Glasgow West End Glass House 2



Kibble Palace and the Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens were founded on an 8-acre site at the West End of Sauchiehall Street at Sandyford in 1817. This was through the initiative of Thomas Hopkirk of Dalbeth who gave his own plant collection to form the nucleus of the new garden.




Gates at Great Western Road in 1923
Gates at Great Western Road in 1923



  • It was run by the Royal Botanical Institution of Glasgow and an agreement was reached with Glasgow University to provide facilities for teaching, including supply of plants for botany and medical classes.
  • Professor William J. Hooker, Reguis Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow (1820-41), took an active part in the development of the Gardens, which became well known in botanical circles throughout the world.
  • The early success led to expansion and the purchase of the present site at Kelvinside, which was established in 1842.
  • At the time entry was mainly restricted to members of the Royal Botanical Institution and their friends although later the public were admitted on selected days for the princely sum of one penny.
  • The Kibble Palace which now houses a forest of tree ferns was originally a private conservatory located at Coulport on Loch Long. It was moved to its present site in 1873 and originally used as a concert hall and meeting place, hosting speakers such as Disraeli and Gladstone.
  • Increasing financial difficulties led to the Gardens being taken over by the then Glasgow Corporation in 1891 on condition they continued as a Botanic Garden and maintained links with the University.
  • The Botanic Gardens are still a popular venue for visitors throughout the year with around 400,000 visitors per annum.
  • In recent years the grounds have undergone significant improvement and a new World Rose Garden was opened in the upper part of the Gardens in 2002.




Postcard of the Park approx. 1907
Postcard of the Botanic Gardens c.1907


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