Glimpse history through old images of Glasgow, Scotland.
Glasgow is a fascinating city which changed dramatically over the 20th Century. Luckily, filmmakers and photographers captured daily life and cityscapes so we can now enjoy looking back at local history scenes there through old photos and film.
Old Photos of Glasgow
Jamaica Street 1901
Filmed in April 1901 by Mr Thomas, this captured Glasgow’s busiest street, Jamaica Street, at a time of horses and carts.
Even the double decker passenger vehicles are pulled by horses!
Given the large number of people and vehicles, it’s surprising how well the traffic flows, and how few women appear.
At the end of the short film, we see a large crowd of employees marching in a parade.
Further up this page you’ll see an old photo of Jamaica Street along with some closeups.
Jamaica Street, Glasgow (1901) – BFI on YouTube
The women’s skirts are above the ankles so this looks to be somewhere around the end of the Great War (World War I).
The trams now run on electricity and cars are present, but many horses and carts still appear. One man is riding a bicycle in the middle of the road. The pavements are full of people.
Glasgow 1900’s. Archive film 93710 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
Glasgow’s East End 1932
Templetons factory, Glasgow Green and the Peoples Palace are just some of the locations which appear in this silent black and white film.
A stroll round Glasgow’s east end, 1932 – National Library of Scotland on YouTube
By today’s standards, scenes of children playing in rubble and rubbish strewn courtyards looks horrifying. Life was hard, but now people look back with nostalgia.
Old glasgow tenements streets and pictures – on YouTube
The next collection of old photos capture the smiling faces of the children playing outside, and the grinding poverty that awaited them indoors.
Old Photographs Gorbals Glasgow Scotland – on YouTube
The Empire Exhibition of 1938
The Empire Exhibition, Scotland 1938 was unofficially known as the British Empire Exhibition, Glasgow.
Held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, from May to December 1938, it marked fifty years since Glasgow’s first great exhibition, the International Exhibition of 1888, held at Kelvingrove Park.
Kings, queens, international stars were amongst the 13.5 million visitors – three times the number who came to see the Garden Festival in 1988!
Old Pictures of Glasgow’s 1938 Empire Exhibition
Video of the 1938 Empire Exhibition
This video (which appears to be from the 1990s) starts with the Exhibition. It then moves through the following decades, as architects in offices decided the best way to deal with historic buildings was to knock them down and replace them with giant roads.
1938 Glasgow Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park – on YouTube
Glasgow’s Home Guard in 1940
Mr Ernest Brown, Secretary of State for Scotland, inspects home guardsmen drawn up on parade ground.
It’s amusing to see a glimpse of the policeman trying to shuffle back the young children.
Glasgow’s Home Guard (1940) – British Pathé (YouTube)
1940s Polling Day In Glasgow
Outside the Polling Station, possibly for the 1945 General Election as two men on screen are wearing uniforms.
As the day wears on the number of children hanging around increases.
Some very interesting characters on screen, but it’s clear the camera man liked the pretty nurses!
Polling Day In Glasgow (1940-1949) – British Pathé (YouTube)
City Streets of the 1940s
Silent, black and white footage. Hundreds of pedestrians, with many horses still in amongst the traffic.
Life in Glasgow in the 1940s – Film 1017847 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
1940s Motor Vehicles
Elegant old cars driving or towed into the smoggy streets.
Glasgow Motors, 1940s – Film37519 – on YouTube
A 1950s Tale of Two Cities
Almost a tale of two cities. The ‘smart’ city of elegant buildings and leafy open spaces. Over the bridge, tenements and groups of small children.
Tour of Glasgow, 1950s – Film 1035346 – on YouTube
20th Century Glasgow Housing
The next video shows a series of old photos showing different streets and locations, each clearly labelled so you always know the location and date of the photograph.
glasgow housing 1930’s – 1960’s – on YouTube
1960s Children Playing
Silent 35mm film clips from the 1960s.
1960s Glasgow Slums, Children Playing, Scotland from 35mm – on YouTube
Glasgow Hurricane 1968
On 15 January 1968 a hurricane ripped through Central Scotland. Three hundred Glaswegian homes were destroyed, and a further 70,000 damaged.
Half of the city’s council housing stock received damage and residents fled from the swaying tower blocks.
The film mentions the death of at least 18 people. Records suggest 18 people died repairing their homes that night.
Shipyard cranes, cars, trees and streets were all badly affected.
Gales In Glasgow Aka Hurricane Rips Through Glasgow (1968) – on YouTube
Slums On Clydeside 1974
Silent colour footage from British Pathé.
Slums On Clydeside – British Pathé on YouTube
It’s quite right to give these photos the title ‘amazing’. They are.
It’s a link through to YouTube, because restrictions don’t allow the thumbnail image to be shown on this page.
French photographer, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Raymond Depardon won the César Award for Best Documentary, César Award for Best Short Film – Documentary, Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film and nominated for the San Marco Prize, Upstream Prize – Special Mention, and Upstream – Special Jury Award.
Glasgow in 1987
The narrator introduces this as a film of his 1987 holiday to his hometown. Lots of locations with commentary, and interviews.
Nice to see the market scenes, a look at everyday life.
Glasgow 1987 – on YouTube
Glasgow Garden Festival 1988
A visitor to the Garden Festival in 1988 made a home video on super 8 cine film.
8mm Cine Film Glasgow garden festival 1988 – Dave Eldergill on YouTube
Glasgow City Centre in 1990
Buses and pedestrians going about their daily business.
1990 Glasgow City Centre Street Scenes, Archive Footage – on YouTube
Glasgow in 1994
A home video with commentary made for a penpal.
A Look Back At Glasgow From 1994 – on YouTube