During the six month duration of the Empire Exhibition in 1938, 13million people were counted through the turnstiles to see a Bellahouston Park transformed into a city of striking modernist architecture, wide boulevards, fountains and other stunning water features. At night the Exhibition shone like a beacon visible for miles around anticipating night-time cityscapes that would prove to be many decades in the future.
Today, there is little remaining at Bellahouston to suggest that a remarkable vision of the future once existed there in 1938. The Park has long since returned to its pastoral role of relaxation and contemplation to those who walk its pathways. The only building directly linked to the Exhibition that still stands is the Palace of Art. While most of the buildings constructed were of a temporary nature and would not have lasted, the Palace of Art was built as a permanent structure to remain once the Exhibition was removed.
Yet, if the plan of the Exhibition is studied carefully and matched against Bellahouston Park as it is today, some sense of what was there can be glimpsed through depressions in the ground indicating grassed-over foundations, paths and roadways. The images here try to link the Bellahouston of 1938 to the Bellahouston of 2007.