Touring People’s Palace & Winter Gardens

Sitting regally on the north east side of Glasgow Green, the majestic People’s Palace & Winter Gardens is a fascinating place to visit and is a popular tourist attraction for people visiting Scotland, as well as the people who call this ruggedly beautiful country home.

At the opening ceremony on 22 January 1898, Lord Roseberry is quoted as saying that the People’s Palace is intended to be “a palace of pleasure and imagination around which the people may place their affections and which may give them a home on which their memory may rest.” Certainly the People’s Palace is a museum that offers insight into the captivating, and often tumultuous, history of the city of Glasgow and surrounding areas. The museum serves to help younger Glaswegians appreciate their heritage and older ones to reflect on the changes they may have seen in their lifetime.

The huge Victorian glasshouse extending from the back of the People’s Palace houses the Winter Gardens, which feature an extensive range of unusually beautiful tropical plants, some of which are enormous. The café situated inside the winter gardens offers refreshments in a tropical climate, often a far cry from the climate outside. The intricately detailed terracotta Doulton Fountain is an eye-catching feature outside the front entrance of the palace. The fountain, which was presented to the city of Glasgow by Henry Doulton, was moved from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green in 1890.

The palace itself has three floors, with the ground floor linking the front entrance to the Winter Gardens, as well as housing the museum shop and temporary exhibitions. The first floor is divided into a series of areas, each reflecting a different aspect of life in historical Glasgow. “The Steamie” gives details of Glasgow’s famous historical public clothes washing facilities, while “Doon the Watter” illustrates the Clyde Estuary and the crowds of Glaswegians who regularly enjoyed the seaside’s pleasures in the 1800s and early 1900s. Other displays include the two World Wars and “Dancing at the Barrowland” featuring the renowned ballroom situated nearby the People’s Palace.

The upper floor is divided into two main areas, one of which is devoted to housing in Glasgow, featuring the tenements and the unique lifestyle of the people who occupied them, as well as how they spent their free time and how, sometimes with great ingenuity, they made ends meet. The other section focuses on a historical look at the working lives of everyday people in Glasgow.

A visit to Glasgow’s People’s Palace & Winter Gardens is a lovely way to spend the day and is highly recommended for visitors to this friendly city in Scotland.