Glasgow’s City Chambers are an architectural dream.
The wealth generated by Glasgow between the 18th and 20th centuries dotted the city with amazing architectural builds. And one of the many buildings showcasing the riches earned is none other than the Glasgow City Chambers, opened way back in 1888 by Queen Victoria herself and costing over half a million pounds at the time.
As it stands, the building is home to the Glasgow City Council. It happens to be one of the most beautiful civic buildings found anywhere in the UK, making it a favourite among tourists and locals who love pointing out Glasgow’s very own Statue of Liberty (in actuality, the Statue of Truth) rising from the central apex of the façade.
However, the abundance of wealth can only truly be appreciated once inside the building.
Right from your very first steps in the building, you will notice the mosaic of the city’s coat of arms. But look around and you’ll notice that mosaics are found throughout the building, on ceilings and domes, with an estimated 1.5 million individual tiles used and laid by hand.
One of two main drawcards for the city chambers is the marble staircase, made entirely from imported Italian Carrara marble. It is the biggest of its kind in Western Europe, meaning it’s one storey taller than the Vatican City staircase. Take that, Rome.
The second drawcard of the city chambers is the Banqueting Hall, where both Nelson Mandela and Sir Alex Ferguson received their Freedom of the City award. But since you won’t see either of them hanging about, look around the room and take in the history and culture of Glasgow as painted by the Glasgow Boys, namely Sir John Lavery, Alexander Roche and George Henry.
Other impressive demonstrations of the wealth and grandeur that Glasgow maintained include the level three ceiling and dome, the council chamber made primarily from Spanish mahogany, and the leaded Venetian windows found throughout. There’s also a gorgeous marble lion on the first floor that, legend has it, gives you good luck if you rub its nose.
Much like The Lighthouse, home to Glasgow’s creative industries and an amazing viewing platform, tours of the Glasgow City Chambers are done on a first-come-first-served basis. However, two tours are run per day, Monday to Friday, with the first at 10:30am and the second at 2:30pm. They last around 45 minutes. Group sizes are capped to about 25 people but group bookings can be organised if you contact the city chambers.
Glasgow City Chambers, 82 George Square, G2 1DU