George Square is the principal civic square in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. It is named after King George III. Laid out in 1781, George Square is surrounded by architecturally important buildings including on the east side the palatial Municipal Chambers, also known as the City Chambers, whose foundation stone was laid in 1883. Built by Glasgow Corporation it is the continuing headquarters of Glasgow City Council. Joseph Swan`s panoramic engraving of 1829 shows the early development of the square and its surrounding buildings.
George Square was laid out in 1781, part of the innovative Georgian central grid plan of the city`s New Town that initially spanned from Stockwell Street west to Buchanan Street—which reflected the growing rational influence of the Scottish Enlightenment, along with the similar development of Edinburgh's New Town. This grid iron masterplan across the lands of Meadowflats, and eventually as far west as Blythswood Hill, was largely the work of the notable contemporary architects David Hamilton. James Barry, James Craig, James Gillespie Graham among others.
For the first few years however it was little more than a muddy hollow, filled with dirty water and used for slaughtering horses. Between 1787 and the 1820s, the square was eventually opened up and lined with Georgian townhouses at its east and west ends, as well as hotels. 1842 saw the opening, at the north west corner of the square, of Queen Street Station as the Glasgow terminus of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway. By 1850 the surrounding area had become a centre for mercantile activity, with the Merchants House moving to the square in 1877, and the square itself, which had been developed into a private garden for the surrounding townhouses, became an established public space, after frequent disturbances and pulling down of railings by a disgruntled mob.
The square was named after King George III, a statue of whom was originally intended to occupy the centre of the square, but the turmoil and anxiety caused to the city's Tobacco Lords by the War of American Independence in 1775 and eventual British defeat in 1783, coupled with his ever more frequent bouts of madness had created mixed feelings toward the Hanoverian and so it was decided instead to commemorate Sir Walter Scott, which, incidentally, was the first ever memorial dedicated to him. The 80 foot Doric column is by Alexander Handyside Ritchie, "an architectural sculptor of genius", and the sculpture of Scott above it was by John Greenshields. Both were completed between 1834–37, some years before Scott was commemorated in Edinburgh.
Today the east side of the square is dominated by the ornate Glasgow City Chambers, designed by architect William Young,  which was opened in 1888. On the South side are a number of buildings, including the former General Post Office, built in 1878 and redeveloped into offices in 2007, a Chicago-style office building, dating from 1924. The city's main Tourist Information Centre is in the adjacent Royal Exchange Square.
The North side consists of Queen Street Station, the North British Railway Hotel (now the Millennium Hotel), which date from the 1840s, and George House, which replaced an older Georgian building, built in 1979 to provide extra office space for Glasgow City Council, and later the offices of Ernst & Young.
Queen Street, running parallel to the square's West side, was formerly a row of hotels and now features the Merchants House building for the guildry formed in 1603 to establish the rights, duties and privileges of the merchants and craftsmen of Glasgow. Westbourne Music perform regularly here in a series of Merchants Music. The building also houses the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1783. Designed by John Burnet and opened in 1874, two storeys were added to the Merchants House by his son JJ Burnet in 1907 and are topped by a domed tower on which is perched the emblem of the House a ship on a globe, a reminder of the importance of sea trade to Glasgow's prosperity. The western side is also the location of the former Bank of Scotland building, which is now offices and a restaurant and bar.
Monuments and Statues
The eastern side of the square itself is flanked by two lawns and is also the site of the city's Cenotaph, which was designed by Sir John James Burnet and originally built to commemorate Glaswegians killed in the First World War. It was conceived in 1921, and unveiled in 1924 by Field Marshall Earl Haig.
Eleven of Glasgow's many public statues are situated around the square: the only known equestrian statues of a young Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert both sculpted by Carlo Marochetti; poets Robert Burns sculpted by George Edwin Ewing, and Thomas Campbell sculpted by William Bodie; inventor James Watt sculpted by Francis Leggatt Chantrey; chemist Thomas Graham sculpted by William Brodie; general Sir John Moore sculpted by John Flaxman, and Field Marshall Lord Clyde sculpted by John Henry Foley; and politicians William Ewart Gladstone sculpted by William Hamo Thornycroft, Robert Peel sculpted by John Mossman, and James Oswald sculpted by Carlo Marochetti. 
The square has often been the scene of public meetings, political gatherings, protests, celebrations, ceremonies, parades and concerts. Perhaps the most famous was the Battle of George Square, when skilled engineers campaigning for a 40hour working week held a rally. Although a crowd of over 100,000 is often claimed, contemporary sources put it at 20-25,000. The meeting descended into violence between the protesters and the police, with the riot act being read. The city's radical reputation, and the raising of the red flag by some present, made the Coalition government fear a Bolshevik revolution was afoot. The Sheriff of Lanarkshire called for military assistance. Ten thousand troops, mainly from Scotland, were deployed, although they did not arrive until the riot was over. Six tanks arrived the following Monday, but never left their depot in the Cattle Market.
The square later provided a home to political hustings and meetings of all sorts, protests against the Poll tax and Iraq War, annual Remembrance Day parades and has lately become the venue for the city's extensive Hogmanay celebrations. The Square is also used for musical events and pageants.
In February 2005, the square was closed to pedestrians for a two-month restoration project, including the replacement of the red asphalt concourse, and the cleaning of stone and the statues in the square, most notably that of Walter Scott.
Plans to remove the greenspace and lease the area for temporary businesses and events has been controversial. In 2012 a campaign was started to restore the square to its previous state.
In 2012 Glasgow City Council voted to spend £15m on a "makeover", of the square, in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, to make it "a place fit for the 21st Century". The plans included removing all of the monuments and statues in the square, ostensibly for restoration. However, the council said that "it is possible" that the monuments "may not return to the square", but will rather be relocated to "an area of regeneration". Only one monument was certain to remain; the Cenotaph by Sir John James Burnet.
On 9 January 2013, the six shortlisted designs were put on display to the public in a nearby gallery. All the designs featured at least half the statues returning, with many containing all 11. Each short-listed design also contained a water-feature, which public reaction has been highly critical of considering the typical weather Glasgow experiences. The competition proved highly controversial. In the face of public outrage the abandonment of the redevelopment plan was announced on the same day as the winning design (by John McAslan & Partners) was announced.
- Glasgow by Irene Maver, published in 2000
- George Square, Glasgow by Thomas Somerville, published in 1891, 294 pages, with illustrations
- Private Eye No 1324, p.14, Nooks and Corners, 5–18 October 2012
- The History of G1 Glasgow Archived 12 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. G1 George Square Glasgow
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
- Restore George Square website
- Glasgow Architecture George Square Competition
- e-architect John McAslan & Partners
- Private Eye No 1324, p. 14, Nooks and Corners, 5–18 October 2012
- George Square, Glasgow by Thomas Somerville, published in 1891, 294 pages, with illustrations.
- Architecture of Glasgow, by Andor Gomme and David Walker, published in 1968, 320 pages, with illustrations. Second and revised edition in 1987.
- The Buildings of Scotland : Glasgow , by Williamson, Riches and Higgs, published in 1990, 700 pages, with illustrations.
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