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Book of the Month

June 2004

T. & R. Annan & Sons

Glasgow in Panorama

  Glasgow: 1907
Sp Coll Mu Add. e15

An album of photographs showing Glasgow as it was one hundred years ago has been chosen for the month that celebrates the city's ninth West End festival. These eight photographs were taken in 1905 from the University tower, one of the best vantage points in the area. Together they form a fascinating panorama of Glasgow's West End and beyond.


As described on the cover and title-page, the photographs were taken on July 19th, 1905. There are two copies of the album in Special Collections. The first was published in 1905 by Gowans and Gray Ltd. The copy displayed is the reprint from 1907, published under the auspices of the newspaper, the Glasgow Herald. In this copy, each of the pages is interleaved with an outline sketch of the view, providing a key to the prominent landmarks and building shown on each plate.

The photographs were taken by the well known firm of T. & R. Annan. This firm had it origins in a business founded by Thomas Annan (1829-1887) in 1855, at a time when photography was still a relatively new art. Best known for his Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow - a work commissioned by the City Improvement Trust to document the slums of Glasgow's old town prior to their demolition - Annan's reputation as a pioneering photographer grew throughout the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. He was joined in his ventures by his brother, Robert (at which point the business was renamed T. & R. Annan) and later by his son, James Craig. James built upon his father's success and in September 1889 the company received a Royal Warrant as 'Photographers and Photographic Engravers to Her Majesty in Glasgow'. The business survives to this day: the Annan Fine Art Gallery is located on Woodlands Road.

plate 1: looking N.N.E.

The first photograph looks North-North-East. The street running vertically up the centre of the picture is Southpark Avenue, then called Ann Street. The building dominating the front centre to the right of the street is Wellington Church, designed by Thomas L. Watson in the early 1880s. It still stands today. The large house at the left hand lower corner is New Hillhead House. Built in about 1850 by Andrew Dalglish, a muslin manufacturer and calico printer, it was later donated to the University and for some time was used to house the Psychology Department.
Much of the interest in these photographs lies in their record of a changing landscape. They document many buildings that have since been radically changed or demolished, many of them as a result of University expansion. The snapshot to the right, for example, shows the area of land between Southpark Avenue and Hillhead Street, now occupied by the University's Round Reading Room and 'Hub' building. In 1905, as well as greenhouses and gardens on this site, Florentine Terrace still stood on Southpark Avenue. The gable end of the house seen to the right here is no. 6, Florentine Terrace, famously owned and refurbished by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The picture here shows the house before Mackintosh bought it in 1906 and changed the windows (along with many other improvements). The terrace was pulled down in 1963 as a result of the risk of subsidence and the University's redevelopment plans.

detail from plate 1

plate 2: looking E.N.E.

Besides University buildings and parkland, the landscape is primarily residential. The building of housing in the West of Glasgow boomed from the 1850s on. As well as boasting large mansion houses for wealthy merchants, the areas of Hillhead, Kelvinside and Dowanhill saw a mix of housing develop throughout the period, from tenements for the working classes to terraced houses and villas for the professional and middle classes. The dominant figure in this late Victorian development was James B. Fleming of the Kelvinside Estate Company; he sold off large areas of land to various developers for different housing schemes. While the West End itself saw little industrial production, the background of the photograph is a reminder of Glasgow's role as a great Victorian manufacturing city, with many chimneys standing as testament to its industry. Those of Pinkston Power Station are found at top right.

plate 3: looking E.S.E.

Surprisingly little seems to have changed in the East-South-East view, taken up largely by Kelvingrove Park. The park - more commonly known as the West End Park at this period - was formed from old estates purchased by the town council in 1852. It provided a welcome green space for the burgeoning local population, and is enjoyed as a back garden by many tenement dwelling west-enders to this day. In this view, the war memorial at the junction of the park's pathways towards the centre of the picture has yet to be built. Beyond the park on the hill are the gracious terraces of the salubrious 'Park' district, consisting of housing that is now largely reverting to its original residential use after years of office and commercial use. The distinctive towers of Trinity College and Park Church can also be seen before details lose definition in the smog.

detail of key to plate 3 with corresponding section from the plate below


plate 4: looking S.S.E.

More of Kelvingrove Park is seen towards the South-South-East. At centre in the foreground is the Saracen Fountain. It was gifted to the city by Walter Macfarlane, having been commissioned as Macfarlane's principal exhibit at the 1901 International Exhibition in the park; it was relocated to Alexandra Park in 1914 where it may still be found.* The Stewart Memorial Fountain is visible towards the left of the photograph, about half way up; this was inaugurated to commemorate Robert Stewart of Murdostoun's great civic achievement in establishing the Loch Katrine water supply to nineteenth century Glasgow. The large, isolated building at the centre of the picture (above the oxbow of the river) is Kelvingrove Old Museum. This opened in around 1872 in Provost Partick Colquhoun's old mansion and was extended in 1876.

plate 5: looking S.S.W.  

The limited space of this museum meant that a new building was soon required. In fact, the new art gallery and museum opened in 1901, constructed using profits from Glasgow's 1888 International Exhibition, held in Kelvingrove Park.  Despite much lobbying, the old museum was pulled down, although its extension was converted for use as the Japanese pavilion for the second international exhibition of 1901 and then used to house the Jeffrey Reference library prior to the opening of the Mitchell library. More signs of industrial activity are evident in the background. The River Clyde, with Queen's Dock (and Princes Dock beyond) can be seen clearly, while the tall chimney towards the right of the photograph is part of the 'refuse destructor'. The swathe of land in front of it is now occupied by more tenements.

detail of plate 5

This detail shows people enjoying the park's bowling greens, with the junction of the Kelvin Way and Sauchiehall Street to the left. Numerous recreational clubs had sprung up in the West End by the end of the Nineteenth Century as entertainment for its growing population. As well as several bowling clubs, there was also a skating rink, tennis courts, cricket grounds and two bathing clubs in the vicinity.

plate 6: looking W.S.W.  

Moving to the right of the 'refuse destructor' chimney, Yorkhill Hospital has yet to be built. The area of land to the left of the river at centre was called 'Bunhouse Grounds' and is now occupied by the Kelvin Hall and Museum of Transport. To the right, either side of the River Kelvin, are Regent and Scotstoun Mills. Mills had been established in Partick for hundreds of years and those along the Kelvin produced a wide variety of material such as flint, timber and paper. In the foreground in the right hand corner the University's West Medical Building is being constructed. The University moved to its West End campus at Gilmorehill in 1870 to escape the increasingly unsanitary conditions of its premises in town. This relocation was undoubtedly a boost to the general prosperity of the area. However, thanks to an escalation in building costs and a shortfall in funds, construction of the new buildings was far from complete when the University re-opened for business. The spire (from which these photographs were taken) was not added until 1883, for example, while the west quadrangle of the main building not completed until 1929. By the end of the Nineteenth Century, changes in teaching methods, an increasing emphasis on practical laboratory work, and the introduction of new subjects such as history and political economy were straining the accommodation and the need for further buildings became paramount. In 1901 Principal Story launched an appeal which over the next five years raised more than 75,000. With additional grants from the newly established Carnegie Trust, an ambitious new building programme became possible. The massive West Medical Building was designed to house Physiology, Materia Medica, Forensic Medicine and Public Health. Designed in a 'Scots Renaissance' style by James Miller after an open competition, it was completed between 1903 and 1907.

plate 7: looking W.N.W.  

Further extensions to the University are evident in this picture. In 1870 the main building and the Professor's Square were surrounded by lawns, but soon after 1900 many of these open areas were sacrificed for Medical, Science and Engineering buildings. Behind Professor's Square (in the immediate right foreground) and to the left of the (then newly built) Bower Building, the Kelvin Building is under construction. James Miller was again its architect. Beyond the building site, the University recreation grounds were to survive here for only one further year, being replaced by a new sports ground at Bankhead near Scotstounhill in 1906. Behind the sports field is the original Western Infirmary; this opened in 1874 and was completed eight years later. To the right, running along University Avenue, is a terrace of tenements destined to be demolished to make way for the Boyd Orr building and its car park in the 1970s. At this point, University Avenue was realigned to run over to the right, its original route, as seen here, becoming the cul-de-sac of University Place, recently bounded by the new Wolfson medical building.

plate 8: looking N.N.W.  

The University campus has doubled in size since its move to the West End in 1870. Expansion on the north side of the campus began in the 1930s, but the greatest - and most radically landscape changing - period of redevelopment occurred in the 1960s, when a huge increase in student numbers again forced ambitious developments. The need for such expansion had been recognised much earlier and, in fact, a proposed plan for development in the area bounded by University Avenue, Byres Road, Great George Street and Hillhead Street was submitted by Sir Frank Mears in 1951. Again, lack of funds meant this plan was held off and, although eventually substantial new building was undertaken, the original scheme was greatly modified. This last photograph shows a North West view before these changes took place. The terrace in the foreground of the photograph is that of University Gardens, still housing several Arts departments. At the right hand corner is the junction of Hillhead Street. Following the line of the street, we see another row of houses running to the left. To the left of this terrace lies Bute gardens, with Lilybank House to the left, just below the large white (slate) roof of James Miller's Belmont Church on Great George Street. Lilybank mansion house was built in the 1830s when its extensive grounds reached almost as far as Byres Road. John Blackie of the Blackie publishing empire lived there for a period, and it was he who in 1864 commissioned Alexander 'Greek' Thomson to extend it. The building still exists and belongs to the University, although its surrounding pleasure gardens were lost to make way for the Adam Smith Building.

the same view today, taken from the University tower (image courtesy of Glasgow University image base)

This modern photograph of the same view starkly demonstrates the changes made by the 1960s developments. The terrace of houses has gone to be replaced by the dominating structure of the University Library and Hunterian Art Gallery complex. The library opened in 1968; its structure was designed to balance visually the University tower. The Hunterian Art Gallery was not completed until 1978. The Modern Languages Building at the far end of University Gardens was built in 1958; between it and the library is the Adam Smith building, completed in 1967. Although the destruction of much of Glasgow's Victorian heritage may now be regarded as reprehensible, the building of such huge edifices was undoubtedly required to cope with student expansion. Nor was the University the only body with a penchant for building tower blocks in the 1960s; further to the north, several examples of the residential high rise flats that are now such a feature of the Glasgow landscape are clearly visible. 



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Julie Gardham June 2004