Glasgow is one of the United Kingdom’s most important historic cities with many listed buildings by architects of world renown. Much of Glasgow’s social and economic past and its present are expressed in these exceptional buildings many of which are listed.
The celebrated author and spy Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) described Glasgow in glowing terms:
“The four principal streets are the fairest for breadth and the finest built that I have ever seen in one city together. With the exception of London, ‘tis the cleanest and beautifullest and best built city in Britain”.
One of the oldest buildings in Glasgow is the Cathedral, several parts of which date from the early 12th Century, although an Early Christian sarcophagus, dating from 576 AD, is to be found within another Listed church; Govan Old Parish Church. These buildings along with 1,800 other structures within the city are listed by Historic Scotland to protect them for future generations. Other famous listed buildings within the city include Central Station, Glasgow School of Art, the City Chambers, The University of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
The largest areas covered by single listings are Glasgow’s 4 Necropolises. The Glasgow Necropolis was based on Père-Lachaise in Paris and contains the mortal remains of some of the City’s leading citizens housed in ornate Victorian splendour. Many of the foremost architectural practices of the day were employed to design the magnificent mausoleums and gravestones in a wide variety of architectural styles. Information on Glasgow's other necropolises can be found here.
Throughout the city monuments play an important role in the makeup of the cities built heritage. The first major municipal monument in the UK to be erected to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar stands on Glasgow Green. The huge obelisk was designed by Glasgow’s leading architect of the day, David Hamilton, in 1806 and was badly damaged when struck by lightning in 1810. The crack indicating the repaired section is still visible. Information on the Nelson Monument and many other items of interest along the River Clyde can be found here.
Glasgow's housing has taken many forms over the years with many still in existence such as Tenements, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian terraces and villas and more recently post war housing including high rise flats and 'new towns' on the outskirts of the city.
Most people are now familiar with the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alexander “Greek” Thomson and Robert Adam but there are over 400 architectural practices and individuals which have contributed to the cities listed heritage. Information on Glasgow's ‘other’ architects can be accessed here. Glasgow has also been at the forefront of the use of pioneering materials and techniques in the building process in past centuries, information on which can be found here.
Some of the buildings within Glasgow are considered to be at risk or in a state of disrepair and these are on a national register- The Buildings at Risk Register- which aims to raise awareness and attract restoration potential.
Further information on Glasgow’s rich built heritage can be found by in the links page.