Exploring Glasgow - all round the city

Drawing of tower of Glasgow University, architect George Gilbert Scott

Tower and spire of Glasgow University

Glasgow is a large city by both Scottish and British standards and much of its interesting architecture is outwith the city centre.
This page provides a brief tour of some of these buildings, most of which are not too inaccessable to the casual traveller.

Glasgow University - George Gilbert Scott

Glasgow University, East Façade

The beautiful east façade of Glasgow University at Gilmorehill in the city's west-end displays the best example of Gothic Revival architecture in Glasgow. The architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott, was based in London where he enjoyed a great reputation for Gothic styling. In his long career he worked on over 500 ecclesiastical commissions, particularly Anglican churches. At Gilmorehill, Scott took advantage of modern construction methods and materials to produce a mediaeval styled campus on a grand scale. The new University opened on 7th November 1870, but it would take another 17 years for the huge steeple to be completed, some 9 years after the death of the architect.
At the same time as he was working on Glasgow University, Scott produced his best known secular work, St. Pancras Station and Hotel in London, where industrial ironwork and concrete came together with Gothic masonry to produce a truly marvellous structure.

Scott had designed a number of churches for the Scottish Episcopal Church before being commissioned for the University. He would later go on to design the Episcopalian Cathedrals for both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Aware of Scott's flair for their preferred style, the University had offered the commission directly to him rather than setting up an architectural competition open to local architects. This did not go down well with Glasgow's architectural establishment, particularly with Alexander Thomson whose highly original buildings had consistently demonstrated a variety of both Classical and exotic pagan influences. The association of Gothic Revival with the resurgence of Anglo-Catholic medievalism in the Church of England in the late 19th century would probably have been behind much of this hostility.

Pearce Lodge, Gatehouse at Glasgow University

Pearce Lodge, Gatehouse at Glasgow University

In contrast to Scott's Anglicised Gothic, the gatehouse at the university is in the Scottish Baronial style. It was designed by Alexander G. Thomson, who was no relation to his more famous namesake. The gatehouse was built in 1887, but it incorporates much earlier masonry salvaged from the old University buildings on the High Street. The old gateway is topped with the gilded royal arms of King Charles II which featured in the old campus. The gatehouse was named after Sir William Pearce who provided the funds to re-erect these old features at Gilmorehill.
Drawings and engravings of the old Glasgow University buildings are included in my Cathedral Precinct  page.

Sketch of doorway at Pearce Lodge, Glasgow University

Sketch of doorway at Pearce Lodge, Glasgow University, 1912

Engraving of Glasgow University, Gilmorehill

Engraving of Glasgow University, Gilmorehill

Drawing of tower of St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow, architect George Gilbert Scott

Tower and spire of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow

While Sir George Gilbert Scott was working as architect for the university he was commissioned to design a new Episcopal church in Great Western Road in his familiar Gothic Revival style. St Mary’s church, which opened in 1871, achieved the status of cathedral in 1908.
The spire was added to the original square tower in 1893 by Scott’s son, John Oldrid Scott, after the sudden death of his father from a heart attack on 27 March 1878.
The top of the tower is decorated with elaborate stone latticework, leading to the spire, which is centred on a statue of the Blessed Virgin, standing in a niche high above Great Western Road.

Art Gallery & Museum, Kelvingrove

Art Gallery & Museum, Kelvingrove - North Façade

The city's Art Gallery and Museum in Kelvingrove Park, west of the city centre, re-opened in July 2006 after an extensive refurbishment. The 3 year programme involved the restoration of the old character of the museum, returning it to a condition closer to the original design intentions. There is a more efficient use of space, as much of the area previously used for storage now features new display areas. There are 22 themed galleries including one dedicated to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries.
The Kelvingrove building dates from 1901 when it was fashioned in the Edwardian Renaissance style by the London based partnership of Sir J.W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen, whose competition winning entry was selected ahead of some noted local architects. The main feature of the north façade, shown above, is the twin towers either side of the entrance which is guarded by an imposing statue of Glasgow's patron saint, St Mungo, by George Frampton. The south façade, which faces the street rather the park is less elaborate but is equally well-proportioned, featuring a large central entrance flanked by elegant towers.
In 1901, the newly opened galleries formed part of the Glasgow International Exhibition which took place in Kelvingrove Park. When the exhibition's temporary pavilions were demolished, the impressive north frontage of the Art Galleries was left facing landscaped parkland rather than Argyle Street as would be expected if it had been built independently of the exhibition.

Drawing of tower of Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Tower of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow

Early watercolour of Kelvingrove Art Gallery

Watercolour of Art Gallery viewed from Kelvingrove Park

Peoples Palace

Peoples Palace, Glasgow

Beyond the City Centre and the Merchant City lies Glasgow Green by the banks of the River Clyde. The Peoples Palace Museum stands in the centre of the park.
Glasgow Green was public space on the edges of the earliest city boundary before the city's massive expansion of the 19th and 20th centuries led to the absorbsion the surrounding villages and hamlets.


The Peoples Palace was designed by Glasgow's City Engineer and Surveyor, Alexander.B.MacDonald (left), in his preferred Renaissance style.
As its name suggests it is intended as a popular museum featuring the history and folk culture of Glasgow. The exhibits are unpretentious, as you would expect from a museum devoted to the city's down-to-earth population.
It was opened in 1898 by Lord Rosebery. who had briefly been British Prime Minister from 1894 to 1895.
A century after it first opened the People's Palace re-opened on 3rd April 1998 following a £1.2million refurbishment.

The central tower of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society's headquarters building in Morrison Street sits alongside the southbound carriageway of the Kingston Bridge. Until 1995 it was topped by the golden "Statue of Light and Life" raising her torch high above the passing motorists.
The figure, which had been sculpted a century before by James Ewing was too fragile to undergo the restoration process.
The Co-op's preferred architects, Messrs Bruce and Hay, designed the massive building which opened on 2 January 1897.

Central tower and  statue of light and life at Co-op headquarters building, Morrison Street, Glasgow

Tower of SCWS building, Morrison Street, Glasgow

Extract from <I>Glasgow Herald</I> 4th January 1897 regarding opening of SCWS building in Morrison Street

Extract from Glasgow Herald 4th January 1897 regarding opening of SCWS building in Morrison Street (below)

Sketch of newly opened CWS building at Morrison Street, Glasgow

Glasgow is of course famous for its passionate football supporters. Unfortunately most of the older structures used by the major clubs have been demolished and replaced with modern state-of-the-art stadia, with the exception of Ibrox where the new stadium was built around the old.
Whereas most Glasgow architecture of the early 20th century was in sandstone, the football stadia were all built in red brick, which is not common in Glasgow.
I managed to draw the various football façades before their demolition.
In the 1920's Archibald Leitch was the favoured architect of Glasgow's major football clubs. He was responsible for the new stands for both Celtic and Rangers, as well as extensions and alterations to the national stadium, Hampden Park.

Hampden Park

Hampden Park

Hampden Park in Mount Florida is where the Scottish international football team play their home games; it also serves as the home of Queens Park FC.
The south stand at Hampden, which was demolished to make way for the new Scottish National Stadium, had a unique character. It featured a symmetrical frontage, which was a mixture of native Scottish and early 20th century modernism.
The south stand was originally designed by James Miller and opened in 1903. The capacity of the ground was raised to 150,000 following Archibald Leitch’s expansions of 1927 and 1937. Leitch's alterations to the south stand in 1937 included the erection of the familiar Art Deco twin towers.

Drawing of Art Deco tower at Hampden Park, designed by Archibald Leitch

Art Deco tower at Hampden Park, demolished 2002

Ibrox Stadium

Ibrox Stadium

Archibald Leitch designed Rangers' 1929 grandstand as a permenant replacement to his earlier structure which had collapsed in the Ibrox disaster of 1902. The façade survived the modernisation of the stadium in the early eighties. The Edmiston Drive entrance to the stand is of monumental scale , built in red brick with a large arched central window which would have been very fashionable when it first appeared in the heyday of Art Deco architecture.
The new stand was opened on 1 January 1929 by Glasgow's Lord Provost, David Mason, before the traditional New Year "Old Firm" match against Celtic.

Unfortunately the continuity of the late 1920's Art Deco facade has been spoiled by the erection of ugly tubular steel framework and associated sheeting which now appears out from the top of the older structure.

Drawing of façade of Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, designed by Archibald Leitch

Art Deco window at Ibrox Stadium

Celtic Park, Glasgow

Celtic Park, Parkhead

Also in 1929, in the same year as Rangers, the new stand at Celtic Park was completed to the designs of Archibald Leitch. It was built with red brick with a few decorative touches. It replaced an earlier structure which had been destroyed by fire in 1927.
The stand was opened on 10 August 1929, before Celtic's opening match of the new football season against Heart of Midlothian.

The stand was extended and remodelled as part of the stadium's renovation in 1988, ready to celebrate the club's centenary.

The frontage at Parkhead was of a more traditional style than at Ibrox, bearing more similarity to Leitch's English stadia. Glasgow born Leitch, who trained as a Mechanical Engineer, designed the grandstands for over a dozen English clubs including those at Stamford Bridge, Goodison Park, Villa Park, Highbury and Hillsborough.

Drawing of façade of Celtic Park, Parkhead, Glasgow, designed by Archibald Leitch

The top storey of Leitch's frontage was removed to make way for a new main stand a few decades before the construction of the current façade at today's modern stadium.

Façade of Celtic Park before alterations Façade of Celtic Park after alterations

Aerial view of Celtic Park

Aerial view of old Celtic Park

The new front of the stadium at Parkhead is centred around the two-storey angled glazing at the main entrance, drawn below.

Drawing of new  main stand at Celtic Park, Glasgow, built in 1988

Glazing at entrance to main stand at Celtic Park

Panoramic view of Glasgow

Panoramic view of Glasgow in Victorian times, looking eastwards from the Necropolis

st Vincent Street Church, Glasgow

Scottish City Architecture

 The Royal Mile
Edinburgh's Ancient Heart

 Central Glasgow
A Walk About Town

 Edinburgh Landmarks
Capital Attractions

 Merchant City
Old Glasgow Sights

 Victorian Edinburgh
  Colour Views from 1897

 Commercial Glasgow
Offices and Warehouses

 Edinburgh Photographs
Contemporary views of the city

 Explore Glasgow
All Over the City

Around Glasgow Cathedral

 Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Architect & Designer

 Alexander Greek Thomson

 Carnegie Libraries of Scotland
Landmarks of Literacy

 Jack Coia
Early Works

 Glasgow's West End
Architecture and History

 Stations and Ferries
Vanished Glasgow

 Glasgow's South Side
Illustrated Guides

 Cathcart Circle Architecture
A railway tour

Hutchesontown & Laurieston

East Renfrewshire Suburbs
Eastwood & Mearns

 England, Ireland, USA
Architectural Drawings -

All original artwork, photography and text © Gerald Blaikie
Unauthorised reproduction of any image on this website is not permitted.

Contact me