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Latitude: 55.8793 / 55°52'45"N
Longitude: -4.2841 / 4°17'2"W
OS Eastings: 257206
OS Northings: 667480
OS Grid: NS572674
Mapcode National: GBR 0DD.M6
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.5H67
Entry Name: Kelvinside Terrace, West Steps and Retaining Walls
Listing Date: 15 December 1970
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 377735
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB33772
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Hillhead
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
Probably Alexander Thomson; circa 1872. Large curved retaining wall below roadway of Kelvinside Terrace with wide staircase to W, leading from former Queen Margaret bridge (demolished circa 1971); to E of new Queen Margaret Bridge.
RETAINING WALL: battered retaining wall of stugged and squared masonry with ashlar cope. Blind arcade with engaged stugged pilasters, to parapet of wall to E side of steps. Short colonnade to parapet to centre of wall, consisting of Tuscan columns with flared capital supporting ashlar entablature with detailing to cornice; coped square piers flanking colonnade. Lugged ashlar frame flanked by corbel table to E section of wall. E section of wall topped with plain cast iron railings and coped rectangular-plan piers.
STEPS: staircase of 66 steps flanked by ashlar-coped, stugged balustrade walls. Plain cast-iron handrail down centre of steps.
The retaining wall and sixty six steps at Kelvinside Terrace is a rare example of the structural work of the renowned architect Alexander Thomson. Although Thomson is not named as the architect in later 19th/early 20th accounts, he is known to have been working elsewhere in Kelvinside and some of the stonework detailing is stylistic similar to his other work. The wall is well-detailed, including a small colonnaded opening to the parapet, affording views across the River Kelvin from Kelvinside Terrace. This large structure makes a significant contribution to the Kelvinside area which is characterised by nineteenth century sandstone tenements and villas. The original cast iron lamps on the W balustrade wall of staircase were removed during WW2. These lamps were of the same design as those at Thomson's Queen's Park Church (see separate listing).
Alexander Thomson was a Glasgow-based architect who was known for his asymmetric Greek style. He designed a diverse range of buildings, many in his native city, including churches, residential buildings, commercial warehouses and monuments. His work includes include St Vincent Street Church (1857-59), 1-10 Moray Place (circa 1859) and Egyptian Halls, Union Street (1870-1872) (see separate listings). His other work in the Kelvinside Area includes 1-11 Great Western Terrace (1867-77) and Westbourne Terrace, now known as 21-39, Hyndland Road, (1870-circa 1881). The retaining wall and sixty six steps at Kelvinside Terrace would be his only work of this type.
The staircase is an important part of the social history of the area as it was designed to provide access from the old Queen Margaret Bridge to Kelvinside Terrace. The old Queen Margaret bridge was designed by engineer Richie Rodger and constructed by John McEleroy and Sons for John Ewing Walker, a coach builder, to provide access from the Great Western Road to the developing area of North Kelvinside. The present Queen Margaret bridge was constructed in 1926-9, and the former bridge was largely demolished circa 1971 with only the piers being retained.
(List description updated 2011 and 2012).
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