Close of Play: Carbon Usage Walking Tour
GSA Exhibitions / The Drouth

Event Type:

Close of Play: Climate Emergency and Creative Action


Meeting Point: La Pasionara statue, (opposite the old Customs House on Clyde Street)


27 Nov 2021
11:00 - 13:00



Mural, Milton, Glasgow
Photo: Ewan Gibbs

Close of Play: Carbon Usage Walking Tour

Event info

Carbon Usage Walking Tour with Ewan Gibbs 

11am - 1pm, 27 November 2021

Meet Point: Revised to 11am, La Pasionara statue, (opposite the old Customs House on Clyde Street). We will set off shortly after 11am. The original meeting point has been changed due to a rally at same time at Glasgow Green.

What to wear and take: warm clothes and sensible shoes for walking just under 3 miles. Size of group30 
Type of terrain: Streets around the city centre. 

Glasgow lay at the centre of the development of a global carbon economy and was itself transformed by coal and then oil technologies during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Join this tour to explore some of the key locations in a story of invention, industry, empire and local and global justice and injustice. The tour will be led by Dr Ewan Gibbs from the University of Glasgow, who is a historian of Scotland’s energy industries. We’ll start at Glasgow Green, where James Watt’s famous eighteenth century epiphany led to the beginning of the age of steam. From there we’ll walk along the Clyde and through sites at the city centre where we’ll meet imperialists, industrialists, dockers, train workers, urban planners, sailors, train drivers, soldiers and suburban commuters.  

Over the course of seven stops, we’ll come to see that Glasgow’s heavy industries and role in commerce gave the city a central place in the globalized economy of the nineteenth centuries, including in the making of the early oil industry. As the tour progresses, the transformation of the urban environment and social life through the ripping up of older coal-fuelled transportation and the rise of the car will also become clear. These choices were inherently political and inevitably had losers as well as winners. They also had a lasting impact major impact on the local and global environment. 

Dr Ewan Gibbs is a lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include energy history, work and labour and working-class politics and protests. Ewan recently published his first book, Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialization in Postwar Scotland (University of London Press, 2021). 

This walking tour is part of GSA’s ‘Close of Play’ series and is in association with The Drouth, Scotland’s weekly web journal for literature, art, politics and informed critical commentary. Since being founded by Johnny Rodger and Mitch Miller as a quarterly magazine back in 2001, The Drouth has been front and centre of cultural, political and artistic debates.

This event is part of GSA’s series ‘Close of Play: Climate Emergency and Creative Action’. The Glasgow School of Art’s yearlong series explores the ways in which creative actions and multi-disciplinary practice can address climate emergency, sustainability, and climate justice.