SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
Glasgow is home to several world-renowned educational establishments, including the University of Glasgow and the School of Art. Yet hidden within its streets are a number of old public school buildings. These are echoes of a time when schools were built like grand palaces instead of the grey, rigid, cramped classrooms of modern times. While some have fallen into disrepair, others have been given a new lease of life.
wHERE IS IT?
In the city centre, on a corner of Argyle Street and Dunlop Street.
It was named after the Buck’s Head Hotel, which had previously occupied the same spot before the current building was erected. The curved corner building is unique among Thomson’s work; it is the only time he ever used a combination of elevated iron columns with a trabeated façade.
The external supports appear to be largely structural rather than ornamental. Located on the main thoroughfare of Argyle Street and a stone’s throw from the St. Enoch shopping centre, the Buck’s Head Building has been home to many a shop and store. While it originally housed The Glasgow & London Clothing Company, it is now a coffee shop and offices. Over the years and with its numerous corporate tenants, the building had grown weary looking and was eventually given a much-needed renovation in 2003.
Standing tall like a proud survivor of the ages, Thomson’s church rests on an odd traffic island that marks the former junction between Caledonia Road and Cathcart Road.
Bridge Street subway
Thought to be Thomson’s first attempt at designing a church, the building was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1965. Although it is now a Grade A-listed building, the church has lay derelict and abandoned for half a century, watching as the city around it has changed, but with a certain stubborn Scottish pride serving as a reminder of a grander past.
Across from the church on a small traffic island sits the box-like No.8 Corporation Weigh Office, which acted as a stopping point for vehicles to be weighed back in the days when they were not so frequent on the roads.
wHERE IS IT?
On Union Street, opposite the east entrance of Central Station.
However, the Egyptian Halls is also a bit of a conundrum. Despite its prime location on Union Street, directly opposite Central Station, it has lain vacant, derelict, and at threat of demotion since the 1980s, despite having achieved Category A listed building status in 1966.
It was one of Thomson’s last major projects within the city, it was designed and built for iron manufacturer James Robertson and completed in 1872. The name possibly derives from the Egyptian Hall in London, one of the first to serve a similar function as a multi-purpose commercial premise. At the dawn of the 21st Century, in a mission to save it, Glasgow City Council bought the building in order to give the newly formed Union Street Developments (USD), led by Scottish businessman Derek Souter, time to secure funding.
Five years later, USD purchased the entire building, and has since started work to completely refurbish the building to its past glory. Like Thomson’s Grosvenor building nearby, there are plans to extend the building by two floors, which will form part of a new 114-bedroom hotel.