The People’s Palace & Winter Gardens

The People’s Palace is a substantial three-storey sandstone building behind which is a glasshouse typical of many built in the late nineteenth century as winter gardens, where people could relax among tropical plants. It was opened in 1898 and designed by Glasgow’s city engineer Alexander B McDonald. Since the 1940s it has housed a museum of social history, where artefacts, images, moving film and interactive displays tell the story of Glasgow’s people from 1750 until 2000. There is extensive coverage of trade unions and the labour movement, including the contribution of Clydesiders to the republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. The characteristic housing patterns of the Glasgow conurbation are fully explained, with a display showing life in a ‘single end’ a one-room dwelling within a tenement block. The essential role of the ‘steamies’ the public baths and wash houses is described. Popular recreation is illustrated by a recreation of the environment of the 1950s, when ballroom dancing was very popular in the city, particularly in the Barrowlands Ballroom, and by a section on trips by steamers ‘doon the watter’ (down the water) on the River Clyde. One of the most prominent features of the People’s Palace is the Doulton Fountain, a 14 m. high fountain in terracotta, presented to the city after the International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in 1888 by Sir Henry Doulton (1820-97). The museum also has displays of pottery, textiles, glass and metal castings.

The People’s Palace & Winter Gardens
Glasgow Green
G40 1AT Glasgow
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1412 - 760788