It was during the innovative and swiftly developing period of the 19th century that Glasgow became known as the Second City of the Empire.
Technology and manufacturing
As manufacturing and industry were expanding, the population rose in response to the need for a labour force. From distilling to soap, glass to textiles, Glasgow’s industry grew during the first half of the 19th century. Much of the city’s wealth was connected with cotton, as it provided over one third of the workforce jobs. The focus of the commerce shifted by the 1840’s to iron, engineering and perhaps most famously shipbuilding. Glasgow’s shipyards were the birthplace of over one fifth of the world’s supply of ships from the end of the nineteenth century until the First World War. They gave rise to such names as Robert Napier, the Fairfield Shipyards in Govan, and John Brown's Shipyard in Clydebank.
Cultural and social
With immigrants from the Highlands, Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe, and an influx of Jews, Glasgow’s diversity and culture was full of life. Its art, theatres, and music all boasted innovation and worldwide respect. Glasgow had become a leader in the British Empire’s cultural growth. Its impressive buildings reflected this life and growth in their stately quality. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Gilbert Scott’s spire, the University of Glasgow and the Mitchell Library are all examples of the blending and development of culture and architecture. At, Glasgow Green,one of the most ancient parks in Scotland, the People's Palace and Winter Gardens was opened in 1898, providing leisure facilities for local people. A large number of other parks were created in the city during the 19th century. The government and management of the city claimed to be one of the best, providing telephone, water and gas supplies to its residents. It was even home to two Great Exhibitions in 1888 and 1901. By the end of the century, the city’s government provided most of the public amenities. There had been a shifted towards socialism, and Glasgow even had its first Labour MP.