George Square Imperial Measurements – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

It may be difficult to fathom a time when most information wasn’t as easily accessible as the push of a button on a computer, or quick scan of a mobile device. Even though the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries ushered in the Industrial Revolution, the “common man” had to rely on a variety of sources for knowledge. Take for instance, the everyday business of being able to measure distances or the length of an object.

Before standard measurements were common practice, people often relied on body parts to estimate length. The British Imperial and Exchequer Standards were established to provide a more uniform method of measurement. This was a systematic form of calculating everything from ounces to gallons and inches to miles.

In 1882, the city of Glasgow implemented its version of standardized measurements across from the City Chambers Building in George Square. Along the eastern quadrant, a keen observer will notice a plaque with the quantifications for the standard foot, two feet, and imperial yard. This, along with metal plates denoting feet from one to 100, was “verified by the standards department board of trade.”

Know Before You Go

Free and accessible at all times. A placard with measurements in inches is located to the right of the front entrance to the City Chambers. Measurements in feet are located across the street, running parallel to Ingram Street.

George Square is an open communal space, so access may be hindered due to various civic and public events. This is especially true for the Christmas Markets in December and after sporting events.

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April 10, 2024

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