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Latitude: 55.8654 / 55°51'55"N
Longitude: -4.2374 / 4°14'14"W
OS Eastings: 260081
OS Northings: 665840
OS Grid: NS600658
Mapcode National: GBR 0QK.35
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.WTCX
Entry Name: 17 Parson Street, Martyr's School with Retaining Walls and Gates
Listing Date: 15 December 1970
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 375437
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB32619
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Anderston/City/Yorkhill
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
North Elevation: seven-bay, symmetrical block, with flanking bays set back and gabled. Centre bay with blocked basement doorway and bipartite above; outer three bays each side with windows to each bay, quasi-balcony across first floor groups, second floor groups linked at cill and cornice levels, latter raised at centre in keystoned shaped pediments. Two-bay simple return elevations. Entrances in recessed gables, mirrored pair, each door set in advanced panel with keystone and ogee carving to lintel above and distinctive flanking ornament; double doors with tear drop panels; bracketted string course above with quasi-balcony and two narrow windows lighting stairwell, and small window at third floor with bracketted cill.
South Elevation: Nine-bay with grouped windows, advanced square stack, with bracketted overhanging coping, towards east. Doorway in centre bay of centre group with bracketted porch and square fanlight above. Plain fenestration with some linking cill or lintel details.
East and West elevations: similarly detailed with stairwell defined by two narrow windows and mullioned and transomed broad round arched windows above, under deeply swept eaves; narrow stair windows to right and left respectively. Subtle variety of windows to rest of elevation. Small-pane upper sashes and two-pane lowers to sash and case windows; square lead-pane glazing in stairwell windows. Grey slates; coped stacks. Two ogee ventilators with decorative knot and finial, leaded bases (formerly with balustrade).
Interior: almost symmetrical with galleried light-well at centre and stairs to east and west. Currently under repair (1988). Walls tiled to wainscot level with green tiles at top. Archways to corridors. Small-pane upper panels to doors. Glasgow Style screens (currently removed 1988, to be returned). Mannered details to roof trusses, and Glasgow Style stair newels.
Retaining walls and gates: ashlar walls enclosing entrance courtyards, with balustrade to east and partial balustrade to west. Two sets of decorative wrought iron gates.
Commissioned by the School Board of Glasgow the outline of the design follows their requirements, and complies with a restricted site. However, distinctive Mackintosh features are apparent, particularly in the stairwells, ogee ventilators and interior details. The balustrade echoes that in his earlier Queen Margaret College design, Hillhead, 1894 (LB32902). It is an early work by Mackintosh and contrasts with his Scotland Street School composition of 1904 (LB33534). Burnet, Boston and Carruthers 185 St James Road school 1906, gives further instance of the School Board Schools compact massing.
Martyr s School is of a group of important buildings by John Honeyman and Keppie dating from the mid 1890s that include the Glasgow Herald buildings (LB33087) and Queen s Cross Church (LB33764), in which Mackintosh s distinctive contribution to the work of the firm can first be clearly seen (Mackintosh Architecture).
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) was born in Glasgow and is regarded internationally as one of the leading architects and designers of the 20th century. He became known as a pioneer of Modernism, although his architecture took much inspiration from Scottish Baronial, and Scottish and English vernacular forms and their reinterpretation. The synthesis of modern and traditional forms led to a distinctive form of Scottish arts and crafts design, known as 'The Glasgow Style'. This was developed in collaboration with contemporaries Herbert McNair, and the sisters Francis and Margaret Macdonald (who would become his wife in 1900), who were known as 'The Four'. The Glasgow Style is now synonymous with Mackintosh and the City of Glasgow.
Mackintosh's work is wide-ranging and includes public, educational and religious buildings to private houses, interior decorative schemes and sculptures. He is associated with over 150 design projects, ranging from being the principal designer, to projects he was involved with as part of the firm of John Honeyman & Keppie (Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh from 1901). The most important work during this partnership was the Glasgow School of Art (LB33105), which was built in two phases from 1897 and culminated in the outstanding library of 1907.
Other key works include the Willow Tea Rooms (LB33173), the Glasgow Herald Building (now The Lighthouse) (LB33087) and Hill House (LB34761), which display the modern principles of the German concept of 'Gesamtkunstwerk', meaning the 'synthesis of the arts'. This is something that Mackintosh applied completely to all of his work, from the exterior to the internal decorative scheme and the furniture and fittings.
Mackintosh left Glasgow in 1914, setting up practice in London the following year. Later he and Margaret moved to France, where until his death, his artistic output largely turned to textile design and watercolours.
Statutory address changed from 11 Barony Street to 17 Parson Street in 2009 following information from Glasgow City Council.
Listed building record revised in 2019.
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