Monday, March 27, 2017

Mapping the History of Glasgow


In the 1860's the city of Glasgow commissioned the Scottish photographer Thomas Annan to photograph the city centre. In 1866 the decision was made to clear the slums in the centre of Glasgow. Annan was employed to photograph the Old Town of Glasgow before it was destroyed.

Thanks to the National Library of Scotland you can view Annan's wonderful collection of photos of Nineteenth Century Glasgow centre. Thomas Annan's Glasgow includes an interactive map which allows you to browse the collection of historical photos by location. The map even includes a vintage 1850's Ordnance Survey map of the city so that you can view how the city looked before the slum clearances.


A slightly different view of historical Glasgow is available in this Glasgow Aerial Photos map. This Leaflet map shows the location (and direction of view) of 159 historical aerial photographs of Glasgow.

The photos on this map were taken sometime in the 1950's to 1960's by the Glasgow Corporation Planning Department. They provide a great bird's eye view of mid-Twentieth Century Glasgow. If you click on the link on any of the historical photographs another Leaflet map will open showing just the selected photo. You can then zoom in and pan around the photo to inspect it in greater detail.


In the 19th Century the Govan area of Glasgow was one of the world's leading ship-building centers. Like many dockland areas Govan became an area popular with immigrants. The number of foreign ships coming into Govan coupled with the area's high employment meant that Govan became an attractive destination for many immigrants to Scotland.

Immigrants to Govan came from all around the world. There were Irish emigrants escaping the potato famine, there were Eastern Europeans fleeing the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia and there were also English immigrants looking for work.

Govan Scotlands's Melting Pot is a fascinating Google Map visualizing the home addresses of foreign born individuals in Govan, using data from the 1881 census.The map shows where immigrants to Govan chose to live in the area. You can even filter the results by nationality so that you can find out where different nationalities grouped together in distinct immigrant communities.

If you select a marker on the map you can view information about the individuals living at an address, with details about their ages and occupations. It is fascinating exploring the map and discovering the types of employment favored by the different nationalities living in Govan in the late 19th Century.
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