The People’s Palace

Just as a museum shuts to prepare for renovations, when it is expected to be a three year project, is maybe not the best time to review the museum. On the other hand, it will be interesting to go back once it reopens, which is aimed to be 2027, and do a comparison. The Winter Gardens, which are attached to the People’s Palace, are already closed ready for the upgrade. Both of these visitor attractions are connected to each other, sitting in the iconic Glasgow Green. It would be unfair to comment on the fabric of the buildings any further at this stage but I believe the changes will be remarkable. If you want to be part of the make over it is possible to donate towards it at: 

The aim of the museum, which was begun in 1898, is to document life in Glasgow through the years. It has some fascinating displays and really interesting items. Set in a beautiful old traditional building, the People's Palace gives an insight to the history of Glaswegian people. Arranged over 3 floors there are sections about tenement living, the effects of the war on the city, alcohol consumption and the making there of. There is a focus on music and the iconic Barrowlands venue with its brightly lit neon sign. This was where I saw my first ever proper concert back in 1994, Counting Crows, and I have been a live music junkie ever since so the Barrowlands holds a special place in my heart.

Buttercup dairy
PHOTOGRAPH BY Maria Robertson

There is an activity sheet for children to complete, and there are various dressing up boxes around the museum with relevant items to match the display they are in. My son declined trying them out but I could not resist trying a few things on. A great way to make you feel more immersed in the topic, similarly there was a laundry display where you could use the “Steamie” items of a washboard and clothes wringer.

Dressing up box
PHOTOGRAPH BY Maria Robertson
Hand's on wash house
PHOTOGRAPH BY Maria Robertson

I had seen online that the museum held Scotland’s national treasure Billy Connolly’s trademark Banana Boots and it was quite a thrill to see them up close. A surprise display was about a local boxer Benny Lynch from the 1930s, not thinking I’d heard of him before I then saw a Gun CD cover for Gallus and sure enough I’ve seen that album cover numerous time before and not known that it was a sports star from my country’s history.

Billy Connolly’s trademark Banana Boots
PHOTOGRAPH BY Maria Robertson
Local boxer Benny Lynch display
PHOTOGRAPH BY Maria Robertson

Free to enter this was an interesting insight into life in Glasgow through the centuries, and it will be interesting to go back after the renovations and see how much it has changed. We just need to wait until 2027 for the opportunity, here’s hoping the work all goes well.

Further information:

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Maria Robertson

Maria Robertson is an academic librarian by day and a concert reviewer by night, she also loves spending time with her family and they all enjoy visiting museums. Reviews published at: