World War II was coming to an end and cities across the UK were thinking to the future – how people would work, live and travel.
In March 1945, Bruce put his First Planning Report to the Highways and Planning Committee. To describe it as ambitious would be an understatement. It included huge proposals which would transform Glasgow over the next 50 years – focusing on everything from transport to housing.
While the plans would not be taken further, it did include some futuristic ideas that would fit in with today’s green revolution and proposals that would influence future decisions.
Here are just some of the changes it planned for Glasgow.
1. City centre
Perhaps the most famous proposal to come from the plan was the demolition of large swathes of Glasgow's city centre. The grid structure would have been retained, however, many of the city's famous buildings would've been destroyed. The report claimed the plans have Glasgow the "opportunity for the beginning of a great and gradual change in the direction of the orderly development of a great industrial community". Bruce was critical of the "scattering" of buildings - such as new housing being built next to industrial factories, next to civic buildings. He wanted a more organised approach to planning. For the 'inner core', he wanted the main shopping streets to be closed off to traffic, entertainment buildings to be grouped together - even if that meant demolishing its famous venues - and business areas that featured modern office blocks. Concluding his report, Bruce said: "Piecemeal bits of planning and improvements never will do for Glasgow - it is too old, too ill planned and too important to be fobbed off with only a rounding off of its worst features."
2. Glasgow City Chambers
One of the most famous victims of Bruce's plan was Glasgow City Chambers. His redevelopment of the city centre would have seen the beautiful building demolished and a new civic centre erected in the heart of the city centre, next to the Clyde. At either side of the civic centre would be the new city chambers and law courts.
Bruce's plans for housing were about building up. Within the 'inner core' he wanted to attract people who could afford high rents. Again, some of ideas were ahead of his time - he wanted residential areas to be smokeless, speed limits to be capped at 20mph and stricter zoning rules to keep business and industry away. He also suggested that group housing together would make it easier for district heating schemes. One thing Bruce was not keen on was Glasgow's iconic tenements. He said most would "not last many more years" and called for large amounts to be removed. However, when discussing the different housing types, he preferred the idea of building up. It would leave more space for green areas and more compact services. He was criticising the new housing schemes years before most people. His vision for housing was residential areas built around community centres - which would help neighbours build relationships - and community buildings, such as nurseries and libraries. However, the main focus for all neighbourhoods, he argued, should be primary schools.
4. Train stations
Among Bruce's most ambitious proposals was the redevelopment of Glasgow's rail system. New train stations would be built on the northern and southern sides of the river. The North Station would be built on Buchanan Street station and be combined with Queen Street station. The South Station would be built on Cumberland Street. One name missing from that list is the beautiful Glasgow Central. That would have been another victim of Bruce's plans for the city. The Cathcart Circle Line was also mentioned in the report. Bruce wanted a tunnel to go underground to reach the North Station.