Before New Glasgow Society there was The Victorian Walk, a tour of the city centre's most notable locations. Covering a large area, the Walk route is described in the notes on buildings, which include questions and comments on potential improvements and losses:

VICTORIAN GROUP WALK on 6th September 1964



Left: Church by Alex. (Greek) Thomson. Built 1859. The commission was secured by George Thomson, who is said to have had a hand in the design of the tower, and was also bound up with the purchase by the brothers of the previous church in Gordon Street where the Grosvenor Restaurant now is.

Note the mighty podium containing the halls, brilliant use of a most difficult site, excellent details. Apart from the architectural qualities, church is wonderful townscape because it dominates this area.

If it was demolished what would replace it?

Should any renovation of the church (perhaps by the Corporation) include the neighbouring tenement, also a Thomson creation? Could the shops be made more attractive externally?

Right: St Columba's Church, 1901/2, by W Tennant and F V Burke. Financed by the purchase of the previous church by the Caledonian Railway. Gothic spire contrasts with Thomson's square campanile.

Are spires and towers worth preserving in a town for their decorative qualities?

Turn right into INDIA STREET

Of patchy architectural quality but 6 & 29 have distinction - astylar renaissance of c.1845. Unfortunately, the street not designed as a whole.

With the new corner blocks, would redevelopment of the street be beneficial? If so why?


Probably by John Thomson. Original fine scheme ruined by the railway.

Edwardian block at the end by J.B. Wilson. Obviously run-down and so no problem of preservation, which should be selective.

Turn right into KENT ROAD

Left: Warehouse of Wylie & Lochhead by James Sellars about 1880. Detail is inexpensive but very elegant. John Keppie commented particularly on the area railings. Eastern attic storey is a later indiscretion Scale matches St. Andrews Halls.

Turn right into GRANVILLE STREET

St. Andrews Halls. Designed by James Sellars in 1873 and completed in 1877 at a cost of £101,100 - about £750,000 in to-day's money. Design taken over from Cunningham of Liverpool at the sketch stage and the elevations completely redesigned. Sculpture is by John Mossman.

Note great size, outstanding and monumental architecture and effective

statuary groupings. In area of grey stone, no distraction from Sellars' architecture.

If, as is claimed, the facades remain in sound structural condition, could they not be restored as a cladding for new interior - in design and purpose.

Turn left into BERKELEY STREET

Very neat architecture. Rare type of domestic architecture in Glasgow.

Note satisfactory quality of street design - street width, low building height and especially, uniformity on both sides.

Right: New Office Block. Note that floor levels, possibly materials and roof wall height are a variance with all the other buildings in these terraces. Is this the kind of development which is wanted in the middle of a complete example of a modest Victorian terrace? If this is to be a prestige office, would it not have more prestige to have situated it in the centre of the town or to have retained the distinctive existing facade?

Turn right into ELDERSLIE STREET

Right: Newton Terrace by George Smith c 1838. Hilltop was laid out by Charles Wilson except for Rochead's Park Church (1858), where the gothic tower groups splendidly with Wilson's Italianate towers.

Left: Somerset Place built around 1842. Architect is thought to have been John Baird. Office block reproduces old style. Is it worth while to copy the style a previous age, especially when traditional materials and masonry are no longer used?

Left: Clifton Place. Very indifferent design. Office block in modern idiom. If there has to be change here, which is the answer? Or is the answer neither?

Left: Clairmont Gardens. Probably c 1860, by Charles Wilson. Is there any need for change here? Surely essential to maintain pattern of long, continuous facade, roof-line and height? Removal of even one house would be enough to upset integrity of design and would be the thin edge of the wedge of other parts of the Park district.

Turn right into WOODSIDE TERRACE

Woodside Terrace, Crescent and Place were designed by George Smith, an

Aberdeen man who practised in Edinburgh. Scheme began in 1831 and

extended over the next ten years. Removal of parapets, railings and carriage blocks. Use of wrong colours, quarry tiles, neon sign, No 'uniformity of decoration. Note excellence of town planning - gardens, use of contours, service lanes, continuity of architecture of which while basically the same, has rich variety of detail.

Insertion of picture window?

Should there be some insistence that window proportions should remain

unaltered? Is it aesthetically pleasing to have modern doorways in an old setting? What has happened to the Corporation's plan to control and harmonise all development in the Park area? And since there are so many public clashes over selection and retention of buildings, where does the fault lie? In the weakness or inoperation of existing laws? Poor Planning procedure? Refusal by public authorities to accept knowledgeable public opinion?

Continue right down WOODSIDE CRESCENT

Left: Nos. 15 and 14. Strategic siting of porches on curve

Left: Nos. 8 and 9. High central block terminates vista from Woodside Place.

Left: Clydesdale Bank. Is this the kind of development which is more in keeping with the architectural history of the street?

Turn left for CHARING CROSS

Grand Hotel by J. Thomson. It may well be removed in order to provide for the Ring Road which at this point will be depressed with the possibility that part at least of it will be built over.

Charing Cross Mansions is J.J. Burnet at his most Francophile. Excellent quality of sculpture, failure to maintain clock and some of the world's least appealing shop fronts.

Turn right into NEWTON STREET and left into BATH STREET

Right: Redevelopment necessary. Note curve of street, scale of houses and foils provided by the spire and tower.

Right: Albert Dance Hall - unsuitable infilling.

Left: St. Matthew's Church by J.T. Ernet of London 1849-52.

Splendid detail and spire in second pointed manner.

Left: Elgin Place Church (1856) by J. Burnet Sen. Academic neo-Greek of the highest quality. Demolition a distinct possibility.

Left: Nos. 210-202 Adelaide Place c 1840. Ruined by ill considered 'repairs' and 'renovations' Centre still fine feature. In this decorative street of gas lamps, railings and facades, is some restraint in advertisements and sign not called for?


The corner block with the consoled eaves gallery is a reconstruction of a mansion formerly at this site by Greek Thomson for the Alexandra Hotel 1875-7.

Also fine clean-cut warehouse by Honeyman and Keppie


Right: Fine Art Institute by J.J. Burnet. This most scholarly and dignified work having been gutted by fire might well be demolished.


Right: Copland's romantic Italian warehouse. By Bruce and Hay.

Left: Sculthorps. Is it not possible to provide new ground facades more in harmony with upper storeys? Compare this with the Minty Shop at Charing Cross.

Left: Wellington House which is one result of piecemeal development.

Should the Victorian centre of Glasgow become like this or should an attempt be made to retain the finest architecture of last century.

Turn left into ST. VINCENT STREET

This is a street of commercial buildings which in size and magnificence outdo the domestic architecture which is still to be seen in much of the neighbouring streets, although much architectural diversity is historical unity.

Left: No. 144 - Office by H. Salmon Jun. 1899-1902

Right: Norwich Union Insurance Society.

Right: Scottish Mutual Assurance Society.

Left: Bank of Scotland, Head Office by James Miller 1927

Right: National Commercial Bank, Head Office by J. M. Peddie of Edinburgh 1908.

Also the Scottish Provident Institution in St. Vincent Place.


Western Club and Stock Exchange are an interesting pair in spite of strongly contrasting styles. Former by D. Hamilton 1840 and the latter by J. Burnet Sen. 1876 was considerably enhanced by a finely designed extension by his son J.J. Burnet in 1899.

The stretch from J.J. Burnet's Athenaeum Theatre to the corner of Gordon Street is the finest piece of mixed urban townscape in Glasgow.


The west side of the square has been worked into a single composition by several Architects. Bank of Scotland (Rochead 1869) the centre by Sellars in 1874 and the Merchants' House by J. Burnet Sen. 1874-7.

Left: Church (now a railway office) by Gillespie Graham but, along with the station which has a fine iron span) will soon be no more.


Left: G.P.O. Italianate design by Robert Mathieson, the Government Architect


Left: Telfer's warehouse in the Thomson manner, apparently built in 1877.

Right: Arthur's warehouse in James Salmon's finest 1850 Superb detail and surprising adherence to Georgian Glazing.

Left: No.54. The old Stirling Library is by James Smith , son-in-law of Hamilton and father of Madeleine.

Right: Nos 37-51 by Alexander Kirkland, 1854. The courtyard onto the street is a remarkable feature. It is the usual warehouse plan turned outside in for purposes of displaying the sumptuous Venetian style. Compared to the strength and vigour of the architecture and the overwhelming sense of power in the use of stone and situation of the narrow street, are the modern stores of Woolworths and Littlewoods satisfactory products of the mid 20th century?

Left: Buck's Head Building. With his directly glazed giant pilastrade treatment of the 1st and 2nd floors, Thomson first surprised Glasgow in 1849. The slim ironwork on the corner block come later.

Right: North Drive for St Enoch's Station, the Scottish St Pancras designed by Thomas Wilson of Hampstead. Splendid ironwork devised by Sir John Fowler and James F. Blair 1875-9 Station it now would seem doomed.

Turn right into CLYDE STREET

Right: Carlton Place 1802-18 is by Peter Nicholson, Greek Thomson's father-in-law, Gorbals John Knox Church is by David Hamilton and erected 1806-10. In its present sorry state with truncated spire but a shadow of Hamilton's original design. This is the first Civic Trust Scheme in the city. Its completion served to show the need for its extension. A plan has been prepared for the north and south banks of the Clyde and has received much publicity.

Certainly, there is a need to improve upon the river frontages and to bring into focus such features as church tower which is so dominant on the south bank. But if the church closes, will there be a tower much longer?

Left: Victoria Bridge. Built 1851-4 to design by John Walker of London. Has fine cutwaters and balustrade.

Left: Suspension Bridge 1851. The architect of the pylons was Alexander Kirkland; the engineer George Martin. The project ran into trouble and it was not till 1871 that it was finished.

Right: Custom House, 1840 by George Ledwell (Octogenarian) Taylor a London architect. Attractive neo-Greek but modest indeed compared with the giants at Greenock, Leith and Dundee. The flanking tenements were not symmetrical but balanced nicely. Note how bridge design fell off in standard towards the end of the century.

Turn right into JAMAICA STREET

Jamaica Street is the place to study early iron architecture.

Left: A large iron warehouse with big elliptical arches. Look at the ironwork brackets of the heavy cornice. The date is not exactly known, but it is later than the pioneer.

Iron Building(Gardners') designed by John Baird I with R. McConnell

ironfounder, who held a patent for the iron beams with which the interior is constructed. Next is 24-34 very acceptable Venetian by John Honeyman. It cost £10,048. Its neighbour has been somewhat spoiled.


Note in passing James Miller's Francois ler iron veneer on the "Highlandman's Umbrella"; just next to it on the left is another McConnell iron warehouse designed by James Thomson, John Baird's successor in 1863; note how the desire to treat iron frankly as such has slightly worn off. At right note Boots veneer over their modest neo Palladian.


Right: 59-76 (over Woolworth's) is an interesting mixture of stone and iron with just thin slices of superimposed orders between wide windows. The date is about 1857 but the architect is still not known. The Egyptian Halls built 1871-3 designed by 'Greek' Thomson; note the clever superimposition of pilastrade and the great eaves gallery with it's continuous glazing behind. The last of the original shopfronts perished but a few years ago.

Left: Caledonian Chambers. Very Edwardian Renaissance by James Miller 1903, a one-time employee of the Caledonian Railway and their favourite architect in their last years.

Right: Corner of Gordon Street and Union Street. £11,000 worth of stone and iron by John Honeyman; it was built as a furniture warehouse J Gaff Gillespie got the unhappy job of putting on the top-hamper.

Turn left into GORDON STREET

Look for a moment down to the right. The near corner with West Nile Street is a Peddie and Kinnear of 1874 beyond the superb Commercial Bank, a David Rhind palazzo of 1855.

Right: Forsyth's: originally Boucher & Cousland 1858 Venetian.

The corner was pulled out and the circled corner put in by J J Burnet. The mansard is also his.

The Grosvenor Building built by Alexander Thomson and his brother George as a speculation; the money they paid for the site built St Vincent Street Church. It was a worry to them all their lives. Note the personal way in which the aedicules are pushed out beyond the pilasters, and their first eaves gallery, in this case with consoles as at the old Alexandra Hotel much later.

The fantastic top-hamper was added by J Hoey Craig in 1907.

Left: Central Station by Sir Rowand Anderson 1884 tasteful as always, this time in the early renaissance mode. The long addition down Hope Street with its huge train hall windows beyond the hotel is by James Miller. It was completed in 1907. The ironwork within lacks the thrills of Queen Street and St. Enoch's.

Right: The corner warehouse is by James Thomson in 1897 and not his best.
Straight ahead 91-115 Hope Street our finest example of the Second Empire vogue with exquisite Greek details by Peddie and Kinnear 1877. It would be the largest single commercial building at that date.: an arcade was part of the scheme.

Look left: Site of the Corn Exchange - are we quite as well off architecturally ?

Beyond, down Hope Street, 'Atlantic Chambers' J J Burnet 1899 and in Waterloo Street, Waterloo Chambers J J Burnet also, same year. Note how he loved the eaves gallery also.

Turn right into HOPE STREET

106-108 Hope Street. Early renaissance of great charm with good sculpture, 1894 by Forrest Salmon: behind in Renfield Lane a daring Mackintosh of 1900.

Turn left into BOTHWELL STREET

Right: An early terrace of offices by Kirkland and John Bryce (Baronial David's classical brother). The end block was unfortunately chewed off for a bank by James Miller, and its nicely rounded arched ground floor a good deal interfered with.

Left: The Conservative Club. Conservative indeed by Co. Edis, friend and architect of 'Tum' then Prince of Wales. Not a happy intrusion in the Glasgow scene. Down Wellington Street can be seen the Waterloo Parcels Office: Oldrewe the government architect at his best in 1906.

Mercantile Chambers. Early Salmon, June 1898. A fine product of the

Beardsley era with sculpture by Derwent Wood.

Right: The YMCA. It should be the work of Alfred Waterhouse but was in fact homegrown in three stages. The centre is John McLeod 1880; the corner blocks were added by Clarke & Bell.

Left: Legal Life. Wright and Wylie 1927 sound inter-war classic. It was not an adventurous design but is our true current commercial architecture as good in its time.


Right: At top 200 St Vincent Street the North British & Mercantile 1929 J J Burnet's swansong. He was then 72. It is not as adventurous in its fenestration as his McGeoch building or his Kodak building in London but the masterly handling of the ground floor and placing of the great chimney show that his powers of design were undiminished. It has a slightly American flavour; Burnet was a lifelong friend of Charles McKim who was a fellow student at the Beaux Arts.

Some good stretches of mid-19th-century classic with various later

emendations bring us back to St Vincent Street Church. Except for the south Douglas Street corner a disappointing charles Wilson of 1845, like so much good Glasgow architecture - anonymous at the moment.