Pre-eminent among Glasgow-based architects prominent in the West End is Alexander “Greek” Thomson (1817-75). In his early years Thomson employed a variety of styles – eg as at Craigrownie Castle at Cove (quasi-Medieval), The Knowe in Pollockshields (Roman-Italianate). Later, he adopted a severer Grecian style, enlivened by whimsical incised patterning and often accompanied by Egyptian influences. None of his West End buildings (mainly terraces) are open to the public – though you can visit Holmwood House (Cathcart) Thursday-Monday afternoons, Easter to October.

Among Thomson’s work and influence in the West End are the following

  • Great Western Terrace – severe and masterly – pavilions imaginatively set back two houses from each end, shortening the mid-section to provide greater visual interest to an otherwise very long wall of masonry
  • Westbourne Terrace – here perspective is enhanced by successively setting back the two upper stories
  • North Park Terrace – on top floor, recessed stone panels align with top of windows to provide strong horizontal emphasis
  • Sixty Steps – mysterious Eastern columns ornament the viewing platform; Pharaonic False Door in retaining wall has Egyptian “Pylon Motif” (used also eg in Eton Terrace in Oakfield Avenue and in door-frame joinery at Holmwood House)
  • Athole Gardens – not by Thomson, but incised decoration borrows Thomsonian motifs; cornice effect of recessed paneling echoes North Park Terrace

James Sellars is notable for the Gothic Hillhead-Kelvinside Parish Church (based on the Saint-Chapelle in Paris) and St Luke’s (inspired by Dunblane Cathedral); in contrast, his classical Kelvinside Academy has Thomsonian features eg in the low-pitched end pavilions reminiscent of Holmwood House (this Thomson trade-mark may have inspired the “Prairie Houses” of Frank Lloyd Wright in the USA).

John Honeyman (in whose firm Charles Rennie Mackintosh was later a partner) produced two West End buildings of astonishing quality – the Early-English Lansdowne  Church at Kelvinbridg

e, andthe classical Struthers Memorial Church in Westbourne Gardens – a tribute to Christopher Wren.

John Thomas Rochead was born and died in Edinburgh, but spent most of his working life in Glasgow; in the West End he was responsible for the spectacular Venetian-style Grosvenor Terrac

e, as well as for Buckingham and (probably) Ruskin and Kew Terraces, and also for the Renaissance Palazzo of North Park House in Queen Margaret Drive. The landmark Wallace Monument outside Stirling is also by Rochead.

John Burnet gave us Cleveden Crescent, replete with a Georgian elegance; later, his son John James gave us Gartnavel Hospital Chapel (1904) and Glasgow University Chapel (1923-27) – John James was knighted in 1914 for his work on the Edward VII Galleries of the British Museum..

Hugh and David Barclay designed a number of dignified grand tenements and terraces c1900, including the spectacularly elegant Kensington Gate.

H E Clifford’s Stoneleigh in Cleveden Drive is featured within the book Das Englische Haus (1904) by the German architectural historian Hermann Muthesius – admittedly Muthesius’s main interest in Glasgow lay with C R Mackintosh, whose only work in the West End consists of a small extension for Queen Margaret College (now North Park House). Clifford also designed Hyndland Secondary School – but to see the bulk of his surviving buildings it’s necessary to visit Pollockshields (where he was Burgh Surveyor) or Campbeltown (which was his wife’s home town).

The graceful convex Crown Circus by James Thomson, the grand Kirklee Terrace by Charles Wilson, and the William Leiper / Daniel Cottier collaboration at Dowanhill Church (now the Cottier’s bar / restaurant / theatre complex) are also stunning Victorian contributions to the West End landscape.