The focal point of George Square is one of the city’s most iconic and imposing buildings, the City Chambers, whose magnificence tells the story of the wealth and industrial prosperity of the Second City of the Empire. It’s one of the most beautiful civic buildings in the UK and a huge favourite amongst locals and tourists.
It was opened by Queen Victoria in 1888 and for over a hundred years has been the headquarters of successive city councils. Queen Victoria herself is depicted on the front of the building, with the central apex statue of Truth above her. This figure is known by locals, not surprisingly, as Glasgow's own “Statue of Liberty”.
More than 1.5 million tiles were laid by hand in the vaulted ceilings and domes.
Going on one of the free tours (see below) is a must. Walk up the largest marble staircase in Western Europe, made of imported Italian Carrara marble. The grandeur continues through to the magnificent Banqueting Hall, where Nelson Mandela received his Freedom of the City award in 1993, and Sir Alex Ferguson in 1999. The three central chandeliers in the Banqueting Hall, “electroliers”, have their own story. In 1885, the council decided that the Hall should have electric lighting, an innovative decision at that time. These magnificent features were the result, along with a generator in the basement to power them. Today, the “electroliers” are still working.
There are free guided, public tours of the Chambers on weekdays at 10.30 & 14.30, lasting 45 minutes. No booking is required - just turn up.