Victorian and Edwardian Glasgow saw an extraordinary range of styles in the business premises that were being constructed. The banks had led the way with the Royal Bank in 1827 alongside the new Exchange in Royal Exchange Square in 1828. Retailers followed with Gardener's warehouse in Jamaica Street (1855-56) and the Ca'd'Oro by John Honeyman in Gordon Street (1872). But it was the cast-iron framed Wylie & Lochhead store of 1855 in Buchanan Street that most caught the public eye. It was burned down in 1883, but rebuilt following the original internal design. Alexander "Greek" Thomson was responsible for the Grosvenor Building in Gordon Street (1859), the Grecian Building in Sauchiehall Street (1865) and the Egyptian Halls in Union Street (1871), where essentially classical form was embellished with Thomson's own idiosyncrasies. Elsewhere there was the Scottish baronial style of J. & J. Campbell's warehouse at the junction of Ingram Street and Brunswick Street.
What has been called the "Glasgow Free Style" came into its own from the 1880s. It was extremely eclectic, drawing from a variety of different styles and adapting older forms to modern needs. Gothic styles appeared in the Stock Exchange (1879-84) in what is now Nelson Mandela Place and in R. R. Anderson's Central Station, but soon the centre of Glasgow became chequered with tall narrow red-sandstone buildings, what someone called "good-humoured red-faced giants". William Leiper designed the Sun Life Building (1889-94) at the corner of Renfield Street and West George Street. Most striking perhaps was James Salmon's "Hatrack" (1899-1902) on St Vincent Street where art nouveau influence was apparent. It was even more obvious when Charles Rennie Mackintosh was allowed to redesign the front of the Glasgow Herald Building in Mitchell Street. That same extraordinary mixture of tradition and imagination came in the "Doge's Palace", Templeton's carpet factory designed by Leiper which appeared on the edge of Glasgow Green in 1888. By the early years of the 20th century Glasgow had some of the finest and most varied architecture in Britain.
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