St Andrew’s-by-the-Green, 1973

St Andrew’s-by-the-Green snapped by Duncan McCallum AKA Streapadair in March 1973. It was built as an Episcopalian Church between 1750-52 & was designed by Presbyterian Andrew Hunter who was excommunicated for his efforts. Happily it’s in better nick now than when Streapadair photographed it 40 years ago.

St Andrew’s was the first church in Glasgow to install an organ for public worship, resulting in the nickname, “Whistlin’ Kirk” or the “Kist o’ Whistles”. It was purchased from the Qualified Chapel in Edinburgh’s Carruber’s Close in 1744, when that congregation moved to another building. The organ had been built by John Snetzler in 1747, and was moved into St Andrew’s-by-the-Green in 1775, although it is thought not to have been used for worship until 1777.

It was enlarged by a pupil of Snetzler’s, John Donaldson of York, in 1788, and replaced entirely in 1812. The old organ was sold to the Glasgow Unitarians’ new chapel in Union Street in 1813, and moved with them to their new home on St Vincent Street in 1856. This church was subsequently demolished in 1982, and the organ, by now the oldest in the city, was gifted to the University of Glasgow, in whose Concert Hall it now stands.

The church was acquired in 1985 by the Christian Action (Glasgow) Housing Trust as office accommodation for its parent organisation, West of Scotland Housing Association. A major fundraising effort, aided by the late John Crichton-Stuart, 6th Marquess of Bute, raised the £600,000 required to renovate the building. In June 2003, it became the headquarters of the Glasgow Association for Mental Health.

5 Bridge St/15 Carlton Court – 1940s

You’ve probably passed this Art Deco corner a hundred times and never given it much thought. Perhaps its location, right next to the Georgian grandeur of Carlton Place, means that it’s often overlooked.

It was built in 1937 to designs by Launcelot H. Ross for Cowden’s Ideal Trading Stamp Company. It’s of steel construction and comprises 3 stories plus a recessed attic. The concrete details are by Considere Construction who, along with city City Engineer Thomas Somers, were responsible for the King George V bridge. Although it appears to be a masonry bridge, it’s actually constructed of reinforced box girders faced with Dalbeattie granite.

The facade is a contrast of black and cream tiles with steel-framed windows united vertically by pale blue metal curtain walls. It’s a typical Deco composition evocative of grander city centre locations such as Bothwell Street’s Scottish Legal Life Assurance building (E.G. Wylie, 1931).

I couldn’t find out much about Cowden’s but trading stamp companies are worth mentioning. Trading stamps were printed stamps given as a premium by retailers to customers and redeemable for cash or merchandise from the trading stamp company when accumulated in specified amounts. Retailers sponsor trading stamp programs as a means of building customer loyalty. The retailer purchases the stamps from the trading stamp company at a cost based on a small percentage of total sales. Trading stamps gave rise to the modern day phenomena of loyalty and reward schemes, such as air miles.

Park Circus – Trinity College – Park Church – Various

Two sunny days separated by 150 years. The three towers of Charles Wilson’s striking mid-Victorian former Free Church College peek out from behind the now orphaned tower of Park Church in our first image. Wilson is best known for his design of the Park development on Woodlands Hill, rising out of what is now Kelvingrove Park. Despite it being a separate commission, he designed the college to be the dominant feature of the Park district. The college incorporated a church in its eastern wing where the two smaller towers can be seen. The church was destroyed by fire in 1903 and its shell was subsequently acquired by the college to accommodate an extension. The extension, designed by Colin Menzies and rebuilt as a concrete vault, opened in 1911. It made possible a Library Hall at the level of the former gallery of the church and an Assembly Hall and two classrooms at ground level.

Park Parish Church, pictured here shortly after completion and while the rest of the area was still under construction, was designed by John Thomas Rochead and built between 1856 and 1858 at a cost of £8,000. It was a striking adaptation of West of England Perpendicular featuring a soaring pointed Gothic tower. The Ecclesiologist of February 1859 noted that it was “a remarkable structure, as marking the progress of ecclesiastical architecture in the Scottish Presbyterian establishment”. By the early 1960s the church’s congregation was on the wane and the Glasgow Presbytery drew up plans to flatten it and build a 12 storey £350,000 office development on the site. This was rejected as inappropriate and a marginally more sympathetic plan for a 6 storey block gathered around the retained church tower was approved instead. In a letter to the Glasgow Herald, New Glasgow Society founder and secretary Geoffrey Jarvis wrote that he “welcomes the retention of the tower as an essential element of the skyline and realises that a valiant attempt has been made to match this unique building with a modern economic solution”. It perhaps gives an indication of how low expectations were that one of the fathers of modern Glasgow architectural conservation was prepared to concede the destruction of the church in order to preserve the skyline.

In 1968, despite much protest both from the public and the Glasgow Institute of Architects, the church was carefully demolished by hand in order to preserve the tower. In its place rose a reinforced concrete office block, designed for the Bank of Scotland by Derek Stephenson and Partners. Although now much remodeled, it remains, however, a jarring sore thumb in an otherwise remarkably complete expression of Victorian town planning.

Our other image is looking west at approximately number 13 Park Circus. More on that to come in the autumn when I can get some good comparison shots from the park without dense foliage obstructing the view up to Woodlands Hill.

Commercial Bank of Scotland, Bothwell Street – 1935

Photo (C5513): Sourced from Virtual Mitchell and reproduced with the kind permission of Glasgow City Archives.
A solitary policeman directs non-existent traffic in this c1935 view of James Miller’s 1934 Commercial Bank of Scotland. These days the building is still home to brass, but in the form of German oompah bands that keep the Bavaria Brauhaus punters entertained. The building is modern classical with a portland stone and polished granite plinth, forming a stylobate (the base on which the columns rest). Two storey giant order fluted Corinthian columns dominate the Bothwell Street entrance. The entrance doors are bronze, as are the panels between ground and first floor. Between the windows on the 3rd floor are relief sculpted frieze by Gilbert Hayes representing Industry, Commerce, Justice, Wisdom, Contentment and Providence. Not so long ago the building housed Madness nightclub and before that it was an Italian restaurant after the Royal Bank of Scotland moved out in the 1990s.