Eye Spy Glasgow: the motorway 'destroyed' much of Charing Cross except its mansion

Many people still find it a mystery that, when cities throughout the UK were benefiting from ring roads, planners decided to bulldoze a motorway network through the heart of Glasgow.

Loading Comments

The result was the destruction of some beautiful old buildings and, in some cases, the sweeping away of whole communities.

Charing Cross was a prime example, many of its finest and most historic buildings became victims of the wrecking ball in the name of progress.

Thankfully some survived - but in the case of the magnificent Charing Cross Mansions, only just.

The curved red sandstone building once had a commanding position on Sauchiehall Street overlooking the cross.

Now it overlooks the busy M8 motorway with the best view to be had from the equally impressive Mitchell Library.

The Glasgow History website describes the mansion as "having been placed into virtual obscurity, situated at a motorway interchange facing the brutally awful Tay House".

Charing Cross Mansions was one of the finest works of the Glasgow designer Sir John J Burnet.

He trained in Paris and he designed the building in the French Renaissance style with a Beaux-Arts frontage.

It was designed in 1889 for one of Glasgow's leading businessman of the time, Robert Simpson, who owned a warehouse store at the corner of Jamaica Street and Argyle Street.

A review of the city's architecture in the early 20th century described the Mansions as an "extrovert design full of incident".

The building's facade contains many sculptures, the work of Edinburgh sculptor William Birnie


The clock face is bordered by signs of the zodiac, with a male mask representing Old Father Time.

Also included are the Glasgow coat of arms and monograms carved with the entwined letters R and S, representing Robert Simpson.

It is a shame that the west end of the Sauchiehall Street shopping section - and the Charing Cross area in general - was destroyed to such an extent.

But is is a blessing that Charing Cross Mansions, possibly the finest red sandstone building in Glasgow, survived.

Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

When a dog is not a dog. I go vegan in the city.




Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Sussed in the City

why I wanted to be She-Ra Princess of Power or Morten Harket from A-Ha

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.