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Second City of The Empire: 1830s to 1914

Buildings and Cityscape


By Gordon R Urquhart

Woodlands Hill The standard Georgian terrace had a palace front, enhanced end blocks to frame the composition, and perhaps a central pavilion to add grandeur. In Victorian Glasgow, however, architects developed this concept into something bigger, bolder and more imaginative. For example, the terraces of the new South Woodside estate (1830s-1840s) were set back behind carriageways and narrow gardens, and large "pleasure grounds" separated the main streets. This pattern of terraces set in a picturesque landscape was perfected in the 1850s by Charles Wilson (1810-1863) in his concentric layout of the refined, Italianate Park Circus and the flamboyant French Park Terrace, the ultimate achievement in Victorian town planning.

Grosvenor Terrace In the late 19th century Great Western Road became a showcase for innovative terrace architecture. Grosvenor Terrace (1855) is among the most notable, a striking design of Venetian inspiration. John Rochead (1814-1878) devised a pattern of repetitive bays of ordered colonnades which enclosed large arched windows, all in a style closely associated with cast iron commercial structures of the time.

Brass door furniture Architecture in Victorian Glasgow was by nature progressive and at times radical, as illustrated by the city's superlative terrace composition, Great Western Terrace (1869). Rather than anchoring the composition with end pavilions, the famed architect, Alexander "Greek" Thomson (1817-1875), slid the larger blocks in toward the centre, thereby altering the overall balance of this lengthy terrace and sitting it snugly on its lofty site. Unusually, Thomson used a minimal amount of ornamentation, relying instead on massing to create something dramatic and new.

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