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1-7 (Inclusive Nos) Blythswood Square and 112 Douglas Street

A Category B Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8641 / 55°51'50"N

Longitude: -4.2629 / 4°15'46"W

OS Eastings: 258478

OS Northings: 665751

OS Grid: NS584657

Mapcode National: GBR 0JK.XM

Mapcode Global: WH3P2.HV8W

Entry Name: 1-7 (Inclusive Nos) Blythswood Square and 112 Douglas Street

Listing Date: 15 December 1970

Last Amended: 8 May 1975

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 376270

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB32975

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Anderston/City/Yorkhill

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

Classical three-storey and basement terrace block of three-bay houses, built around 1829. No 5 has a stylised Art Nouveau inset pedimented doorpiece by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The main frontage of the building is 21 bays long with outer three-bay sections raised and breaking forward with fluted Ionic porticos. The ground floor central section has arched entries.

All entries to Blythswood Square have stairs oversailing a basement area. Windows are mainly sash and case in architraves, some with 12-pane glazing. The ground floor windows are set in recessed arches with moulded cills and aprons. Basement and 1st floor cill band. 1st floor windows corniced. Eaves cornice and blocking course. Spearheaded cast-iron railings. The seven-bay returns to Douglas Street and to Blythswood Street largely repeat the main elevation detailing.

There is a rendered addition to the rear of No 5 Blythswood Square in Bath Lane with five-light timber mullioned and transomed stained glass window with wrought iron Art Nouveau grille.

Nos 2, 3 and 4 were redeveloped behind the principle elevation in 1987. Some interior work was reinstated following the rebuilding behind the façade.

Statement of Interest

Blythswood Square is the heart of Blythswood New Town. It was initiated in 1821 by William Hamilton Garden who went bankrupt promoting it, and was laid out by William Harley between 1823 and 1829 (Buildings of Scotland, p.214).

The Glasgow Society of Lady Artists Club was established at 5 Blythswood Square in 1893. Mackintosh designed the pedimented doorcase for the entrance, a telephone kiosk for the hall and also made interior alterations. His name is given in the minutes of the Lady Artists Club as the architect recommended for and awarded the work in 1908. Macintosh's architectural firm (Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh) also carried out other works at Nos 4 and 7 Blythswood Square, but there is no evidence that Mackintosh produced work for those commissions. 5 Blythswood Square was sold to the Scottish Arts Council in 1971.

The basement flat at 7 Blythswood Square was the home of Madeldine Smith and her family in the 1850s. Miss Smith was accused of poisoning here lover but after a long trial the jury reached a verdict of "not proven". Jack House records the details in "Square Mile of Murder".

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.

There are two listing dates due to a substitution on 08/05/1975.

Listed building record revised in 2019.

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