Commercial Bank of Scotland, 113-115 Buchanan St – 1938

Photo (C5580): Sourced from Virtual Mitchell and reproduced with the kind permission of Glasgow City Archives.

A. Sydney Mitchell and George Wilson’s 1886 extension to David Rhind’s earlier Commercial Bank of Scotland (1854-7) stands imposingly on Buchanan Street. The Commercial Bank of Scotland was formed in 1810 in response to public dissatisfaction with the three charter banks (Bank of Scotland, British Linen Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland). James Anderson, in “The Story of the Commercial Bank of Scotland” (1910), writes “It was felt by many of the Scottish people that the three old Banks had become too…devoted to their own interests…to be the real promoters of the general good”. Contrary to the established model, the CBoS didn’t rely on a few wealthy men, but on hundreds of investors throughout Scotland, including those of more modest means.

In 1958 the CBoS acquired a 100% holding in the National Bank of Scotland creating a new entity: The National Commercial Bank of Scotland. In 1969 the National Commercial Bank of Scotland merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Nowadays the Royal Bank of Scotland still occupies the Gordon Street section of the building, while American chain restaurant TGI Friday’s occupies the corner site.

Shawlands Cross (Crossmyloof Mansions) – c1900

A view looking south west to Shawlands Cross. The distinctive wedge shape of Crossmyloof Mansions at the junction of Kilmarnock and Pollokshaws Roads is a familiar sight to most South Siders, not least because on its bottom floor you’ll find The Granary. Home to a couple of generations of Shawlands drinkers since it opened in 1983, it was previously the southern outpost of Glasgow firm Samuel Dow Ltd. The company was started in 1807 by Lochaber native Samuel McCalman (Dow being an anglicised form of the surname). Originally a wine merchant and whisky bonder, the company had several pubs across the city by 1899.

The building itself is a white ashler tenement of around 1890, topped by a ballustraded parapet. The triangular footprint means it’s one of several “gushet” buildings in the city, other prominent examples being Eglinton and Paisley Road Tolls. Crossmyloof Mansions is a category B listed building and forms part of the Shawlands Conservation Area.

On the right is the former Glasgow Savings Bank which is now Linen bar and restaurant. It was designed by Neil Campbell Duff and opened its doors in 1906. Through the lights on the right hand side are two handsome churches. Furthest away is the Shawlands Old Parish Church designed by John A. Campbell and opened in 1889. It’s now home to the modern Destiny church. Just visible through the trees on the corner is the former Shawlands United Free Church, designed by Miller & Black and built between 1900 and 1903 at a cost of £15,000.

Langside Avenue – 1890s

Photo (C287): Sourced from Virtual Mitchell and reproduced with the kind permission of Glasgow City Archives.

A view of Langside Avenue looking west towards Minard Road. On the left you’ll see the pub that, 20 years or so after this photo was taken, would become James O’Malley’s magnificent Corona bar. Some things never change and you can clearly see the distinctive “T” of J & R. Tennent on the wall. On the traffic island next to what is now a taxi rank there once stood an ornate drinking fountain by Walter MacFarlane’s world famous Saracen Foundry. It’s often said that this was the Bailie James Martin memorial fountain, now situated at Glasgow Green. This now appears to be untrue. Photographs show the Martin fountain in place at Glasgow Green in the early 1900s, while later images show the Crossmyloof fountain. So unless it was regularly commuting between Shawlands and the green, we have a lost fountain to find.

White Elephant Cinema, 42 Kilmarnock Rd – c1950


Photo: The Herald

The White Elephant cinema was designed by architect Harry Barnes and opened its doors in 1927. It was commissioned by renowned showman and eccentric A.E. Pickard, father of the Britannia Panopticon music hall. More than just a picture house, this building also housed a ballroom and restaurant, while the main auditorium could comfortably seat 1900 people.

The cinema was named as the result of a competition but was shortened to simply “Elephant” after it was sold to cinema mogul Alexander King in 1934. In the 1950s a CinemaScope screen was installed.

It closed in 1960 after which the street level was converted to shops. The main frontage was resurfaced and cut down in a crude attempt at modernisation. The original finish was more like the left hand side of the complex. This portion of the building has, over the years, been home to a series of night clubs, from Mr D’s and Rosco’s to its most recent incarnation as G1 Group’s The Cell. It now lies empty despite periodic rumours that it might return to its former use as a cinema.

Waverley Picture House, 18 Moss Side Rd – 1971


The Waverley Picture House was designed by Watson, Salmond & Gray for Shawlands Picture House Ltd and opened on 25th December 1922. The building is finished in red sandstone but its most prominent feature is the handsome, corner dome ringed by Egyptian columns. Inside the auditorium, there is a barrel roof ceiling and columns along the walls. In its early years there was also a tea room. In 1928 a Christie two-manual theatre organ was installed.

From Septmeber 1929 it was operated by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) . The Christie theatre organ was removed from the building in 1953 and the Waverley Picture House was re-named ABC in 1964. The ABC was closed on 31st March 1973. It was then converted into a bingo club and from 1982 until the late 1990s it was operated as a snooker club. The building then stood derelict until 2002 when it was sold to Stefan King’s G1 Group which operated it as “Tusk” bar, restaurant and nightclub until its closure in 2009. In recent years plans have been floated that would see the building return to its intended use as a local cinema.

On 17th June 1992, Historic Scotland designated it a Grade B Listed building. On 25th November 1993, the exterior of the building was upgraded to a Grade A Listed building.