George Square

From Academic Kids

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George Square and Glasgow City Chambers

George Square is the central square in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Its east side is composed of the ornate Glasgow City Chambers, the seat of City of Glasgow government and former seat of Strathclyde Regional Council. On the South side is the former General Post Office, now an exclusive residential development. The North side consists of Queen Street Station and the station hotel (now the Copthorn Hotel). Queen Street, the square's West, features a number of buildings including the city's Trades Hall.

The eastern side of the square itself plays host to the city's cenotaph, dating from the end of the First World War. An 80 foot high pillar in the centre features author Walter Scott, and other statues scattered around the square include include Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert, poet Robert Burns, inventor James Watt, and politicians William Gladstone and Robert Peel.

The square has often been the scene of public meetings, political gatherings, riots, protests, celebrations, and concerts. Perhaps the most famous was the January 31 1919 rally, when campaigners for improved working conditions (particularly protesting a 56 hour working week in many of the city's factories) started an enormous rally, with at least 90,000 protestors filling the square and the surrounding streets. The meeting descended into violence between the protestors and the police, with the riot act being read. The city's radical reputation, and the raising of the red flag by some present, made the skittish Liberal government fear a bolshevik revolution was afoot. The government responded by deploying fully-armed troops and tanks into the square and the city's streets.

The square later provided a home to political hustings and meetings of all sorts, protests against the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, and has lately become the venue for extensive New Year's celebrations.

In February 2005, the square was closed to pedestrians for a two-month restoration project, including the replacement of the red asphalt concourse, and the cleaning of stone and the statues in the square, most notably that of Walter Scott.


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