An afternoon at the Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens can be found at the junction of Great Western Road, Byres Road and Queen Margaret Drive.

In 1816, Thomas Hopkirk, a professor at the University of Glasgow, founded a society of like-minded individuals with an interest in botany. The following year, the society was granted a Royal Charter, becoming the Royal Botanical Institution of Glasgow. Grounds were laid aside for the society to build a garden to showcase their interest; the gardens were were built in 1817 sited at Sandyford. Hopkirk donated his own plant collection to the gardens.

In 1842, as Glasgow grew, the gardens were relocated to beside the River Kelvin.

During the 1860s, John Kibble designed and built a large consevatory for his home on Loch Long. In 1873, the conservatory was moved by barge to the Botanic Gardens and reconsrtucted there – it was christened the Kibble Palace. That year, Benjamin Disraeli was installed as rector of Glasgow University in the Palace; in 1879, William Ewart Gladstone was appointed to the same role. This was the last time the Palace would be used for anything other than the growing and support of temperate plant life.

A lack of funds led to the Garden being sold in 1891 to the Glasgow Corporation (which would become Glasgow City Council). The transaction was made on the condition that the Garden would remain as a botanical site and would be allowed to maintain its connections with the University.

In the 1920s, a statue of King Robert of Sicily was erected within the Palace.

In 2004, the ironwork in the Kibble Palace was in need of repair. The conservatory was fully dismantled and taken to South Yorkshire for conservation work. This was the first time, since the Palace’s installation in the grounds, that plants were not housed in it. Once the repair work was finished, the Palace was rebuilt with a new floor plan. It was reopened in late 2006.

Botanic Gardens

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