The People's Palace, Glasgow Green

Entrance, the People's Palace and Winter Gardens. Alexander Beith MacDonald. Red Locharbriggs sandstone. 1893-8. Glasgow Green, Glasgow. [Entire building] Photograph, caption, and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]

MacDonald was Glasgow's City Engineer from 1890-1914, and was therefore responsible for many of its public buildings during this period. Much like E. R. Robson's People's Palace in Mile End Road, London, this one was built for the "recreation and improvement of the people of [the] East End," with "reading and recreation rooms" as well as a museum and art galleries (Williamson et al. 454). Here then is another example of Ruskinian ideals in practice — see the questions on Robson's People's Palace.

The style has been seen as "an adaptation of the later French Renaissance," with the use of sculpture to bring out its main features (see McKenzie 171). The Winter Gardens are four times the size of the main building, and have "a curved roof of steel and glass supported on cast-iron columns close to the perimeter and two shallow transepts forming the side entrances." The building is now a social history museum, while the Winter Gardens host various events and displays.


McKenzie, Ray, with contributions by Gary Nisbet. Public Sculpture of Glasgow. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002.

Williamson, Elizabeth, et al. Glasgow (The Buildings of Scotland series). London: Penguin, 1990.

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Last modified 19 October 2009