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870 Garscube Road, Queens Cross Church and Hall (Formerly St Cuthberts and Queens Cross)

A Category A Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8803 / 55°52'49"N

Longitude: -4.2719 / 4°16'18"W

OS Eastings: 257976

OS Northings: 667572

OS Grid: NS579675

Mapcode National: GBR 0HC.3T

Mapcode Global: WH3P2.CG0F

Entry Name: 870 Garscube Road, Queens Cross Church and Hall (Formerly St Cuthberts and Queens Cross)

Listing Date: 6 July 1966

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 377716

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB33764

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Canal

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

A former Free Church designed for the Free St Matthew s Congregation in 1896-99 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (while an assistant with John Honeyman and Keppie). The building is constructed of red sandstone ashlar with a tapering 'medieval' tower, gothic gables and bespoke Art Nouveau details that pre-figure Mackintosh's later decorative work.

The building has a rectangular plan, with transepts and porch. At the southwest angle is a tapering tower with stair turret, perpendicular window and louvred window in the upper stage, derived from the medieval tower of Merriott Church, Somerset. The prominent south elevation has two full-height gabled bays with large perpendicular gallery windows, adjoining tower, two low aisle bays spanned by a bold flying buttress. At the east a two-storey porch with highly distinctive Art Nouveau details. The west gable has a large perpendicular window.

The interior has a wide timber barrel-vaulted hall, spanned by rolled steel tie beams.

A passage aisle to the south links the two main entrances. There are galleries to the east and in the southwest projection, boldly cantilevered with pendant details.

Some of the furnishings to the interior were designed by Mackintosh. In 1944 the rear five rows of pews were removed and the timber used to construct a decorative screen under the east gallery, designed by Thomas Howarth. The west window has three coloured lights designed by Gordon Webster in 1960. The beam spanning the chancel arch, which is not strictly speaking a rood beam as it does not support a cross) is a reconstruction installed in 1990, based on photographs of the original which was removed in the 1950s.

The adjoining hall is reached by a link from the east end. The hall is rectangular-plan with a typical Mackintosh open-trussed roof and top lighting. Tall dado panelling with deep cornice.

Statement of Interest

Queen's Cross Church is Charles Rennie Mackintosh s major ecclesiastical work. While the overriding style is gothic, the general form of the building and its decorative details recall medieval architectural forms. This suburban church is an exceptionally important landmark building featuring a wide variety of elements, lending the building a dynamic sense of movement across the principal elelvation. The disparate parts are pulled together by the square tower at the corner of Springbank Street. No longer in ecclesiastical use, it has been the home of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society since 1977. In 1994 money was gifted to the Society by Thomas Howarth to enable it to buy the church.

While the 1896 church committee minutes name John Keppie as the architect, it has never been doubted that Mackintosh was responsible for the design. His authorship could not be acknowledged publicly at that time because he was still only an assistant in the practice. He drew the elaborate perspective which was exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts in 1898. Mackintosh s drawing is closer to the finished building, but there are some significant differences, indicating that the design continued to evolve during construction. The church was also included in a list of his works, published towards the end of his life. (Mackintosh Architecture)

Queen s Cross church belongs to a wider development in Presbyterian church design, which from the 1880s onwards moved away from galleried auditoria intended simply for preaching and towards a more spiritually resonant architecture of worship. The interior ceiling is modelled on The Holy Trinity Church (1886) in Hammersmith, London by Richard Norman Shaw.

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.

Listed building record revised in 2019.

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