[The following passage from the Chambers Gazetteer of Scotland appears on page 468-69. — George P. Landow.]


The first bridge erected over the Clyde was made of wood, and stood somewhere about the bottom of the Green. This having gone to decay, as formerly noticed, the first stone bridge was built by Bishop Rae, about the year 1345 or 50, at the foot of what is now called the Stockwell Street, and consisted of eight arches. For three hundred years this useful fabric required little renovation, but in 1671, one of the arches fell at the south end, and was immediately rebuilt. Till 1777, the bridge received frequent repairs, and in that year an addition of ten feet was made to its east side. A few years ago, another addition was made to the breadth of its passage-way, by the projection of ledges of side pavement. As it now stands, the length is 415 feet. In 1767, anew stone bridge was begun at the foot of Jamaica Street. It has seven arches, and is five hundred feet long by thirty feet broad.

Though elegant, and in good condition, this structure is about to be pulled down, on account of its inadequacy to accommodate the throng of carriages and passengers which occurs at this point of intercourse. Its place will be supplied by a building from a design of Mr. Telford, which will be one of the finest bridges in the country, being nearly as level, and five feet wider than the Waterloo at London. In 1794, a third bridge was built at the foot of the Saltmarket; but, when almost finished, it was unfortunately swept away by a flood which inundated the lower part of the city. £1803, a wooden bridge for foot passengers was erected in its stead, at an expense of L.1200. At present a new stone structure, under the title of Hutcheson's Bridge, is in progress, and is expected to be completed in about a year.

Related material: Bridges Built during Victoria’s Reign


At the north end of the last mentioned bridge, towards the foot of the Saltmarket, and fronting up the Green, stands a large modern edifice built in the Grecian style, containing apartments for different courts of justice and the city jail. The structure is of a square form, with a small open court in the interior, intended as an airing ground for prisoners. The centre façade and portico are an exact copy of the Parthenon at Athens, and allowed to be a matchless specimen of architecture. The expense of supporting the jail in 1829, was, in all,£2029, 18s. lOd. of which L.999, 2s. 9d. was repaid by incarceration fees, and other sources of revenue. The old jail of Glasgow was at the foot of the High Street, where its very ancient spire still remains, and projects upon the street.

Bridewell. — A building under this title was erected in 1799, in Duke Street, near the north-eastern limit of the town, and for design as a building, extent of accommodation, and internal management, is allowed to be a fit model for all such structures. It contains, altogether, one hundred and twenty-six cells.

Miscellaneous Buildings

In this class, the precedence is due to the Royal Exchange Buildings, situated in Queen Street. This is a splendid edifice, erected in 1829, after a design by Mr. David Hamilton, architect, and consisting, as yet, chiefly of one magnificent hall, supported by two ranges of pillars. This hall is fitted up as a reading room, and is designed to be a general place of rendezvous for the merchants of the city. It can accommodate 500 persons at dinner. A magnificent portico and cupola are erected in front. Besides this Exchange, there is an establishment of the same kind, called the Tontine Buildings, which were erected by 107 shares, at £50 each, in 1781, and have ever since been used as a reading-room and place of assemblage for merchants, besides containing apartments that serve the purposes of a hotel. The reading-room occupies the lower flat, behind an open piazza, and is seventy-four feet long. It is open to strangers for a certain time, without introduction.

To the east of the Tontine are the Town Hall Buildings, erected in 1 740, in place of an older edifice then taken down. The centre of the street is here known as The Cross, though no edifice of that kind is now standing. Glasgow has an excellent Infirmary, situated near the Cathedral, partly on the site of the archbishop's palace. The building is of an oblong form, with bold projections at each end, having a pediment in the centre, supported by pillars of the Corinthian order. The whole is four storeys in height, with a dome above the Operation Hall. The interior arrangements are allowed to be excellent, and accommodation can now be given to upwards of two hundred patients. Adjoining to the Infirmary, a Fever Hospital has lately been erected. The expense of both is defrayed by subscriptions and donations.

Trades' Hall Buildings

This is one of the principal edifices in Glasgow, and was erected in 1796-7, containing a hall seventy feet long by thirty-five feet wide, and twenty four feet high, exclusive of a dome, for the meetings of the incorporated trades, with a variety of committee rooms, &c. Public meetings are often held in this house, which is commodiously situated on the west side of Glasford Street. The exterior appearance is elegant.


Since the beginning of the present century, a very large Theatre was erected in Glasgow, on the west side of Queen Street, at an expense of about £19,000, raised on the principle of transferable shares of £25 each. It was constructed on too great a scale for the city, and after continuing in a languishing condition, it was burnt down by an accidental fire in 1829, since which time theatrical representations have been conducted in a smaller theatre in Dunlop Street; being an old house restored.


Chambers, Robert. The Gazetterr of Scotland. Glasgow: Blackie and Son, 1838. Internet Archive online version digitized with funding from National Library of Scotland. Web. 30 September 2018.

Last modified 30 September 2018