St. Enoch Square

by Chris Jones on March 28, 2010

St. Enoch Square is actually sacred ground. It is the site of the chapel and last resting place of St. Thenew, the mother of St. Kentigern, also known as St. Mungo, the Patron Saint of Glasgow. The name Enoch is considered to be a corruption of Thenew. Since consecration, the land has been venerated and marked by a succession of chapels. Sadly, this came to an end in 1926 when the last St. Enoch Church on the site was demolished. With its disappearance, respect and recognition for the hallowed grounds ebbed away. They became a car park and later a bus stance. However, all is not lost and perhaps they will be honoured again in the future.

This Valentine’s Series postcard of St. Enoch Square was registered in 1911 but the photograph may have been taken earlier. It shows the St. Enoch Church, the entrance to the St. Enoch Subway Station and the St Enoch Hotel and Railway Station, the latter being the principal terminus and headquarters of the Glasgow & South Western Railway. The church had been rebuilt from an earlier one whose foundation stone was laid on 12th April 1790 and the spire had been retained. The railway station entrance and hotel were constructed on the site of the Surgeons’ Hall which stood on the east side of the square. Today, only the Subway building survives. The church was unfortunately swept away in 1926 and the station and hotel in 1977.

St. Enoch Station opened in 1876 and the hotel followed three years later. It was described as “the most imposing structure in Glasgow” and with over 200 bedrooms was the city’s largest hotel. Both the station and the hotel were among the first buildings in Glasgow to be lit by electricity. ( This postcard was originally published by E. A. Schwerdtfeger & Co. but the name was subsequently removed from reissues once Great Britain headed into the Great War. )

Here is a later view of part of the St. Enoch Hotel which was an enormous structure extending well round the left hand side. The gas lamps in St. Enoch Square have now been replaced by electric lights and the intricate wrought ironwork of the standard is evident in the foreground. The city wanted its new electric lights to be artistic as well as functional. People are traversing the ramp leading up to the station entrance and there are large posters under the canopy featuring enticing destinations. Various vendors occupy the arches beneath the ramp, including Burgoyne & Co. wine merchants and Brown & Sons, selling paints and varnishes. Ivie Hair & Co occupy a double frontage so they were obviously doing a good business selling soap and candles, oil and lard. ( The publisher’s name is not printed on the card but I believe this to be an E. & A. Schwerdtfeger successor. )

It is now 1949 and much of the Square is now being used as a car park and for taxis. Even though the Second World War ended just four years previously, the scene suggests one of prosperity and not austerity. The banner across Buchanan Street proclaims the Scottish Industries Exhibition. Vendors are selling the same products from premises under the station ramp as were being sold 30 years earlier. ( Postcard published by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd. )

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

MarkSpizer May 2, 2010 at 3:17 am

Great post as usual!

Chris Jones June 20, 2010 at 9:26 pm

You’re welcome. Thanks for viewing.

Eric September 2, 2010 at 6:12 am

It’s a brilliant site Chris. I remember the St. Enoch Hotel and in the 60s as kids daring each other to go inside the disused hotel and see if we could see the ghost (the grey lady), as I used to live on Bridgegate as a kid.

Chris Jones September 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Thank you for the comment Eric. The site is a work in progress. I see you used to live on the Briggait. It must have been fun growing up so close to the City Centre.

bob April 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Excellent reference. I will come back for more looks.
Bob

Vicki Shields July 23, 2011 at 8:01 am

I was really pleased to see the old buildings. Born in Glasgow and using the subway from Govan to St. Enoch was great. The photos bring back memories.
I believe there was a music shop on the opposite side of St. Enoch Square. It was fairly large – you don’t happen to know the name of it do you?

Brian October 6, 2011 at 5:05 am

6/10/2011
Very good website Chris; I have enjoyed it today. Hope you don’t mind my mentioning, however, that St Enoch Church was actually demolished in 1926. I researched this subject for a talk in 2006 to mark the 80th anniversary and managed to trace some very good photographs of the demolition work in progress, by consulting the local newspapers’ archive held at the Glasgow Room of the Mitchell Library.

A fascinating “journey through time” Chris! Thanks again for your work on your websites Chris; and again do hope that my information above is helpful.

Chris Jones October 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Hi Brian,

Thank you very much for your comments and the information on St. Enoch Church. I had read in some published material that the church was demolished in 1925 but obviously the newspaper accounts will be more accurate as they were reporting the event as it happened. I have now made the change. Thanks again Brian for the information. I’m glad you are enjoying the website.

John Hogan November 9, 2012 at 8:11 am

This really brings back memories. I lived at the top of number 24 St. Enoch Square in the late 50’s, early 60’s. My dad was caretaker of the office block and the National Commercial Bank (I think it was that one). Skinner’s the baker was next door and R.S. McColl just down. We had a flat on the 5th floor. My sister and I used to play on the flat roof.

John Hogan

Chris Jones November 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Thank you John for sharing this information. I do not have a Glasgow Directory for that period but I have access to a 1927 issue and there was a National Bank at number 22, William Skinner & Son, Ltd., at number 30 and the Commercial Bank at number 32 St. Enoch Square. William Skinner also used to have a branch at 73 Eglinton Street and a long-established bakery and tearoom at 477 Sauchiehall Street on the corner with Newton Street.

Best wishes,

Chris

Alice x December 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

I remember Galloway the Butchers sat underneath the arches of St. Enoch Station on the Square and the corner of Howard Street – with sawdust on the floor. Galloway’s had a big red neon sign outside their shop which lit up the word GALLOWAYS bit-by-bit saying ‘GO ALWAYS (TO) GALLOWAYS’. My mother bought pork link sausages, pickled brisket, etc to take to her mother and sister-in-law in Newarthill (Lanarkshire) every week. Next to Galloway’s was a sweetie shop, where I’d get sweeties for the long bus journey.

Just after I left school, I worked in Glasgow and always took the train from St. Enoch Station to Thornliebank – 6 people to a compartment and no corridors. The smoke would kill you now. Thanks for your website – it’s been a great trip down memory lane for me.

Alice

Chris Jones January 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Thank you Alice for sharing your memories of St. Enoch Station and the Square. It’s good to take a walk down memory lane.

Best wishes,

Chris

nolly doherty June 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Hi Chris,

I have been told that the St Enoch Hotel burnt down but read on the net it was demolished. Can you clarify?

Nolly

Chris Jones July 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Hi Nolly,

Thank you for your question. It’s my understanding that the St. Enoch Hotel was demolished in 1977 without the aid of a fire.

Best wishes,

Chris

Marianne Garety September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

What a great website…came across it while doing some research for work. Thanks very much for all the info!

Marianne

Chris Jones September 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Thank you Marianne for viewing and for your comment.

Chris

Rose Brown December 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Dear Chris,

Love the website, it brings back memories. When we emigrated to Canada in 1957, we were about to leave for the airport on a bus from St. Enoch Square when they told us that our plane was delayed and put us up in the St. Enoch Hotel for two days. To kids from the Glasgow tenements, this was pure luxury! The poor hotel staff did not know what hit them, all these weans running around their hotel. I don’t think the other guests were too impressed either. I later returned to Glasgow for a couple of years, and worked at Timothy White’s the chemist, at the corner of Argyle St. and the Square.

Rose

David patrick January 12, 2014 at 3:14 am

Hi Chris,

I was in the Gold and Diamond Exchange at 60 St. Enoch Square and there is a fantastic picture showing the demolition of some small structures in the Square where St. Enoch Church would have been. The man in the shop has been there for over 30 years but he did not know what the structures were. He thought it was the 1930s, so his assumption that they were air raid shelters but these did not come until later. Do you have any idea what they might be? If not, you might want to visit the shop to have a look. It is a fabulous photo and there is no doubt it is definitely St. Enoch Square.

David

Chris Jones January 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Hi David,

Thank you very much for this information. I presently live far from Glasgow but am intending to visit this Summer so will endeavour to visit the Exchange and see the photograph to which you refer.

Best wishes.

Chris

David patrick January 15, 2014 at 12:32 am

I will go in and take a photo of it and send it to you. Won’t be until next week, but it is really intriguing and well worth investigating. I will be in touch.

David

Lorraine Mccarthy April 8, 2014 at 2:06 am

Hi Chris,

Would you know the name of the dance hall in St. Enoch Square back in the 80’s?

Thanks.

Lorraine.

Jim Black August 8, 2014 at 3:41 am

This brings back a lot of memories. I started work in the St. Enoch Hotel in the 1960’s until nearly the days when it closed. It was sad to see such a beautiful building demolished.

Jim

Norman Taylor August 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Unless memory fails me, I seem to recall that before the St. Enoch Centre was built the old station platforms were actually used as a car park. I’m sure I used to park my car in there sometimes. Would that have been late 70’s perhaps?

Norman

Chris Jones August 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Hi Norman,

You are correct about the old station platforms being used as a car park. St. Enoch Station closed to railway traffic on 27 June 1966 as part of the reorganizationation of the railways undertaken by the then chairman of the British Railways Board, Dr. Richard Beeching. Subsequently, part of the station was used as a car park. Demolition of the station structure and the St. Enoch Hotel took place in 1977.

Chris

Derek November 18, 2014 at 5:04 am

Chris,

There’s a photo of cars parked on the old station, during the redevelopment of the subway, on SPT’s site. See http://spt.co.uk/corporate/about/our-services/glasgow-subway/ or the page about St. Enoch at The Beauty of Transport blog.

I never knew there was a chapel in the square. Thanks for sharing these (and the comments too). I’ll need to have a look at the photos in the Gold and Diamond Exchange some time.

Derek

Chris Jones November 22, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Hi Derek,

Thanks for sharing this information and for your comment.

Chris

Margaret February 19, 2015 at 1:20 am

Great pictures. I took my son and daughter on the old subway just before it closed. Whenever we visit the transport musem it reminds us of that last journey.

Scott Cowan March 12, 2015 at 10:18 am

Hi Chris,

Loving all the old Glasgow shots. I’m working on an advertising campaign and was wondering if the top two shots of the St. Enoch are available for use? It would be good to hear from you and chat more if possible.

Regards, Scott

Chris Jones March 12, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Hi Scott,

Thank you for your comment and I’m happy to help. I’ll contact you via email.

Best wishes,

Chris

Les April 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm

During my student days, I got temp job assisting a security guard who was employed to oversee the car park (I think) on the then closed railway station platforms, circa 1968. During one evening I wondered through the disused part of the station buildings only to find long since abandoned offices and storage rooms (one or two levels below the platforms) wherein railway schedules dating back to the late 1890s were in abundance. I also recall seeing rooms filled with hundreds of large batteries (large glass jars still filled with acid + electrodes). Each battery had a maintenance card showing topping up procedures. What was surprising was the almost new state of these items (after 70 or so years)! Britain made quality products in those days.

Les

Chris Jones April 12, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Hi Les,

Thank you for sharing this information. I wonder what such an early design of batteries would have been used for in the time leading up to closure of the station.

Best wishes,

Chris

Eddie Traynor July 8, 2015 at 3:34 am

Hi there,

Really enjoyed your site and the comments. I lived in Glasgow up to the age of 24 (now 58) and knew this area extremely well in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

I can answer Lorraine McCarthy’s question about the dance hall. In the late 1970’s, the dance hall (disco as it was then) was known as the “Terminal One Club”. This name was an allusion to the fact that the early (1950’s and 60’s) coaches for Glasgow Airport departures to exotic climes left from here; I suppose it gave club patrons a sense of the “exclusivity” that the “Terminal One” had exuded in earlier years.

I hope this is of some help.

If I may can I ask a question about the Grey Lady ghost? Having grown up in Glasgow I had heard rumours as a child about the ghost. As an adult interested in supernatural stories, I cannot find any significant reference to the Grey Lady anywhere. I read a short story once, many years ago, that purported to tell a story of a hotel guest witnessing the apparition but I cannot recall the name of the book it was in.

Does anyone know any more about the Grey Lady of St. Enoch and have there been any more sightings since the hotel was demolished?

Many thanks

E. F. Traynor

Chris Jones July 12, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Thank you Eddie and I have posted your comment and question.

Best wishes,

Chris

DNA July 16, 2016 at 10:18 am

What an astonishing collection of photographs….utterly compulsive viewing.

In the early 1940s we evacuated as a family to Prestwick to escape the anticipated air raids which didn’t come until we had returned in 1942! During that brief time away I travelled daily by train from St. Enoch Station to and from school. I can vividly recall the curved incline from the Square up to the Station which was bordered by a low, stepped wall decorated with enamel advertising panels. THe one best remembered (and I cannot be alone) was stark white with dark blue or black lettering proclaiming:

“They come as a boon and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen”.

Can anybody add to this? Lipton’s Tea maybe? The demolition of the magnificent facade of hotel and station was one of the acts of appalling corporate vandalism to which the city has too often been subjected. This splendid website stands in testimony.

Chris Jones July 29, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Thank you DNA for your kind comments and for sharing your experiences. Perhaps a reader will recall the advertisement to which you refer.

Best wishes,

Chris

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