Kelvingrove | How Glasgow Flourished 1714 -1837

June 27, 2014

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 Old Buchanan Street 

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A new dog collar for Roxie? 

Every few months Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum have a new special exhibition. In the past I have been to one for AC/DC and I've even seen the most iconic outfits from Kylie Minogue in an exhibition there. Kylie is teeny-tiny by the way if she could fit in some of the costumes I saw! At the moment however they are running an exhibit about Glasgow during the years 1714-1837. Intrigued, the other half and I popped along to see what it had to offer.

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The exhibit explains how Glasgow's businessmen flourished from slave labour, a part of our history that I think often gets forgotten about or overlooked. Cheap migrant labour was a part of the "Glasgow System" which meant that businessmen trading in tobacco and sugar grew wealthy. At the same time workers' associations were also finding their voice and this helped to pave the way for the Trade Union movement.

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Weaving was also a prominent industry at this period of time for Glasgow as it transitioned from a cottage industry to a "full-blown manufacturing industry". Originally weavers were self employed with the men weaving while women spun the yarn and a good living could be made from doing so. However as the industry changed from small cottages to large factories the handloom weavers' living standards and wages fell much to their protestations.

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One of my favourite pieces on display in this exhibit is the music organ. James Watt who is best known for the steam engine, originally trained as an instrument maker and worked in Glasgow's Saltmarket making and mending instruments. It's an absolutely beautiful instrument.

If you live near Glasgow or are coming over to Scotland for the Commonwealth Games this summer then I definitely recommend taking a trip to Kelvingrove. If you like museums and art galleries there is sure to be something here that will interest you.

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  1. That looks really interesting and something i'd go and see myself. Love the look of those old looms!

    1. The looms were definitely my favourite. I always found weavers to be pretty interesting since I studied the Highland Clearances in primary 6 and learnt a bit about the industry then.
      Debi x

  2. I did not know anything like that about Glasgow, but it's quite interesting to hear about a places history. As long as it doesn't get too long for me to pay attention ;)
    I find all the machines they used to use for sowing and weaving really interesting, so intricate and large.

    1. I'm a big history nerd so things like this really interest me. I actually regret not studying history at university but that's another story.
      Debi x


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