Ever since the first ‘manufactorie’ for ‘woollens’ was started in 1638, Glasgow has been a vibrant centre of trade and manufacturing for United Kingdom. Beginning with linens, soap, earthenware, and sugar, it gradually expanded into ironworks and tobacco. As its International trade developed it became a centre point for trade of raw and manufactured goods between the continent and the Americas. The heart of the historic city of Glasgow includes the area now know as the Merchant City.
By the 1810’s, Scotland's engineers were playing a leading role in the development of The Steam Engine, shipbuilding and engineering, so fundamental to this region of Scotland.
An essential element to the success of Glasgow’s standing as a centre for trade was firmly established in 1812 with the completion of the deepening of the Clyde River. This huge project – known as the Lang Dyke – ensured that large vessels could come straight into the Broomielaw instead of stopping at the ports outside of the city. Likewise, between 1768 and 1790 the Forth and Clyde Canal was constructed. Joinging the Clyde at Bowling Harbour the canal linked commerce and the merchant communities of the East and West of Scotland together.
Together these significant engineering advances paved the way for Glasgow to become the Second city of the Empire.