Glasgow botanics hosts bicentenary gala for all the family

The Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens Glasgow.
Picture: Allan Milligan
The Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens Glasgow. Picture: Allan Milligan
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GLASGOW’S Botanic Gardens celebrates its 200th anniversary this weekend with a packed and fun-filled schedules of family activities and events.

Situated in Glasgow’s West End where Queen Margaret Drive meets the Great Western Road, the city’s number one ‘Dear Green Place’ was founded on 20 May 1817 by Scottish botanist and litographer Thomas Hopkirk.

And to celebrate this historic milestone, Botanics officials have organised a fun-filled weekend of activities, events, talks and tours aimed at all the family.

Events this weekend include choir performances, Bard in the Botanic theatre productions, face painting, and a guided horticultural tour of the Gardens.

READ MORE: Six beautiful public gardens in Scotland

The bicentenary has also triggered a major spruce-up operation around the entire park, with gates, gate pillars and railings repaired, restored and repainted back to their original condition. Funding for the renovations was raised in a joint effort from both Glasgow City Council and The Friends of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

Ewen Donaldson, General Manager at the Botanic Gardens, expressed his thanks to all those involved in the restoration works: “This is a very special year for us and we are most grateful to The Friends of the Botanic Gardens for their major contribution towards the restoration of the gates. The Friends have also funded the new Outdoor Garden Classroom, which will also open on Saturday.

“It will be a fantastic day and I hope as many people as possible can join us as we celebrate 200 years of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.”

History

Glasgow’s Botanics haven’t always been located at Kelvinside. The first gardens were sited much closer to the town centre at Sandyford, near Charing Cross.

The Kibble Palace dated 1940's  in the Botanic Gardens Glasgow. Picture: Allan Milligan

The Kibble Palace dated 1940's in the Botanic Gardens Glasgow. Picture: Allan Milligan

This land was sold in 1830, and the plants and glasshouses uprooted and replanted over a period of 11 years to their present home just north of Byres Road.

Kibble Palace, the Gardens’ stunning main glasshouse, was designed for and named after John Kibble by architects James Bouchers and James Cousland for his home at Coulport on Loch Long in the 1860s. It was later conveyed along the River Clyde by barge and erected at its current location in 1873.

In 2004 Kibble Palace, which is visible from Queen Margaret Drive, underwent a £7 million overhaul in an effort to repair its badly-corroded ironwork. It reopened to the public in November 2006.

The Gardens became freely accessible to the general public in 1891, when full ownership was handed over to the city.

Glasgow Botanics old railway station, which once offered the one of the main means of travel to and from the park, remains today as a fascinating relic behind a row of trees in the Gardens, albeit in a state of decay.

READ MORE: Scottish fact of the day: Botanic Gardens station