St. Vincent Street Church, Glasgow, Scotland

This morning, in extremely wet conditions, I paid a visit to St. Vincent Street Church, corner of St.Vincent Street and Pitt Street, central Glasgow, Scotland.

This church is still used for worship and is known as The Glasgow City Free Church (Presbyterian).

The building is important because it is the only surviving intact church designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson ( 1817-1875) , who has been described as having the greatest mind in Scottish architecture.

Although Thomson never left British shores he was greatly inspired by the architecture of ancient Greece. He was also a devout Christian and allowed images of Old Testament catastrophes to influence his work, along with other styles such as Italian Romanesque and Scottish Baronial.

The St. Vincent Street Church dates from 1857-9 and is constructed of local sandstone. Particular features of the building:

  • Built on an elevated, man-made Acropolis on a steeply sloping site.
  • The impressive Ionic porticoes are purely symbolic.
  • The tall steeple is richly embellished with architectural features (image number 3 below) which suggest Indian influences.
  • Inside, Thomson used latest technology of the day which included columns made of cast-iron and sheets of rolled glass.

The church can be accessed via a 10 minute walk from central Glasgow.

Ionic Porticoes of St Vincent Street Church, Glasgow, Scotland

Rear elevation of St Vincent Street Church, Glasgow, Scotland

Steeple of St Vincent Street Church, Glasgow, Scotland

Main body of St.Vincent Street, Glasgow, Scotland

View of St Vincent St Church from St Vincent Street and Pitt Street, Glasgow

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