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Latitude: 55.8727 / 55°52'21"N
Longitude: -4.288 / 4°17'16"W
OS Eastings: 256939
OS Northings: 666756
OS Grid: NS569667
Mapcode National: GBR 0CG.VK
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.3NB9
Entry Name: University of Glasgow, Gilmorehill Campus Building E1, 82 University Avenue, Mcmillan Reading Room Including Railings, Lamp Piers, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls
Listing Date: 15 January 1985
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 376131
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB32927
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Hillhead
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
T Harold Hughes and D S R Waugh, 1936-39. Monumental Classical circular library with rectangular entrance block to S; axial alignment with Gilbert Scott Building. Reinforced concrete, clad between bands in yellow machine-made narrow 'Roman' yellow brick. Continuous stepped plinth.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Tall arched, relief keyblocked, stepped entrance bay with simple doorpiece and 2-leaf doors at head of stair with graduated parapet walls, vertical glazing above; swept brass handles to glazed timber doors. Narrow, vertically linked windows with band between and dripmoulds, set in advanced panels. Rear entrance with simple die walls oversailing basement area. Drum supporting shallow saucer dome set back from parapet.
Metal windows. Domed roof; decorative rainwater goods.
RAILINGS, LAMP PIERS, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: Ground level parapet wall with wrought-iron railings and 2 brick pier lamp standards with metal lamps. Coped boundary wall to University Avenue; bracketed pedimented caps to gatepiers (replacement gates).
McMillan Reading Room is part of an A-Group with, Lord Kelvin's Sundial, Gatepiers, Railings, Quincentenary Gates, Hunter Memorial, John McIntyre Building, Thomson Building, Pearce Building, James Watt Building and Gilbert Scott Buildings.
This is an exceptional example of a purpose built reading room designed for a higher education setting and dating from the mid 20th century. The building exhibits an innovative design style, particularly in its use of brick and concrete, and survive relatively unaltered, including a large number of interior fittings. The building is set on a prominent site within the university campus, with the entrance on axis with the gatepiers and boundary wall from Hillhead House which was formerly located on the site. The reading room would have formed the centrepiece of a redeveloped quadrangle of university buildings, but this plan was never realised. Nonetheless the building retains a prominent setting with surrounding landscaped grounds further contributing to its interest.
The Reading Room won the RIBA Bronze Medal, for the best building in Scotland 1936-49. It was funded from a bequest in memory of alumni, Robert and Edith McMillan, and cost £20,000 (approximately £575,000 in 2010). It was designed to house 565 of the 3000 undergraduates then matriculated at the University. The Reading Room was originally intended to stand in a courtyard formed by new University offices, lecture rooms and an art gallery, but the outbreak of the Second World War put an end to the building programme. The same architects were responsible for the contemporary Joseph Black Chemistry Building.
The Reading Room stands on the site of Hillhead House, a villa of circa 1850 built by the muslin manufacturer and calico printer, Andrew Dalglish. The walls and (repositioned) gatepiers fronting University Avenue presumably date from the construction of Hillhead House.
Formerly listed as '82 University Avenue, University of Glasgow, Reading Room'.
List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building number is derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website www.gla.ac.uk.
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