Sauchiehall Street

by Chris Jones on March 2, 2010

Sauchiehall Street is a name unique to Glasgow and yet known well beyond the city limits. It’s a long street by Glasgow standards and was renowned for its department stores, hotels, cinemas, restaurants and tearooms as well as art galleries and a range of smaller businesses. Much of the street is situated on a hillside that was probably once moorland, parts of which may have been wooded and others later cultivated. The sauchie haugh or willow meadow from which the street derives its name was probably a low-lying area located near what would later become Charing Cross. The development of Sauchiehall Street was part of the westward growth of the city, spurred by the desire of wealthy merchants to own property on the outskirts. Villas and terraces with distinguished names like Kensington and Windsor Place were constructed during the second decade of the 19th Century and the street became a quiet and narrow suburban thoroughfare known as Saughie-haugh Road. It was widened in 1846 and then in the 1850’s some of the older buildings were replaced with tenements and in the 1870’s with commercial properties. The 1896 Ordnance Survey map of Central Glasgow still shows some villas remaining on the north side of Sauchiehall Street in the section between Thistle Street and Scott Street.

This shows the view looking west along Sauchiehall Street from the eastern end, at the intersection with Buchanan Street where the tram rails curve in from Parliamentary Road. Armstrong’s Hotel is on the left and on the right with its magnificent tower and Grecian temple front is St. John’s Methodist Church which was tragically demolished in 1960/61 to make way for St. Andrew’s House, a multi-storey office building. On the left, beyond the intersection with West Nile Street, is the Baroque Empire Theatre which opened in 1897. It attracted some big name performers and particularly in the years after the Second World War when American stars including Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Dorothy Lamour, Jack Benny and Danny Kaye played to packed houses.

The Empire Theatre, 35 Sauchiehall Street

Looking from the Empire Theatre diagonally across the intersection with Renfield Street was the Central Halls Building, a complex of offices, shops and a hall, designed by the architect James Thomson. The Royalty theatre opened there in 1879 and became famous for comedies, opera and plays. It served as the Glasgow base of the D’Oyly Carte Opera but when Howard & Wyndham’s lease ran out in 1913, the Central Halls Company who owned the property ran the theatre as the Lyric Picture Palace. During the First World War, the building was purchased by the YMCA and it became their Hostel for Soldiers and Sailors. After the war, the YMCA reopened the theatre as the Lyric Theatre. This picture shows the building when it was owned by the YMCA and it remained so until it was demolished in the late 1950’s. ( Publisher not known. )

This mid-1920’s view of Sauchiehall Street looking west was taken near the Renfield Street intersection. In the foreground is the entrance to the Lyric Theatre located in the YMCA building and there are businesses all along the frontage, including a branch of A. Harris, the tobacconist, and a service offering hair cutting, shaving, chiropody and manicure. Part of Renfield Street United Free Church is visible on the left, beyond the intersection, and a branch of R.S. McColl, the confectioner, has good exposure on the corner. ( Postcard published by Judges Ltd., Hastings )

This Valentine’s photo was taken at the same location in 1932 and the ornate street lights have now been replaced by more utilitarian ones with a longer reach, providing better illumination over the roadway. The policeman on point duty has stopped traffic so that the tramcar can turn right into Sauchiehall Street from Renfield Street. Three years earlier, the name of the church had been changed to Renfield Street Church of Scotland and it continued as such until it closed in 1964 when the congregation became part of what it now known as Renfield St. Stephen’s Church in Bath Street. ( Postcard published by Valentine’s of Dundee. )

A tramcar heading for the International Exhibition at Kelvingrove Park is just turning into Sauchiehall Street from Renfield Street in this 1901 scene. The city where the Industrial Revolution began was hosting its second great International Exhibition and the recent electrification of the tramway system served to further showcase Glasgow’s achievements. The cars were resplendent in their colourful livery of cadmium orange side panels, ivory trim and plum/brown for the dashes. Each route was colour-coded and car 664 in the foreground would have had chrome yellow panels above the windows, bearing route information, probably similar to that of the car in the background.

A young girl is focussed on the photographer in this view looking east along Sauchiehall Street towards Armstrong’s Hotel and Parliamentary Road in the distance. The Central Halls Building, housing the Royalty Theatre, is on the left of the picture and the magnificent tower of St. John’s Methodist Church can be seen further along the street. A crowded, former horse-drawn tramcar bound for Botanic Gardens is coming round the corner from Renfield Street while a smartly dressed man waits beside the kerb. Everyone wore a hat in those days and there is quite a collection on display.

This scene from an undivided back postcard is looking west along Sauchiehall Street from the Renfield Street intersection soon after the tramway had been electrified in 1901. The premises on the right are not yet occupied by Lumley’s and the adjacent building with the newsagent would be completely rebuilt and refitted as the Salon Cinema by June 1913. The Crown Halls next door were occupied by a firm of auctioneers and valuators. ( Publisher not known. )

In this view looking west across the intersection with Renfield Street, part of Renfield Street United Free Church is visible on the left and, on the opposite corner, Lauder’s Bar is on the ground floor of the building and Lumley’s the sports retailer now occupies the other three floors. The curious light-coloured building next door is the Salon Cinema which opened in June 1913. It was designed in the Moorish style by Thomas Baird and the facade was finished in square tiles set in a diagonal pattern. Patrons would enter through a large doorway framed by two pillars each side and topped with a grand arch containing three windows. Unfortunately, the business was not a success and it closed in May 1923, whereupon another major renovation began. The facade was replaced with a more contemporary one and three new floors were built within the space formerly occupied by the auditorium. When it was completed, Lumley’s moved into the premises. ( A “Pelham” Series Local View published by Boots the Chemist. )

This view of the same location taken after 1923 shows the completed Lumley House and Bruce’s Furniture Galleries now occupy the space vacated by Lumley’s on the corner. On the other side of Lumley’s are the Crown Halls. There is still a policeman on point duty as this was well before traffic lights were introduced. The tramcar approaching the intersection is bound for Clarkston. ( Postcard published by J. & M. Caledonia Series. )

In this scene, dating from around 1910, we have now crossed Renfield Street and are walking up the south side of Sauchiehall Street towards the intersection with Hope Street. We have passed the Crown Sale Halls on the opposite side of the street and are now looking across to the Globe Restaurant at number 110 and the Osborne Hotel, a temperance hotel listed in Baedeker’s 1906 handbook. The name Osborne had become popular during Queen Victoria’s reign as it was the name of her favorite home with Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight. The Glasgow hotel of this name would later become the Royal Hotel and, unlike the Osborne, it was not a temperance establishment. Until the Scottish licensing laws were changed in 1976 only hotels and restaurants could serve alcohol on Sundays and the Royal along with many others did a brisk trade. ( Postcard published by M. Wane & Co. Edinbro’. )

We have now moved up to the Hope Street intersection in this printed view which dates from the late 19th Century. Gas lamps still illuminate the streets and the trams are horse-drawn. The property housing Craske’s cloaks is the only two storey building fronting the south side of the street in the entire block. Cloaks are now out of favour but the term cloakroom still survives. Across the street from Craske’s is P. & P. Campbell of the Perth Dye Works, who operated a chain of cleaners and dyers. The driver of the horse-drawn cart making its way up the street is adhering to the path of the tramlines in order to reduce the bone shaking from riding on the cobblestones. ( Publisher not known. )

We have turned to look back, eastward across the intersection with Hope Street where traffic lights have now been installed in this late 1930’s scene. The Royal Hotel, formerly the Osborne, is on the left and beyond that are the Crown Sale Halls and Lumley House. In the distance is the YMCA and the magnificent tower and cupola of St. John’s Methodist Church. The bus pulling away from the kerb is unusual in that it has three axles and was an AEC Renown, the only one that was in service with Glasgow Corporation. In the distance, the street bares left into Parliamentary Road where the sun is shining on the tenement building. ( Postcard published not known. )

This view of Sauchiehall Street looking west across the intersection with Hope Street was taken soon after the tramway system had been electrified in 1901 and new, decorative electric street lights had replaced the gas lamps. Transport is powered by man, horse and electricity in this scene and it must have been hard work pulling a cart up Sauchiehall Street. A sign outside one of the shops on the left proclaims New Etchings by D. Y. Cameron, the celebrated artist and member of the Glasgow School, whose works were much sought after and who was later knighted by King George V. Across the street, P. & P. Campbell, the cleaners and dyers, are offering a special on carpets. The clock tower in the distance marks Copeland and Lye’s department store, usually referred to as Copeland’s, and beyond that is the dome of Pettigrew and Stephens.

In this unusual view of Sauchiehall Street, taken around 1920, the camera is looking down from a first storey rooftop on the south side of the street, near the intersection with Hope Street. The building with the light façade and bay windows across Sauchiehall Street is occupied by M. Bryce & Son, upholsterers, cabinet makers and carpet warehousemen. In the imposing building next door, considered by some to be the most handsome on the street, the Picture House is showing silent films. Years later, it would become the Gaumont. The dome in the distance is the cupola on the Treron building at the corner with Rose Street. ( Caledonia Series postcard published by J. M. & Co., Ltd. )

We are now back to street level and the date is around 1905. On the far right is the awning for M. Bryce, the cabinetmaker. We can now take a much closer look at the fine red sandstone building next door, designed by the brothers Hugh and David Barclay and completed in 1893 for Messrs. Cumming and Smith who had built up a successful carpeting and furniture business in Townhead. Surprisingly, after spending only 10 years on Sauchiehall Street, Cumming and Smith decided to move back to their old premises and now several small businesses line the front of the building. The Picture House would not open until 1910. Further up the street, at number 158, is the Rodmure School of Dress which would soon relocate to premises above Reid & Todd at the corner with Cambridge Street. On the south side of the street, the vertical development of the single storied block between Hope Street and Wellington Street has now begun with the completion of a multi-storey warehouse with space to let. The businesses in the adjoining premises are many and varied, including Stobo, the tobacconist, S. Langfier, the photographer and the Scottish Bible and Book Society, together with an importer, and an enterprise offering electrolysis. The ornate standards by the kerb are not bearing street lights but instead support the tram wires. When the system was electrified, there were no buildings on this side of the street tall enough to support the wiring. The tramcar in view, heading for Langside, is an early example of one with an enclosed upper deck. ( Photograph by T. R. Annan. )

We have now moved forward nearly thirty years and the south side of Sauchiehall Street between Hope Street and Wellington Street has changed completely. Craske’s Cloaks and the single storey buildings present at the turn of the century have now been swept away and replaced by more substantial properties. The left corner is now occupied by Watt Brothers, the ladies outfitters, which is still in business today having extended its premises and diversified its retail inventory. Next door at 123 Sauchiehall Street is one of James Craig’s tearooms whose excellent teas were complimented by their first class baking. The tearoom was rebuilt in lavish style and relaunched by James Craig as The Ruhl in 1927. Also occupying the same building is a branch of Birrell’s, the confectioner, and rival to R.S. McColl. At the time this photograph was taken, the very elegant, curved and embellished lampposts which had borne Glasgow’s first electric streetlights for over thirty years were being replaced with taller, more utilitarian versions which had a longer reach and would provide better illumination of the roadways. The great increase in motorized traffic had necessitated improvements in lighting. The sandwich board man is advertising a list of railway lost property items for sale, including furs.

Here is the scene in the 1950′s and traffic lights have now replaced the policeman on point duty. Traffic lights first appeared in Glasgow in 1937 and their introduction generated a lot of coverage in the newspapers. James Craig’s Ruhl, noted for its tea and cakes as well as Scottish paintings, would continue until 1957. The cinema known as the Picture House has now become the Gaumont. Glasgow people loved “going to the pictures” and the city was at one time home to over 130 cinemas, accommodating a total of 175,000 persons, over 10% of the total population. The cinema provided a great escape from hard work in the yards and factories and from loads of washing and ironing at home. ( Publisher not known. )

Continuing our walk along Sauchiehall Street we are now approximately halfway between Hope Street and Wellington Street and are about to pass the Picture House on the right with its cafe. This cinema opened in 1910 and would later become the Gaumont. A little further up on the left is the La Scala cinema which claimed to be more upmarket and offered “High Tea” while you were watching the film.

We are now approaching the junction of Wellington Street with Sauchiehall Street and the rather fine French-styled building on the corner, known as Caledonian House, was occupied by Copeland & Lye Ltd., the department store. William Copeland and John Lye had founded the business in 1873 in Cowcaddens and five years later they moved to Sauchiehall Street. In 1901, the store was expanded to include premises at the Bath Street corner. Copeland’s specialized in drapery, clothing and dressmaking and was very popular with the ladies, even more so after they added a restaurant and tearoom. It was one of several large stores in the city to use a pneumatic cash transfer system which was fascinating to watch in operation. The sales person would write up your purchase and then enclose the details together with your payment in a cylindrical canister which was then loaded into a tube and conveyed at high speed on a cushion of air to the cashier’s office. After a brief delay, the canister would be returned to the sales counter in another tube, complete with the receipt and any change.

On the right of this photograph is the Sauchiehall Street branch of Woolworth’s, easily recognizable from the signature gold lettering on a rich red background. Frank Winfield Woolworth founded the company in the United States in 1878 as a “five and dime” store and it became an international success. Woolworth’s sold a range of household items, clothing, toys and confectionery, and was very popular with the people.

Copeland & Lye, Restaurant de Luxe, Glasgow

The Restaurant de Luxe

An advertisement in the Glasgow Herald of 22nd April, 1909 announced that Copeland & Lye’s new Restaurant de Luxe was now open to the public, and offered the following;

Dainty Luncheons. Light Refreshments. Afternoon Teas. First-Class Cuisine. Prompt and Refined Service. Moderate Charges. Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Writing and Resting Rooms.

Music by the Caledonian House Orchestra from 1 till 5.

We have now reached the intersection with West Campbell Street off to the left and Cambridge Street to the right in this late 1920′s scene. Daly’s dress shop is in front of us on the left, and across the street, in the building which used to house the Balmoral Hotel, is the Ministry of Labour’s Employment Exchange. The fine domed structure further up on the right-hand side is part of the Treron et Cie building on the corner with Rose Street.

In this scene dating from around 1910, we are looking east along Sauchiehall Street past the intersection with Cambridge Street on the left and West Campbell Street on the right. The building with the large windows on the West Campbell Street corner is the location for Pettigrew & Stephens Manchester House, the famous department store, and on the other side of Sauchiehall Street is Reid & Todd’s, renowned for selling canes, umbrellas and fine leather goods, particularly for use in travelling. These two buildings, both completed at the turn of the century, display dramatic differences in architectural style. The Reid & Todd building, designed by James Thomson, appears much more conservative and is remarkable for its detailed stonework, especially around the roofline and dormer windows ( not visible in this photograph ). In dramatic contrast, the Pettigrew & Stephens building designed by John Honeyman & John Keppie and with a cupola by Charles Rennie Mackintosh represents a dramatic break with style and dedicates much more wall space to windows. The rounded corner at West Campbell Street emphases its modernity. It must have been so much brighter inside Pettigrew’s compared to other large stores. Above Reid & Todd’s is the Rodmure School of Dress which had recently relocated there. ( Postcard published by W. R. & S. Reliable Series. Printed in Saxony. )

It is now 1923 and the scene here is essentially the same with Reid & Todd and Pettigrew & Stephens facing each other across Sauchiehall Street. The sign on the corner of Reid & Todd’s reads J. Karter & Co. Wholesale Furrier and on the floor above are the offices of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection. One can only wonder how the two got along. ( Postcard published by Valentine’s. )

It’s just after 3.25 on a sunny afternoon and the awnings are out at Reid & Todd’s and at Pettigrew’s. A few years have elapsed since the previous photo was taken. The anti-vivisectionists above J. Karter & Co. have moved out and the premises are now occupied by the staff of Berlitz Languages. Daly’s window displays in the foreground are attracting considerable interest. The store that was known as the “Harrod’s of the North” had a reputation for excellence in ladies clothing. Fashions have changed considerably since the Edwardian era and in this scene, raised hemlines and close fitting hats are much in evidence. The white colour-coded tramcar approaching the camera is bound for the University. ( National Series postcard published by Miller & Lang. )

Sauchiehall Street, Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow 1

This excellent photograph, dating from 1910-1912 and originally published by E. A. Schwerdtfeger, is taken from the north side of the street looking east and affords a good view of Manchester House, the Pettigrew & Stephens building on the corner with West Campbell Street. The fine cupola, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is in the centre of the building facing Sauchiehall Street, across from which we have a partial view of the building housing Reid & Todd which is contemporary with Manchester House but much more conservative in design. Nearer the camera on the south side of the street is Daly’s dress shop and the white building after Ramsay & Ramsay is the location for Kate Cranston’s Lunch & Tea Rooms. These were the famous Willow Tea Rooms, originally opened in October 1903 and recently restored. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret designed virtually every aspect of the interior: the décor, furnishings, cutlery, menus and staff uniforms. In 1917, Kate Cranston sold her businesses and the tearooms remained open under a different name until they became a part of Daly’s in 1928. The sandwich board man outside is advertising Sylvia, the scientific palmist, at an address on Mains Street which would later become Blythswood Street. ( Postcard published originally by E. A. Schwerdtfeger and subsequently republished anonymously after the outbreak of the Great War. )

This photograph is taken slightly further west of the previous one and while not of the same clarity, it depicts a very important event. The date is 8th October, 1915, and a demonstration is taking place in support of the Glasgow Rent Strike. There are rows of quite well-dressed women, four deep, sometimes with a man on the outside, processing westward along the south side of Sauchiehall Street, perhaps heading towards Kelvingrove Park. Further back, a large crowd is following them, carrying placards and passing by Copeland & Lye and Pettigrew & Stephens stores. The Rent Strike was brought about by the attempts of landlords to raise rents at a time of economic crisis during of the war. Munitions factories and shipyards needed more workers and so the demand for rental housing increased. Landlords took advantage of this and when people could not pay the increased rents they were forced out onto the streets. There was a public outcry and a rent strike that began in Govan rapidly spread to Partick and other areas involved with the war effort. Because so many men were away fighting for their country, women played a prominent role in the strike. Demonstrations were organized and when landlords attempted to evict tenants, crowds would block the closes and drive off the Sheriff’s officers and landlords factors. The Government, led by Lloyd George, became so concerned about the threat to war production on Clydeside that it passed the Rent Restriction Act, fixing rents at pre-war levels for the duration of the war and forbidding landlords from raising them.

The large mobile hoarding on the far right is advertising the final week of Rob Roy at the Savoy Theatre, starring John Clyde and Durward Lely in the leading roles. A film version featuring the same two performers had been made in 1911. John Clyde was primarily an actor and Durward Lely had trained as an opera singer in Italy and was a noted tenor.

We have now crossed over to the south side of Sauchiehall Street and are looking across to Brinkley & Son, Miniature Printers, and the Balmoral Hotel, located on the corner with Cambridge Street. An early motorized delivery van is parked outside Muirhead & Turnbull, the piano and organ supplier immediately beside the hotel. Beyond the intersection is the building housing Reid & Todd and the Rodmure School of Dress. In the foreground, the larger stores have given way to small businesses including Miss Boyle and Mrs. Brown both of whom are selling corsets which were becoming more popular as girth increased with prosperity. ( Postcard published by Judges Ltd., Hastings. )

In this 1932 view, we have come further west and are now looking back. We have passed the intersection with Rose Street shown on the left and Blythswood Street, which used to be called Mains Street, on the right and are now standing outside the entrance to the McLellan Galleries in the Treron building. Built in 1856, the Galleries were named after their founder Archibald McLellan who was a coach builder, city councillor and patron of the arts. It was here that the Glasgow School of Art was housed from 1869 to 1899 until it moved to the new, purpose-built premises designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh on Renfrew Street, just north of Sauchiehall Street. During this time of transition, the group of modern artists known as the Glasgow Boys, renowned for their pursuit of naturalism and realism, were particularly active. Sharing the building with the McLellan Galleries was the department store of Treron et Cie which was not French but wanted to give the impression of being so and was renowned for fashion and fine quality goods. ( Postcard published by Valentine’s. )

This 1924 photograph, taken just west of Dalhousie Street ( left ) and Douglas Street ( right ), shows the full size and scope of the Treron et Cie building which also housed the McLellan Galleries and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. The latter, founded in 1861, thrives to this day and is in the forefront of promoting contemporary Scottish art. Posters in the windows of Treron’s advertise their July sale and the McLellan Galleries are hosting an Exhibition for the World’s Sunday School Convention. It was a busy time. Very ornate and unique lamp standards are fronting the Treron building and two fine cupolas are in view, one at the Rose Street corner of the Treron building and the other at the West Campbell Street corner of Pettigrew & Stephens. The architectural dome is probably the most graceful feature of classical architecture and here we see two of them in close proximity on Sauchiehall Street. The white tramcar approaching the camera is headed for Woodlands Road and the University at Gilmorehill. ( Publisher unknown but this postcard may be a successor to the pre-war E. A. Schwerdtfeger series. )

It is the early 1930’s and we are looking east along Sauchiehall Street from the corner with Elmbank Street. If the clock is right, the shops and offices have closed for the day and people are heading home. A crowd has gathered outside Lyon’s, the Society Stationer, to view the large selection of postcards and prints on display. In true entrepreneurial spirit, the shop is offering to print visiting cards for tourists while they wait. Obviously having a printing press on the premises gives them a distinct advantage over most stationers. The fine red sandstone building across the road, extending eastward from the Thistle Street ( now Garnet Street ) corner, is known as Ashfield House and was designed by T. L Watson and Henry Mitchell. It was completed in 1903 and incorporates both tenements and shops. ( Caledonia Series postcard published by J. M. & Co., Ltd. )

The full extent of Lyon’s retail premises on the corner with Elmbank Street can be appreciated in this picture, taken during the Edwardian period, when the business was at its height. Founded by William Lyon when he was only 23 years old, the company prospered and by 1885, there was the shop at 385 Sauchiehall Street, a printing works at number 474 Sauchiehall Street and a retail branch in the Argyll Arcade. This particular postcard is dated 20 October 1908 and was used to respond to a customer inquiry. A full account of the history of the company by family member Peter Andrew Lyon may be found at http://www.livinghistory.co.uk/homepages/Lyon/ ( Postcard published by Lyon Ltd., Glasgow. )

We are standing on the south side of Sauchiehall Street between Newton Street and Elmbank Street in this late 1940’s view. The large building with the white façade on the other side of the street is the Beresford Hotel which opened in 1938 in time to provide accommodation for visitors attending the Empire Exhibition. Often referred to as Glasgow’s first skyscraper, the building was designed by William Beresford Inglis who was also the owner and managing director. It is one of the city’s most notable examples of Streamline Moderne architecture, a design style which appeared during the latter part of the Art Deco period. The hotel was a favorite with American servicemen during the Second World War and later became Baird Hall of Residence for University of Strathclyde students. It has now been converted into private apartments. ( Postcard published by Miller & Lang in their National Series. )

We are now very close to Charing Cross in this view taken early in the 20th Century, after the tramway had been electrified in 1901 and before the last tree on this part of Sauchiehall Street was removed in 1906. On the left are the Albany Chambers, designed by Sir J. J. Burnett and completed in 1896. The entrance is flanked by Gavin Crawford & Sons and Hugh Dunlop & Sons with the former having their end of season sale. The sober storefronts of the period do not detract from the fine architecture. Long dark dresses and wide-brimmed hats are much in evidence in this Edwardian scene. ( Rotary Photographic Series postcard )

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, 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 lamp standards.

Sauchiehall Street, Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow 1

This view, looking East along Sauchiehall Street, was taken from an upper room in the Grand Hotel. On the left are the Charing Cross Mansions, superbly designed by J. J. Burnet for Burnet, Son & Campbell and built in red sandstone in 1889-91. Newton Street opens on the right and William Skinner’s tea rooms are on the ground floor at the corner facing the camera. William Skinner & Son was one of the oldest established tea room enterprises in Glasgow, having been founded in 1835. The business started out further up Sauchiehall Street and in due course established a reputation for teas and luncheon. The premises were furnished in the French style and cultivated an atmosphere of conservative elegance. ( There is some discussion of William Skinner & Son’s enterprise in the comments section. ) On close examination, the Standard tram cars in view are fully enclosed and still have the color-coded upper panels so this view probably dates from the mid to late 1930’s. ( Postcard published by Photochrom Co. Ltd., Royal Tunbridge Wells.)

Legends © Christopher J. Jones

Except where otherwise stated, all photographs are from the author’s collection.

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Lewis MacDonald November 14, 2013 at 6:12 am

Hello Chris,

I am afraid I can’t find an email contact for you on the site, but I’m sure this message will get to you. I have query about using one of your photographs from this post as part of an interior wall graphic in a hospital refurbishment project that my company is working on. It would be good to give you more details to see what you think and ultimately if you wish to grant permission to use your image. Please send me an email on this and I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Great work on the site by the way!

Thanks, Lewis

Sheena Timbs November 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Hello Chris,

Love this site. So many old photo’s I have never seen before. I can remember being in the Empire with my daddy as a very young child and also the Gaumont. My dad lived in Cunningham Street in Townhead. When we visited my great-grandmother there around 1959, I would be around 4 or 5 years of age. We would wait for the bus to take us home to Whiteinch on what I think must have been Parliamentary Road/Killermont Street. The bus stop was outside a very elaborate toy shop with beautiful displays. I can recall many years ago, Jack House, who had a column in the Sunday Post, being asked the name of this toy shop and he was able to give the answer. Do you have any idea what it was called?

Many thanks,

Sheena

Chris Jones November 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Hello Lewis,

Thank you for your inquiry and comment. I will be happy to help and will be in touch via email.

Best wishes,

Chris

Chris Jones November 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Hello Sheena,

Thank you for sharing your memories which are greatly appreciated. I don’t know the name of the toy shop to which you refer but hopefully the readership can help.

Best wishes,

Chris

Jean Sinclair Anderson January 6, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Hello Chris,

I am so happy to finally see pictures of the Pettigrew & Stephens building where my grandmother worked as a teenager in the late 1800s. She emigrated to the U.S. (Massachusetts — where I live) in 1908 and never had a chance to return to Scotland. However, she used to talk a lot about her young years growing up in the Gorbals section of the city. She was very impressed to get a job at such a fine store through a family connection — she had to clean up her slang, however! Is the building still there? I would love to visit some day.

Thank you.

Jean

John Stewart January 10, 2014 at 9:59 am

Hello Chris,

This is a superb collection and evokes many memories of Sauchiehall St. Thank you very much.
So disappointing to find that Treron et Cie was not French after all!
What an elegant place Sauchiehall Street was – I used to think that having afternoon tea in Craigs or Dalys was the ultimate in poshness!

John

Chris Jones January 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Hello John,

Thank you for your comment. Sauchiehall Street did indeed have many fine stores and places to take afternoon tea. The City Centre itself abounded with elegant tearooms.

Best wishes,

Chris

Chris Jones January 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Hi Jean,

Thank you very much for sharing this information about your grandmother. She obviously had many happy memories about her early life in Glasgow.

Andrew Hislop Pettigrew and William Henry Stephens founded their company in 1888 with premises at 181-193 Sauchiehall Street. After William Stephens died in 1896, Andrew Pettigrew was left in sole charge of the business. In 1901, the store was completely rebuilt and incorporated a fine gilt dome designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Pettigrews, as the store was known locally, sold a wide range of goods that included clothing, millinery, furnishings, carpets and fine china. Sadly, the company and its fine building are no longer with us.

Chris

alex February 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Hi Chris,

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this site. I was employed at R. Sheldon Bamber’s at Charing Cross as a barber from 1943-45. Thank you.

Alex

Chris Jones February 6, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Hi Alex,

You’re most welcome. Your former employer’s hairdressing business was located at 12 and 13 Charing Cross Mansions, as you probably recall.

Chris

Catherine February 16, 2014 at 3:20 am

Trying to find out when Mary Poppins was showing in the La Scala in Sauchiehall Street. Does anyone know?

Catherine

Etta Dunn February 18, 2014 at 6:35 am

Hello Chris,

Congratulations on building such a fabulous website. I wonder if you can help me settle an argument. My friend told me that there used to be an ice-rink in the basement of the property that is now the Genting Casino in Sauchiehall Street ( used to be the Locarno ballroom ) but I think it was where the O2 is now – further east in Sauchiehall Street. Do you have any info about this? Also, I am doing a ‘then and now’ project about Glasgow and wondered if you would give permission to use some of your images – given appropriate credit of course.

Thank you.

Etta

Peter Duffie February 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Hi Chris;

Thank you for a fascinating web site. I have only just discovered it, so I have a lot of reading ahead.

Peter

Chris Jones February 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Hello Etta,

Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you are enjoying the website. It’s still a work in progress. As for the ice-rink in Sauchiehall Street, I can shed no light on the matter but perhaps a reader could.

You are certainly welcome to use some of the images for your private use.

Best wishes,

Chris

Chris Jones February 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm

You’re welcome Peter and thank you.

Chris

Elaine March 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Hi Chris,

I love your old photos of Sauchiehall Street. My Grandfather got married at 361 Sauchiehall Street which I believe is where the Beresford now stands. Do you have any images of that area around 1912 when he got married? Thanks

Elaine

DON May 6, 2014 at 7:00 am

Hi Chris,

The hotel owner W.B. Inglis who owned the Beresford Hotel also owned the Imperial Picture Hall at Paisley Road. This building is now the Grand Ole Opry.

Don

Chris Jones May 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Hi Don,

Thank you for this information. According to the Grand Ole Opry’s website, it is the largest Country & Western club in the U.K. and possibly in Europe.

Chris

Susan Reid May 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Hi Chris,
I am having a look for old photos of Reid & Todd as my great grandfather started it. I am continuing the family business with a shop I have had in Milngavie for 20 years and am now working on an active website and would like an image/s of the shop on the website. Would you by any chance be able to guide me to where I could find pictures?
Kind Regards,
Susan Reid

Mairead Beresford June 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Hi Chris,

I have had a great time looking through the old photos of Sauchiehall Street as I was brought up in Elmbank Street and remember a lot of the buildings that are no longer there. There was a building set back from the road just where the Dental School is now and I have tried to find out what it was, but with no success. Perhaps someone will know what it was.

Thank you.

Mairead

Chris Jones June 14, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Hi Susan,

Thank you for sharing the fact that your great grandfather was one of the original owners of Reid & Todd and that you are continuing the family business in Milngavie, specializing in fine leather goods. I’ve checked out your website and you are certainly welcome to use any of the photos of Reid & Todd featured on this website. Let me know if you would like any high resolution scans.

Best wishes,

Chris

Paul Simpson July 7, 2014 at 7:13 am

Hi Chris

Great website, which has been really good to review as part of my Family history. Three generations on my Paternal line ran ‘A M Simpson Glass Merchant & Glaziers’ on Sauchiehall Street from 1865 – 1900.

Their work premises moved from various locations on Sauchiehall Street: No.167 (1865-69) No.266 (1870-72) No.214 (1873-1880) No.278 ‘Glass Shade Warehouse’ (1889-1900). Then they moved to Elmbank Street and finally North Street.

I would love to find some photographs of the Sauchiehall Street addresses from those dates. Any advice you can give as to how I might do so would be greatly appreciated.

I struggled to find the above numbers on Sauchiehall Street when I visited Glasgow. Has the numbering changed over the years or have some addresses been destroyed? Again, any advice on finding these specific addresses would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks and kindest regards,

Paul Simpson

Chris Jones July 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Hi Mairead,

Thank you for your comment and inquiry. I have checked the Glasgow 1927 Directory which can be accessed online and there is a gap in numbers between 358 and 396 Sauchiehall Street. On examining the Ordnance Survey maps for 1896, 1913 and 1934, it looks like the gap is occupied by a private residence set well back from the street and with a curving driveway leading up to the front door. This would certainly fit in with your recollection of a property set back from the street. The building was subsequently taken down because the gap was filled by the 1970 extension to the Glasgow Dental Hospital and School.

Best wishes,

Chris

Chris Jones July 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Hi Paul,

Thank you very much for your comments and for sharing your family history and connection with Glasgow. You probably noticed that my Sauchiehall Street photographs are from the first half of the 20th Century and I don’t have any pictures of the buildings when A. M. Simpson had premises on the street. From the addresses you supplied, No.167 would have been on the South side of the street, on the corner with Wellington Street where Copeland & Lye’s department store would subsequently be located. Nos. 214, 266 and 278 Sauchiehall Street would have been on the North side; No. 214 on the corner with Cambridge Street, and Nos. 266 and 278 very close to where the McLellan Galleries are today.

It might be worth contacting the Mitchell Library ( Tel. 0141 287-2999, Fax. 0141 287-2815, libraries@glasgowlife.org.uk ) to see if they have some photographs of Sauchiehall Street, taken during the latter part of the 19th Century.

Best wishes,

Chris

Willie Campbell July 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Hi Chris,

The La Scala Cinema was very nice indeed, and as a youngster in the ’50s, my mother or aunt would take me there for high tea, and a “suitable” film. Meals were served on the balcony, at tables with white linen settings, waitresses dressed in black and white, and tiny lamps on each table. No-one seemed to notice the clink of glasses or cutlery during a film, but certainly everyone smoked, and you watched the film through a miasma! I think that the building houses Waterstones now.
Daly’s was the most wonderful fashion store, and in 1966 launched the Miss Daly Boutique to cater for the daughters of the rich and famous. It was located on the balcony, now the tea room in Henderson’s jewelers, but then belonged to Daly’s. I remember being there in 1966, and Marlene Deitrich, who was doing a week at the Alhambra, came in and bought some Italian shoes. We all stared in wonderment.
It is so sad to see what Sauchiehall Street has now become, with all the great department stores gone. I used to know someone who lived in those wonderful Charing Cross Mansion flats, and look what they have become now, blighted by those awful retail units below, one featuring driftwood for goodness sake, and that awful modern monstrosity facing it.

Willie.

Chris Jones July 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Hi Willie,

Thank you for another fascinating contribution. When I was compiling the “Walk down Sauchiehall Street” and reviewing material, I was intrigued to read that “High Tea” was served at the La Scala. Now, thanks to your experience, we have an actual account of the event occurring while a film was showing. I have never experienced anything like this at any cinema I have attended but I do remember the increasing fog from cigarette smoking as the evening progressed.

I agree with you about the architectural decline, as I’m sure many would. There have been so many changes on the street, particularly since 1960, including the loss of St. John’s Methodist Church, the Pettigrew & Stephen building and the Grand Hotel.

Best wishes,

Chris

Willie Campbell July 31, 2014 at 12:48 pm

The La Scala was unique in having a “proper” restaurant in the auditorium, but it’s worth remembering that cinemas were a refuge for many Glasgow people in the tough times between the ’30′s and the ’50′s, and I am sure were life savers. In those days, cinemas opened around 11 a.m., and programmes ran continuously, finishing around 10.30p.m. So for the purchase of a relatively cheap ticket in the gods, a packet of 5 fags, and a small bar of Fry’s chocolate, you could stay in there all day in the warmth, admittedly seeing the same films repeated half a dozen times. Programmes changed completely 3 times a week, and would usually consist of a “B” film, starring relative unknowns, probably followed by some cartoons, and then the “Big Feature”, starring your favourite movie actors, the whole programme lasting 3 1/2 hours. If you were unemployed, a pensioner, or couldn’t afford the coal to heat your house, what could have been better on a cold, smoggy, winters day than losing your worldly troubles for a few hours in the warmth and anonymity of those dream palaces, before stepping out onto the street, and the tram back to reality.

Willie.

Chris Jones July 31, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Thank you Willie for this additional information and I can well imagine that cinemas were a refuge in those times and perhaps even today. It’s interesting that you mention Fry’s chocolate because their “Five Boys” chocolate bar was apparently the most recognized chocolate bar in the world at one time, and it was good. Perhaps the visitor might supplement his diet with a Scotch pie. It’s interesting to note that one of those B movie actors went on to become President Ronald Reagan.

Best wishes,

Chris

christine duncan August 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

Hi Chris,

I am researching my husband’s family history. This is a wonderful website, thank you. I noticed that someone had asked if there had been an ice rink in the basement of the Locarno Ballroom. Ice skating had once been an important form of entertainment for the people of Glasgow and around, and I can confirm that there was a rink associated with the Locarno Ballroom in the 1930′s and before, but that it was in fact a roller skating rink. I know this because my husband’s father Alexander Dunlop Duncan was once Scotland’s Premier Skater. I have in my possession a gold pocket watch on a rose gold chain which is inscribed ‘Presented to Alexander D. Duncan by the patrons of the Locarno Rink 3rd May 1930 . We have searched for information on this subject, pictures of him, mention of him in newspapers or the like. If you could throw any light on this, we would be delighted. If not, then perhaps you could suggest where we may find out such information. I do hope this is of interest to you.

Yours, Christine, from London

Chris Jones August 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Hi Christine,

Thank you for your comment and for confirming that there used to be a roller skating rink at the Locarno as an ice skating ring seemed unlikely. I regret that I am unable to shed any light on the achievements of your husband’s father. I was going to suggest that you contact the major Scottish newspapers of the time including the Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald, but it seems from what you say that you have already done that.

Best wishes,

Chris

Pamela Henderson September 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Hi Chris

Your article has brought back many memories: My mother used to shop at Dalys, Pettigrew & Stephens and Copland & Lye, and as a child I was fascinated by the pneumatic-powered cash systems. Does anyone else remember the Belfast Linen store in Sauchiehall Street?

After leaving school, I attended the Royal School of Shorthand and Typing near Charing Cross – not as regal as its name would imply as we had to climb up a flight of stairs between two buildings and then cross an open roof space to enter the college premises, complete with an outside loo – rather parky in winter! However, the two elderly ladies who taught there certainly knew their stuff and, due to their excellent tuition, I was subsequently employed by BBC Glasgow in Queen Margaret Drive (in a very lowly position!) before transferring to London. But that’s another story…..

Pamela

willie campbell September 24, 2014 at 11:49 am

Hi Pamela,

That system for carrying cash for purchases to the cashiers office was called a Lamson Tube. The receipt and money for a purchase were placed in a capsule which was sucked through a network of tubes in seconds, landing in a basket in the cashiers office. The stamped receipt and change were returned almost immediately.
Those were simple and trusting times in the ’60′s. In Jaeger, we also had a “house” cheque book for customers who had made purchases and forgotten their own cheques. They would simply fill in their banks name and account number, and put their address on the back of the cheque provided by us, and off they went with their purchases. In the three years I worked there, none of these cheques ever “bounced”.
We also gave out fashion goods “on appro” (approval) for 3 days while madame considered if she liked the goods or not. Goods were either charged up or returned within that time. Many an “unsuitable” cocktail dress or coat would be returned with inadvertent Theatre Royal tickets in the pockets. Madame was never challenged in those days.
I loved that London dept store tale of the new sales assistant in the fur dept selling a sable coat, but forgetting to obtain the account details from the lady who left with the garment, worth thousands incidentally! The manager of the furs section asked for a description of the customer, and realising it could have fitted 3 of her best clients, billed all three, reasoning that payment would come from the coats purchaser….in fact all three paid. Oh to have so many sables, and so much money that you can’t keep track.

Willie

Alan Hayman October 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I recall being taken a child, regularly by my mother to a dentist at Charing Cross (I believe it was in Charing Cross Mansions.) I remember what seemed to me then his huge hands -they seemed to me like bananas & I promptly dubbed him banana hands. However his work was superb; his name was Ernest Levine. When I came to London as a young man some years later, every dentist who examined my teeth (save one, who made no comment), remarked that his workmanship was the finest they’d seen. I dare say that dental training in Scotland in those days was to a very high standard. Interestingly it was on the third floor of 69 St. George’s Rd (Charing Cross Mansions), that Oscar Slater, a gambler and dealer in jewellery, lived with his ‘girl’ Andree Hilary Antoine. He was convicted of the murder of 82 year old Miss Marion Gilchrist who lived in West Princes Street, only a little further North along St. George’s Road. The conviction was patently wrong on the evidence, but he was nevertheless only reprieved not pardoned (although the wording of the reprieve employed the odd but standard term, pardon), to spend nineteen and a half years in Peterhead Prison on the East coast. The case was a great cause celebre. Essentially his release and the request of the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, to the Secretary for Scotland to deal with the matter or it would be raised in Parliament, led to the establishment of the Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland. Save for one case heard before it to save official face, it has been suggested, his was the first case heard by that Court.

Alan Hayman

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