IT WAS hailed as one of the platforms which helped Glasgow reinvent itself as a city of cultural significance and attracted more than four million visitors in just five months.

The Glasgow Garden Festival put the city firmly on the map and played a huge role in the transformation of the city’s derelict ship-building and industrial heartland to a changing landscape of homes, hotels, and a media hub.

More than 30 years ago the former dockland became a riverside landmark with sights such as the Coca Cola rollercoaster and Clydesdale Bank 150th anniversary tower.

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Now a team of archaeologists have returned to the site to find out what remains of the 1988 location.

Digging the Festival is led by University of Glasgow archaeologists.

HeraldScotland: Dr Kenny Brophy, senior lecturer in archeology at Glasgow University, who with his staff and students are mapping out sections of Festival Park, scene of the the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, to discover what happened to the siteDr Kenny Brophy, senior lecturer in archeology at Glasgow University, who with his staff and students are mapping out sections of Festival Park, scene of the the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, to discover what happened to the site

Few locations where the festival was held 34 years ago remain undeveloped, the main one being Festival Park on Govan Road closed to the Glasgow Science Centre where the investigation will be based.

This will be a joint effort between the ‘After the Garden Festival…‘ project and the University of Glasgow, supported by funding from Glasgow City Heritage Trust. Permission to carry out the work has been granted by Glasgow City Council who own the park.

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The 1988 Garden Festival saw a section of the south bank of the River Clyde transformed from declining dockyard into green space, theme park and adventure playground.

Over five months from April 26, 1988, it attracted 4.3m visitors and was credited with helping the process of reinventing Glasgow’s image.

HeraldScotland: The Glasgow Garden Festival led to a transformation of the areaThe Glasgow Garden Festival led to a transformation of the area

Now a team of a team of staff and students from the archaeology department at the University of Glasgow led by Dr Kenny Brophy will be on site this week using geophysical survey to identify what remains of the Festival beneath the ground surface.

Surviving visible remains such as the Waterfall and Lochan will be surveyed, and small-scale excavation work undertaken.

Dr Kenny Brophy, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, at the School of Humanities | Sgoil nan Daonnachdan, said: “The place we will be surveying is now called Festival Park and it hosted some features many visitors will remember, including a miniature railway line, the replica Roman Bathhouse, the pavilion of Bowmore Distillers, a Highland-themed restaurant, and artworks such as scarecrows and The Ancient Forester”.

“We want to see what remains, 34 years on, of that huge spectacle - what can be detected of the attractions and the people that visited them, and did visitors leave anything behind? It is also a great opportunity to show that archaeological techniques can help to shed light on our contemporary world, and not just the ancient past.”

HeraldScotland: Work gets under way at the former Glasgow Garden Festival siteWork gets under way at the former Glasgow Garden Festival site

From school children to tourists, people have their own memories of the event and there is also a chance to get involved and the dig team hope people will join them on Saturday, May 28 between 10am and 3pm.

“We also hope that members of the general public can bring along their memories and photographs of the festival,” added Dr Brophy.

The Garden Festival marked the start of the biggest change in the way Glasgow was seen - and how it saw itself - since the industrial revolution made it the ‘Second City of the Empire’.

A huge civic and commercial effort, the 1988 Festival transformed a 120-acre site on the south bank of the urban Clyde for 152 unforgettable days that summer and led the way to the city’s cultural reinvention.

‘After the Garden Festival…’ project is setting out to discover what endures from that extraordinary and pivotal event.

HeraldScotland: Glasgow tram at the garden festivalGlasgow tram at the garden festival

 Members of the public are invited to submit their own information and photographs at www.glasgowgardenfestival.org where they can also follow the project.

The website will act as the central hub for the archaeological efforts to rediscover and record the physical legacy of the Garden Festival.

In its initial, present form, this hosts a searchable database of the more than 270 section of the Garden Festival including the pavilions, artworks, gardens and vehicles that occupied the site.

Project leader Lex Lamb added: “We want to find out how many of these have survived around the UK, and record as much detail of the features – both surviving and destroyed - as possible. To create a lasting resource, we are appealing to those who may have knowledge of the locations of items that originated from the Garden Festival, as well as those with photographs and other information, to submit them to us via the website.

“We would like to expand this resource to feature interactive maps, writing on the Garden Festival, interviews with those involved in it and those who acquired objects from it, and many other ways of recording the event – but public and corporate support will be required to take the project forward.”