THINK holding concerts in Glasgow parks is a new phenomenon? Think again.

The city’s Music in Parks initiative started way back in 1872, when a handful of military bands got together to stage concerts outdoors.

In 1913, almost TWO MILLION people attended around 400 performances.

Take that, TRNSMT.

By 1925, there were 600 concerts across 16 parks, explains Glasgow City Archives’ senior archivist Dr Irene O’Brien.

“One example is Elder Park in Govan, where there were regular concerts during the 1925 May to August season, mostly performed by local ensembles - Govan Silver Band, Tramways Orchestra; two Boys Brigade bands; 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers,” she says.

“Sometimes there were visiting bands such as the Plymouth Marines who played in several parks in 1925. Performances would start around 7pm on weekdays and last about an hour and a half.”

Glasgow Times:

Dr O’Brien adds: “As part of the Cultural History of Glasgow project, we will be digitising a sample of Music in Parks programmes and bandstand drawings and putting them on our website.”

You can find out more about this project here

While most libraries remain closed, Dr O’Brien and her colleagues – Lynsey Green, Barbara Neilson, Michael Gallagher and Nerys Tunnicliffe - have launched Ask the Archivist, which gives people the chance to ask questions about the city collections.

It’s part of #glasgowlifegoeson, a campaign to remind everyone of the fantastic facilities and resources available online during the pandemic.

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More details are available on the Glasgow City Archives Facebook page.

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The archives hold a fascinating collection of photos and documents relating to the city’s parks and green spaces.

They reveal it was a gift of land from James II to Bishop Turnbull of Glasgow in 1450 which laid the foundations for the city’s parks system.

The Bishop in turn gave this piece of land – the original Glasgow Green, alongside the Clyde to the west of the medieval Glasgow Bridge - to the people.

(The present Green was acquired piecemeal by the town council between 1662 and 1792. For many years it was used for communal purposes, notably for drying the nets of the salmon fishers, bleaching of linen and grazing cows.)

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Dr O’Brien explains: “In the early 19th century, Glasgow eastenders complained the natural beauty of the Green was being destroyed because of the proximity of large public and manufacturing works; their fumes making the cultivation of even the most hardy species of plants very difficult.

“The Council began to add monuments, like Nelson in 1806, and the Doulton fountain (the largest three-storey terracotta fountain in the world), plus a gymnasium and drinking fountains.”

As Glasgow expanded, says Dr O’Brien, it had an ambitious programme for the provision of parks for “the recreation and amusement” of citizens.

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“The earliest of these included Kelvingrove in 1852, the first purpose-designed and constructed park in Scotland, and Queen’s Park (1857), site of the 16th century Battle of Langside and dedicated to Mary Queen of Scots,” she adds. “By 1914 there were 18 major parks in the city.”