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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Culture and Leisure


By Frank Arneil Walker

Princes Square In 1960 the delineation of the Inner Ring motorway blighted the city's inner suburbs (though many were ripe for redevelopment) but saved its gridded heart. A decade later Lord Esher called Glasgow "the finest surviving example of a great Victorian city" and in 1975 the entire central zone of the city was designated a Conservation Area. Since then creative conservation has driven Glasgow's post-industrial make-over, from stone-cleaned streets and rehabilitated tenements to the renewal of the Merchant City and the Victorian / Edwardian core. There was conservative respect at Glasgow Cathedral precinct, 1991, and at St Andrew's Square, 1996, but at Princes Square, 1986-87, The Italian Centre, 1990-91 and The Lighthouse, 1998-99, a more imaginative adaptation of existing fabric helped revitalise the inner city. At the same time, commercial infill - some sensitised to precedent as at 120 West Regent Street, 1988-90, some uncompromising and audacious as at The Beacon, 1996-98, and the Radisson SAS Hotel, 1998-2002 - "conserved" the city's historic ability to reinvent itself with radical self-assurance.

Riverboat Casino This confidence stimulated the city's reclamation of its river. Since the 1970s, when the Clyde Walkway made a promenade of the north bank, a tide of commercial, residential and leisure development has washed west from the city centre: offices at Atlantic Quay, 1990-2000, housing at Lancefield Quay and, further west, the Clyde Auditorium, 1995-97 and the Science Centre, 1998-2000. In the east, at Glasgow Green, are the exciting if mutually ill-mannered "Homes for the Future", 1998-2000, while across the river on the razed sites of Gorbals a vast new suburb of latter-day terraces and tenements has been built.

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