The bridge opened in the 19th century and has changed little since then.


George Square

While the Google Maps image is a little out of date (much of George Square is now pedestrianised) the comparison shows another part of Glasgow which hasn’t changed much. We’re certainly a lot more fond of trees now.

Argyle Street

This image, which we think shows the now ‘Four Corners’ area, has changed a lot since the Victorian age. It’s now better known for late night incidents and fast food.

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