This view of Charing Cross, taken no later than 1910, shows the Grand Hotel on the left and part of the magnificent Charing Cross Mansions in the centre, designed in the French style by Sir. John J. Burnet who trained in Paris. The curving Mansion frontage connects St. George’s Road on the left with the eastern section of Sauchiehall Street on the right. Parts of the Grand Hotel are let out to the Post Office and to businesses fronting on Sauchiehall Street and on St. George’s Road (unseen). There are two women wearing straw boaters, suggesting the Edwardian era, and an open top tramcar heading for Queen’s Park is passing the hotel entrance. In the right foreground are R. Campbell, Boot Maker, and E. Niven, Domestic Servants Registry. I wonder if there are boot makers and domestic servant registries in Glasgow today. ( This postcard has an E. A. Schwerdtfeger code but does not carry the name so this example was probably reissued after 1914. The printing on the back is in blue. )
It’s another bright sunny day at Charing Cross in this scene photographed at least 10 years later from the other side of Sauchiehall Street. The ornate water fountain on the corner of Woodside Crescent is now visible and the merchant’s signs are proliferating along the front of the Grand Hotel. The tramcar is headed for Kirklee and although most of the upper deck is enclosed, the motorman is still exposed to the elements. ( I believe this is another E. A. Schwerdtfeger successor, printed the same way on the back with no name but labelled in upper and lower case on the front. )
In this scene, taken from the pavement outside the Grand Hotel and looking east up Sauchiehall Street, the tramcars are still the dominant mode of transport but motor cars are becoming more evident and there is also Leyland Titan Corporation bus in the distance, the first of which entered service on Glasgow streets in February 1928. The entrance to the Grand Hotel is just visible on the left, flanked by pillars, and Harris the tobacconist, R. S. McColl and the Royal Bank occupy premises along the front. Hemlines are going up, as illustrated by the two ladies chatting beside one of the hotel lamps.
This Valentine’s 1928 view shows traffic in St.George’s Road just before it merges with Sauchiehall Street. The Grand Hotel is on the left and there is a good view of the statuary on Charing Cross Mansions on the right. Prominent in the traffic is a Glasgow Corporation Leyland Titan bus which had been introduced that year and marketed by Leyland as the way for local authorities to dispense with their trams. Leyland’s revolutionary new chassis enabled the bus to have an overall height of 12 feet 10 inches, at least two feet lower than conventional double-deck trams and buses, thus giving it an advantage in stability and in negotiating low bridges. Although an extremely successful bus, it would be another 34 years before Glasgow completely dispensed with its trams. This scene also features a white tram on its way to Kirklee, passing the shops along the east side of the Grand Hotel. These include Helena Watson, the exclusive ladies outfitter, Royal Drooko, the Glasgow umbrella manufacturer, Maypole Dairies and Lipton’s, the grocer, both of which later became part of the same organization. Thomas Lipton was another example of a successful Glasgow entrepreneur. His family came over from Ireland in the 1840’s and started a butter and ham shop near Dixon’s Blazes in the Gorbals where young Tommy gained experience. In 1871, when he was 21, he opened his first shop in Stobcross Street and that was the beginning of an empire.