Victoria Park is an intact 19th-century park, with formal bedding schemes and a notable fossil grove. The latter has provided an important prehistory educational element in the use and enjoyment of the park since its opening.
Type of Site
A late 19th-century public park.
Location and Setting
Victoria Park is situated in central Glasgow on the north side of the River Clyde adjacent to the A814.
The setting is entirely urban and residential. There are general views into the park from the surrounding streets and from the A814. Within the park, the knoll on the north side of the lake would originally have been a vantage point, but this is less obvious today.
The 2nd edition OS 1:2500 (25'), 1896, shows the initial layout was smaller than today. By the 3rd edition OS 1:2500 (25'), 1913, it had been extended by a broad strip to the north. More recently, the building of an interchange for the A814 involved loss of the south-east corner of the park to the roadway.
The main North Entrance Gates, made by Walter Macfarlane & Co. are of cast-iron construction. The panelled piers have inset medallions inscribed with text stating that the gates were gifted by 'The Ladies of Partick' to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The park is enclosed by cast-iron Railings. The Fossil Grove Building is a 19th-century glass-roofed structure which has been partly modernised and extended. At the eastern end of the lake, the Clock was gifted by Gordon Oswald of Scotstoun who donated the land for the park. The War Memorial, 1922, at the opposite end of the lake comprises a granite cenotaph surmounted by a figure of Victory by F W Doyle Jones. There are two modern Chinese-style timber Bridges across the lake. Towards the eastern perimeter of the park are the utilitarian Glass-house and Works Yard.
The park is laid out on an east-west axis with a lake at the eastern end. The fossil grove lies in the south-west corner of the park in an old whinstone quarry which has been laid out with picturesque walks around small ornamental ponds. An elaborate bedding display is laid out in the base of the quarry, but this is probably a modern introduction, superseding a Victorian and Edwardian planting scheme. The area is planted with mixed deciduous and coniferous trees, some of which may belong to the early phase in the park's development. Between these displays there is structural evergreen shrub planting of Rhododendrons. Bowling greens, sports pitches and other sporting facilities to the north of the Fossil Grove cover almost half of the total park area. This was the result of the expansion between 1894-1909. An amoebic-shaped lake is situated at the south-eastern end of the park. At one end of the lake, islands have been formed which are joined by two modern Chinese-style Bridges. A small pond with rockwork lies to the north of the lake. This is planted with weeping willow (Salix vitellina 'Pendula'). Between the lake and the glasshouse yard to the east are bold bedding displays, including scallop-shaped beds with clipped holly domes. The displays include commemorative coats of arms, some of which are planted on sloping ground around the edge. Overlooking this area are a shrubbery and a knoll planted with Rhododendrons and laurels.
A perimeter path runs around the park and a straight axial path links the fossil grove area with the lake. A cross path running north-south cuts across this area and a lime avenue forms the main entrance to the park from the north. All the paths are of tarmacadam.
Recent tree plantings including whitebeam (Sorbus aria), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), cherry (Prunus sp.), Copper beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea'), Swedish whitebeam (Sorbus intermedia), lime (Tilia x europaea), and Silver birch (Betula pendula).
- Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:
Reason for Inclusion
An intact 19th century park, with formal bedding schemes and notable fossil grove. The latter has provided an important prehistory educational element in the use and enjoyment of the park since its opening.
Main Phases of Landscape Development
Victoria Park, named in honour of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, was laid out between 1886-7 on the Scotstoun Estate, on land given to the burgh of Partick by Gordon Oswald of Scotstoun. It was later extended between 1894-1909. The park was laid out by unemployed shipbuilders from the Glasgow dockyards.
A major influence on the layout of the designed landscape was made during the park's construction when a fossil grove was uncovered. Eleven fossil stumps and roots of trees were found when workers were excavating a path through an old whinstone quarry in the south-west corner of the park. During the 19th century, prehistory became an important element in some civic parks up and down the country, the most well-known being the artificial cliffs and display of prehistoric animals at Crystal Palace Park in London.
Various features within the park have been removed or altered since the end of the 19th century. The curling pond indicated on the 2nd-4th edition OS 1:2500 (25'), 1896-1932, is no longer extant, having been superseded by the works yard. Some time between the 3rd and 4th edition OS 1:2500 (25'), 1913 and 1932 respectively, the knoll to the north of the lake was reformed and landscaped anew. In more recent years, a bandstand and amphitheatre which were laid out to complement an earlier pavilion on the east side of the fossil grove quarry have been replaced by a crazy golf course. This is currently in a state of disrepair. Vandalism and decay have exerted their toll on the historic character of the park.
- Features & Designations
Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland
- Key Information
Open to the public