150 Years of Gilmorehill: Marking the Anniversary

This year – 2020 marks 150 years of the Gilmorehill campus at the University of Glasgow.

Today the Gilmorehill campus is comprised of more than 100 buildings but it started in 1870 with the University’s main building – The Gilbert Scott Building designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

To mark the anniversary we are sharing via twitter, records and items from across our Archives & Special Collections that illustrate the history of the move from the Old College on High Street to the now iconic Gilbert Scott Building under the hashtag #Gilmorehill150.

In 2016, the book Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Glasgow written by Nick Haynes was published and it documents in great detail the University’s architectural history and was the result of a partnership project between Historic Environment Scotland and the University of Glasgow in 2011-12.

Earlier this year, a member of the ASC team Jules Koch was tasked with looking again at records in our collections to select items and research stories to mark the anniversary and in March we began to publish regular tweets that will explore different aspects of the move to Gilmorehill.

These will include the construction of the new building and the move from the Old College on the High Street. As well as posts exploring the administrative and financial arrangements this necessitated and features of the new building, it’s 19th century teaching facilities and reactions to it from staff and students.

Further blog posts are planned in the next few months including one prepared by Andrew Mackay as the result of his History of Art student placement with us. Please do follow us on twitter @UofGlasgowASC to find out more.

Categories: Archives and Special Collections


1 reply

  1. There is a profoundly sad aspect to this anniversary; the loss of the Old College in the High Street, when the University fled (that is the only term for it) from that part of the city that had been reduced to a slum by industrialisation, and a cholera outbreak that galvanised city action to produce the Loch Katrine waterworks to supply Glasgow with fresh, clean water and the University to seek to move (some of the worst slums in the city were just over the wall from Professors’ Square). The Old College was a beautiful 17th century building complex to replace the University’s medieval home, developed from the 1630s onward, variously paid for by Charles I and Cromwell (!), I think. Small vestiges of the Old College remain at Gilmorehill in the rescued Jacobite Lion and Unicorn staircase outside the Chapel, and remnants of the old entrance as Pearce Lodge, at the bottom of University Avenue. There are also some parts of the interiors within the Gilbert Scott building. There are wonderful and evocative old photographs by Annan around 1869-70 of the Old College that was so familiar to John Simson, Gershom Carmichael, Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, Wiliam Cullen, John Millar, Joseph Black, Thomas Reid, William Hunter …..

    For some of the Annan photographs see Nick Haynes, ‘Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Glasgow’; Edinburgh & Glasgow: Historic Scotland and the University of Glasgow, (2008). Especially Ch.1 and Ch.2, pp.13-42.

    What happened to the University site between the High Street and the Molendinar burn after 1870? It became a Victorian railway goods yard.

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