Greek in Glasgow

A few weeks ago, we were in Glasgow for some Greek related activities. It sounds like an odd combination – Scotland and Greece. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few monuments in this Scottish city that were inspired by Classical Greek styles. Recently, I posted a photograph of a classical style porch without telling you anything about it. It is the Scottish Free Presbyterian Wellington Church on the edge of the campus of the University of Glasgow. It has imposing Corinthian style capital columns and a number of other features of Greek temple style – even if a little dreich on a cloudy day viewing the church and its sandstone ingrain with a century of soot.

Its equally monumental door and door surround…

Another sooty building up the street from the Presbyterian church is divided into terrace houses on the campus. They look like any student housing in any British university town – a little run down, weedy fronts…

… and a number of rubbish bins out front cluttering the doors (usually all full with all those pizza boxes and take away containers – not that I looked, but simply going on past experience).

However, this cannot take away from the architectural details.

1. Palmettes in etched glass

2. More Palmettes, carved in stone

3. An ‘Egyptianising’ window frame

4. A meandering ‘Greek key’ pattern carved all over the building.

These terrace houses were designed by Alexander “Greek” Thompson (1817-1875), a noted British architect who spent his working life in Glasgow. As his nickname suggests, he was noted for his use of Greek styles. Another Thompson designed structure, now housing the University’s Centre for the History of Medicine and the Centre for Business History in Scotland (another odd pairing) is the Ionic porch of Lilybank House.

However, I fell in love with these Egyptian-column-like chimney pots topping the building. Very lotus looking or fancy hats.

At one end is a blocked area – possibly a blocked door, but it seems a bit too narrow.

Thompson was also a pioneer in sustainable building and is said to have greatly influenced the later architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and (of course) Wright’s Glasgwegian counterpart, Charles Rennie Macintosh. Not surprisingly, Arts and Crafts era (Mackintosh or Mackintosh-inspired) buildings also crop up among these older classical looking structures in Glasgow. Below is a door in a reconstructed version of Mackintosh’s house where he lived from 1906-1914, now built onto the University’s modern art museum. An odd door onto nothing – or a very steep step.

Other campus doors are in a mixture of styles – Scottish History (Eachdraidh na h-Alba), appropriate enough for Glasgow.

And just to reinforce that you are in Scotland (🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿) – Celtic and Gaelic (Celtis is Gáidhlig) departments.

And a Mackintosh inspired Arts and Crafts door marked “Seminar oom” – shades of Narnia – where all all those suitably Scottish subjects can be discussed. No parking out front.

Check out Norm’s Thursday Doors for many more posts on fascinating buildings and their doors.


    • Definitely! I expected a bit of neo-classical as all British towns with Victorian pasts were influenced by the style. What I didn’t expect was the monumentality and creativity of blending styles. It was fun traipsing around the campus.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s amazing how much influence Greek architecture has had on other countries. As it happens I live in Crete so have these lovely buildings near at hand to admire. Even if lived in another country I still think their architecture and artwork superb. Thanks for these photo’s from Glasgow.


  2. What a lovely collection. That first building is stunning; very imposing.
    If you get the time, don’t forget to swing by and add this to our link-up list 🙂


  3. I love the use of the blue in the first shots. That’s a Greek blue for sure. 🙂 I also like the details you found. These days, details cost a fortune, which is a shame. That door with no step is hopefully locked from the inside!! Could be deadly if you stepped out.



    • Those blue doors are quite affective. I suspect the Macintosh door is kept locked as it is part of the Museum gallery space showing the interior of Mackintosh’s house – part of the display from the inside. It just looks odd from the outside.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.