This week I was given a 'One Month To Go' Blog challenge. Each member of #Team14 was given a word and then asked to blog about it in a creative way while still keeping a connection to Glasgow 2014. I was given 'Historic' and immediately started brainstorming some ideas. Of course the Games themselves are historic but that was too obvious and has been done a million times, Glasgow is a historic city but then where do you even start? I really wanted to somehow represent both.
As a Glaswegian I am more than aware of the changes in my city throughout my lifetime and how it has grown from post industrial decay to one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. I have watched as the reputation of Glasgow has improved to the point where it is no longer primarily associated with the poverty and poor health that comes from a working class city of mixed employment fortunes.
With alot of hard work and a series of marketing campaigns, Glasgow has reinvented and regenerated itself into a modern city of culture with much to offer locals and tourists. The Commonwealth Games is the ultimate opportunity to sell ourselves to a global audience. When the eyes of the world turn to Glasgow on the 23rd July 2014 it will be covered by international media, with visitors from far and wide arriving in the city for the biggest sporting event in Scotland's history.
However, no matter what social changes have taken place over the last century, one thing hasn't changed and that is the Glaswegian love of sport. All over the city there are plenty clubs supporting and nurturing participants in a wide range of sporting activities from budding rowers on the River Clyde to young ice hockey enthusiasts at Braehead. Many of these clubs have a long and proud history and have produced some of the country's finest athletes.
Apart from a cosmetic facelift, the sporting Glasgow of 2014 is not so different from the sporting Glasgow you would have found in 1914. To find out how much sport has always played a part in the history of my city I firstly turned to the archives of The Glasgow Herald from 23rd July 1914, exactly 100 years to the day that the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony takes place.
Today it would be difficult to find a Scottish sports section not dominated by football but in 1914 Bowling, Angling, Lawn Tennis, Cricket, Athletics, Swimming, Horse Racing, Yachting and Golf were the favoured sports.
Entire sections of The Herald are dedicated to Scottish bowling tournaments, golf club competitions and lawn tennis results.
The 23rd of July saw the second day of the annual Scottish lawn tennis championships in Edinburgh with the weather described as 'fine weather with a genial breeze tempering the heat'. The highlight of the day was the international singles match between Scotland and Ireland. The favourites Ireland went on to win as they were apparently more accustomed to playing on grass courts!
At The Highland Gathering in Dunfermline, Glaswegians J.Campbell and Hugh Lyttle dominated the wrestling winning first and second place respectively.
Govanhill swimming baths on the southside of Glasgow near to Hampden stadium was the newest sporting venue in the city having opened 3 weeks earlier With hot baths on the upper storey, 3 swimming pools on the ground floor and a seating area for spectators it was a great facility for the community. Closed in 2001 there has been an ongoing campaign to reopen the building as a Wellbeing Centre.
If you head to the westend of the city you will find two preserved bath houses still popular today. The oldest club of it's kind in the world, The Arlington Bath Club was founded in 1870 and is run by members on a not-for-profit basis. The Western Baths were founded in 1876 and the original swimming pool has been retained while additional modern sporting facilities have been added.
The football stadiums being used for the opening and closing ceremony venues for The Commonwealth Games have existed for over 100 years and were built at a time when football in the city was still in it's infancy. Although they have been modernised for the 21st century they were both pioneering venues at the time
The venue for the closing ceremony, Hampden Park, was only 11 years old in 1914. When it was built in 1903 it was the largest and most technically advanced stadium in the world.
Celtic Park, the venue of the opening ceremony, is slightly older having been built in 1892 and housed the first ever double-decker stand at a football ground.
Another venue that will host Commonwealth sport in 2014 is the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls centre. Bowls has a long history in Glasgow with the earliest reference appearing in 1595. The lawns may have been upgraded but the historic city backdrop for the Commonwealth Lawn Bowls competitions is pretty much unchanged from the days bowls were played here in 1914. Take away the cars and you could almost travel back in time.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Glasgow University still dominate the landscape and if you are travelling here the easiest way is by the city underground system, known as the Clockwork Orange which was also operating in 1914. Opened in 1896 it was the world's third underground system after London and Budapest.
The recent trails developed for the Commonwealth mountain biking are situated within Cathkin Braes which is the highest point in Glasgow with spectacular views over the city. Although the trails are recent, the area has a long and varied history, and in 1914 as it is now, was used as a place of recreation and escape from the city.
In 1887 the millionaire James Dick gifted the eastern part of the park to the city on the condition that it was left as a natural open space for public enjoyment. A park pavillion was built and at the time held major events which attracted crowds in excess of 10,000 people. The pavillion may have been demolished in the 1980s but the Commonwealth Games will be attracting large crowds here once again.
In fact all of the modern sporting venues built in the city stand adjacent to parks and attractions that existed 100 years ago and were utilised then as they are now as recreational areas by the people of Glasgow. While some 1914 sites have disappeared into memory or have went through a period of dereliction and regeneration it is apparent from the campaigns to maintain and save our historical sporting venues that Glaswegians are proud of their past and grateful for the facilities that are on their doorstep.
Not all of the popular sports venues from 1914 have stood the test of time. Crossmyloof ice rink opened in 1907 and at one point was the longest ice rink in Britain. Eventually closed in 1986 it has now been replaced by a supermarket.
As a side note did you know that in 1852 the world's first guide for ice skaters was written by George Anderson, president of The Glasgow Skating Club?
In 2014 there are still many sports clubs in Glasgow that were around in 1914. Some of the notable ones include -
Cartha Athletic Club, founded in Glasgow in 1889, was one of the largest and most successful sports clubs in the country. The rugby section of the athletic club started in 1906 and in 1908 gained membership to the Scottish Rugby Union. Cartha Queen's Park RFC is still thriving today.
Maryhill Harriers was founded in 1888 and is now one of Glasgow's oldest athletic clubs, in 1935 three of their runners were selected for the Olympics.
Founded before most of the teams in the English and Scottish football leagues, the Glasgow Deaf Athletic Football Club was started in 1871 and still going strong today, it is the oldest deaf football club in the world and indeed one of the oldest football clubs in the world.
Clydesdale Cricket Club is the third oldest in Scotland having been in existence since 1848. The West of Scotland Cricket Club founded in 1862 was the venue for the first ever official international football match in 1872, the teams were Scotland and England and the result was a 0-0 draw.
The Glasgow 2014 campaign is currently achieving a renewed interest in the many sports already on offer in the city and the vision of it's planned future legacies can already be seen in the new state of the art facilities and venues which have sprung up in areas badly in need of social regeneration.
Hosting The Commonwealth Games may have helped to change the perception of the city but as a Glaswegian I have always been aware of our HISTORIC sporting pedigree and on 23rd July 2014 we finally get to share it with the world.
At the beginning of June I was chosen as one of the official bloggers for the XX Commonwealth Games that will be held in Glasgow from 23rd July to 3rd August 2014.