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Bellahouston Park

View of Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

Bellahouston Park is located approximately 3 miles from the centre of Glasgow. The main part of Bellahouston Park was acquired by the City in 1895 for the sum of £50,000 and opened to the public in 1896. Three years later, the city’s second municipal golf course (now an 18 hole pitch and putt) was established at Bellahouston following the success of the course at Alexandra Park. The park was extended in 1901 by the addition of a part of Dumbreck Lands purchased for the sum of £2,824 from Sir John Maxwell, Bart. A further addition was made in 1903 by including the lands of Ibroxhill at a cost of £40,222 from which commanding views of the city are available.

 

In 1938 the famous Empire exhibition was held at the park. The site took only fourteen months to build and the cost of admission was one shilling. The Empire Exhibition was to be ‘the most elaborate and extravagant exhibition ever held in Britain’. Bellahouston Park was selected as it gave the organisers a large open space and a commanding view of the city. Formally opened on the 3 May 1938 at nearby Ibrox Stadium by King George VI and Queen Mary the site included more than 100 diverse sites ranging from a post office to a Highland Village complete with a Chiefs Castle. A mammoth attendance of 12 .5 million was recorded. Today, of the 200 palaces and pavilions that were built for the exhibition only the Palace of Art remains - it now serves as a Sports Excellence Centre. A stone Peace Cairn built for the exhibition is still visible from the rock garden.

 

In 1996 Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover was completed from original drawings of 1901 and now serves as contemporary centre of excellence for the visual arts.

 

Another significant date in the park’s history was the pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II. As part of his pastoral visit to Great Britain, His Holiness celebrated Mass in Bellahouston Park on June 1st 1982. Arriving by helicopter, Pope John Paul II was welcomed by Archbishop Thomas Winning of Glasgow.

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