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Glasgow Architecture: McLennan Arch, Scotland

Friday, March 19, 2010

This evening, my theme is the McLennan Arch which is located at the entrance to Glasgow Green, quite close to the City Centre. This structure has always interested me, sitting in isolation in somewhat of no-man's land, between the Glasgow City Centre and Glasgow Green. As described below, it transpires that the structure has been relocated a few times in course of its 200 year plus life.

The structure was designed in 1792 by leading Scottish architects of their day, Robert and James Adam. It formed the centrepiece of the facade of the Adams designed Assembly Rooms in Ingram Street and was subsequently moved ( at expense of Baillie James McLennan) to the London Road entrance of Glasgow Green and thence to the bottom of Charlotte Street in 1922.

The Arch was moved to its present location in 1991.

The carving on the sculptural panels depicts Apollo playing his lyre and the Three Graces dancing to the rhythm of a tambourine.


Elsewhere today, I have been busy researching various tours including fishing on the Tay in Perthshire and a Scottish Borders tour.

Posted information on Finlayson to my separate GlasgowAncestry blog.

Weather in Glasgow today has been relatively mild, maybe about 10 C, dry but overcast.

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St. Andrew's in the Square, Glasgow, Scotland

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This posting is by way of follow-up to that of March 14th. The interior is open to the public on Thursdays so I availed of the opportunity for a visit, an endeavour which proved quite rewarding.

The building dates from 1739-1755. It is an approximate copy of St. Martins in the Fields, London. Architect was Allan Dreghorn, a local entrepreneur working in association with Mungo Nasmith (Master mason) and Thomas Clayton ( Plasterer).

The interior features Corinthian columns, rococo plasterwork, stucco work (by Clayton), gilded plasterwork, pulpit built from Spanish mahogany and oak floor. At the back of the church is a marble panel dating from 1906 which at the time was described as being composed of 'marbles, agates and mosaics...a border of black marble is of mossy-green Grecian marble brightened by two medallions in mosaic with the two Greek symbols, Alpha and Omega-the beginning and the ending saith the Lord.'

Here is a video clip of the interior.





On the way home I visited nearby St. Martins in the Green which has a burial ground containing some very old and interesting memorial stones. I took photographs of the stones for future inclusion in my GlasgowAncestry blog.

On the way back I noticed this intriguing piece of art work on what appears to be a hoarding relating to some building work. I am not sure if the art work is official or otherwise but it does add a bit of colour to the urban scenery.

Closer to home I encountered these crocus and snowdrops. Spring is just about here!

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Glasgow Architecture: Armadillo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This morning, I cycled down to the centre of Glasgow to photograph the Clyde Auditorium which is known locally as the 'Armadillo' for obvious reasons.



This building, a 3000 seat conference centre, was designed by Foster & Partners and completed 1995-1997. It occupies a site close to the River Clyde which is West of Glasgow City Centre.

From a design perspective, the structure has superficial similarities with Sydney Opera House. It is defined by soaring sails, a connection with Glasgow's maritime past. Inside there are very few windows.
This innovative, modern design is consistent with architectural trends in Glasgow.

Elsewhere today:

  • I have been working on a couple of Scotland Tours scheduled for the summer period.
  • Posted information on Anderson family history to my Glasgow Ancestry blog. During late 19th and early 20th centuries this family suffered the deaths of 7 children at average age of 20 years. Almost unthinkable nowadays.
  • Weather dry but overcast with temperature around 10 C.

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Glasgow Architecture: St. Andrews in the Square

Sunday, March 14, 2010




This morning I cycled down to Glasgow centre to indulge my interest in architecture. The building featured today is St. Andrews in the Square, a Category 'A' listed heritage building which was built between 1739-1756 and modelled on St. Martins-in-the Fields, London.

The building is clearly of neo-classical design and of particular note is the scale of the portico featuring giant Corinthian columns to support the structure. There is also a hand modelled baroque facade.

This building operated as a church until 1993 when, as a consequence of a declining congregation, the building was transferred to the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, a charity which specialises in redundant historic buildings. The Trust proceeded with an extensive refurbishment and restoration programme which was completed in 2000.

The building now acts as a centre for Scottish culture and is also used for entertainment purposes. It is open for visitors for a few hours most Thursdays. Telephone 44(0) 141 559-5902 for information.

This building is regarded as one of the finest churches in the U.K. I plan to see the interior when opportunity arises.

Elsewhere today:

  • I discovered a very old burial ground not far from the above building with some interesting memorial stones. I plan to go back and obtain videos and information for my separate Glasgow Ancestry blog.
  • Posted information on Corbet family history to the ancestry blog.
  • Spent time uploading a selection of my images to Flickr. Still many more to process.
  • Weather fine and dry in Glasgow, about 10 degrees C.

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Virginia Tobacco Merchant's House, Glasgow

Sunday, January 24, 2010


This evening, my theme is then 18th century Tobacco Lord's House in Glasgow's Miller St. However, will first address other daily developments, viz:

Glasgow Weather: Dull, overcast and dry. May well dip below freezing tonight.

Glasgow Ancestry: To my separate Glasgow Ancestry blog I have posted information on Russell family history from information at Glasgow's Necropolis.

Scotland Tours: Three new tour enquiries: one from the Middle East; two from North America. Also, working away on details of tours which are already in the pipeline.

The Last Tobacco Lord's House, Glasgow: This is my theme for this evening and subject of image at top and video at foot of this posting.

Tobacco trading with what are now the Southern States of the U.S.A. generated huge fortunes for a cadre of Glasgow entrepreneurs in the late 18th century. Much of this wealth was invested in grand houses of which only the Palladian style mansion in Glasgow's Miller Street survives. It was built by John Craig in 1775 and first occupied by John Findlay but it left the Findlay family in 1826 and subsequently had a chequered existence, first becoming offices of a gas company and then housed a succession of jewellers, glass importers, cotton spinners and printers. It was acquired by a conservation trust in 1989 and then restored to its current condition. The building is opened to the public only once a year. An interesting legacy of Glasgow's commercial past.


video

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Greek Thomson Architecture, Millbrae Crescent

Sunday, December 06, 2009

This afternoon, with benefit of some unseasonal sunshine, I drove down to obtain some images and video clips for a new web page I am planning for Alexander 'Greek' Thomson architecture, Glasgow, Scotland.

Very briefly, 'Greek' Thomson was a 19th century architect and perhaps one of the greatest minds in Scottish architecture of his day. He was inspired by the architecture of ancient Greece but never actually visited that country.

Thomson left a considerable legacy of his work around Glasgow. This image and video shows Millbrae Crescent, Langside, Glasgow which dates from 1876-77. It was one of the jobs completed after Thomson's death by his last partner, Robert Turnbull, but its flair and elegance in combining the style of rustic villas with the urbanity of the terrace (row house) suggests that it was designed by Thomson.





video

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Holmwood House, Glasgow, Scotland

Monday, July 13, 2009

This afternoon, I visited Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's Holmwood House which is located south of Glasgow centre near Cathcart.

This magnificent property dates from 1857-8 and was designed in the Greek style asymmetrically. In the video, note the wall which connects the main house with the coach house.

The property was built for the owner of a local paper mill with a dual function: (a) as a high status residence and (b) as a sales/entertainment venue to impress potential clients.

The property is now in custodianship of heritage organisation, the National Trust for Scotland and can be visited during prescribed opening hours.



video

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Glasgow Architecture Tour Scotland

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This afternoon, I am posting some images of a couple of contrasting buildings in Glasgow.

The following three images show the Aurora Building dating from 2006. This is located at 120 Bothwell Street. Cost was GBP55M and designed by Cooper Cromar.

I was very impressed by the slightly concave front of the building shimmering in the sunlight.




Here is something completely different! The following images show the Mitchell Library in North Street. This solid Victorian building dates from 1891-3 and was designed by William B Whitie.

The building is a major public resource in Glasgow containing Glasgow city archives and a large public reference library. Very useful for persons wishing to trace Glasgow ancestry.



Entrance to the building.

Glasgow is full of fascinating architecture including designs by Mackintosh and Greek Thomson.
Contact me for a dedicated architecture tour.

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Visit Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This evening, I am posting a couple of images of the Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art.

Firstly, outside the entrance is the statue of the Duke of Wellington, a British military hero of the 19th century. This statue is hardly seen without a traffic cone on top of the head; as soon as one cone is removed another is put in place-presumably by students. This arrangement has almost become a permanent image of the Glasgow scene.

The Gallery building has an interesting history. In 1778 a mansion was built on the site by one William Cunninghame, a wealthy tobacco trader. Glimpses of the original mansion can still be seen in the current building. After changes of ownership, the building was transformed in 1827 into a neo-classical Exchange with a giant Corinthian portico.

The statue of Wellington astride his horse, 'Copenhagen' was erected 1844.

After WW2 the building became a library and then in 1996 assumed its current role as a Gallery of Modern Art.


View of the Gallery from Ingram Street

The Gallery sits at the heart of Glasgow and is worth a visit from both an historical/architectural perspective as well for its contemporary art collection. There are shops and restaurants nearby.

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Visit Holmwood House Glasgow

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This heritage property is located just a few miles from the centre of Glasgow. Holmwood was completed in 1858 and is considered to be the finest domestic design by the Glasgow architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson. Interior conservation work is in process, including the original stencilled wall decoration in the dining room. The house has 5 acres of landscaped gardens to explore and a small kitchen garden planted with a range of Victorian herbs, fruits and vegetables.




This site is a "must" for followers of 'Greek' Thomson.

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Tour Glasgow Architecture

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This evening I am presenting an image the Struthers Memorial Church in the West End of Glasgow (Westbourne Road).

This building was designed in 1873 by John Honeyman, a partner of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and contains large stained-glass windows by Alfred Webster and Douglas Strachan.

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Thomson St Vincent St Church Glasgow Tour

Sunday, March 02, 2008

This afternoon, I am presenting some images of the only surviving intact church by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson. This dates from 1857-59 and is situated on the corner of St Vincent St and Pitt St Glasgow. This building's features include:

  • Own man-made Acropolis
  • Ionic porticoes
  • Internal cast iron columns
  • Windows with huge sheets of glass rammed into the masonry.
This is still a living church ( Free Church) and is an iconic site for students of architecture.



Contact Catswhiskerstours www.catswhiskerstours.co.uk for a Glasgow architecture tour.

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Alexander Thomson Ancestry Tour Glasgow

This afternoon I am presenting an image of Greek Thomson's memorial in Glasgow's Southern Necropolis. This is constructed in marble and features as one the most imposing memorials in the cemetery.

Thomson was the greatest architect of Victorian Glasgow. He was called 'Greek' Thomson because of his belief that the architecture of ancient Greece could be the basis of truly modern architecture.

Thomson was born in Balfron in 1817 and died 1875 at his home in Moray Place, Glasgow





See this web page for information on Glasgow Ancestry Tours

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Gorbals Glasgow Tour

Saturday, March 01, 2008

This afternoon I went on a cycle ride down to Glasgow's Southern Necropolis. On route I took some pics of some Gorbals architecture. For more information on Glasgow tours visit this web page.

This first image contains Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's Caledonia Road Church, built 1857 and now a ruin.
In the background can be seen 1960s tower blocks which were built to replace the appalling social housing. However, these blocks are now vacant and appear to be in process if demolition.

Here is some notable modern architecture in the Gorbals, near to the Southern Necropolis

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