Eye Spy Glasgow: The light-hearted side of the Temperance movement

The need to look skywards to appreciate Glasgow's architectural gems has been touched on previously in this column.

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A walk round the city centre can reveal some treasures - if you take the time to look and, most importantly, look up.

In the case of the old Scottish Temperance League building in Hope Street, then the higher the better.

It stands between St Vincent Lane and Renfield Lane. A kilt shop currently occupies the ground floor.

And considering it was built in the 1890s for the austere temperance movement, the building seems to embody a sense of fun.

Perhaps the Temperance League bosses felt that, if people shouldn't be allowed to drink, then they could at least enjoy some good architecture.

It is described in architectural journals as a "little orange-red Franco-Flemish" building, with "light-hearted details".

At the top are three statues, one on the roof, representing Faith, Fortitude and Temperance.

The three figures were the work of noted Glasgow sculpture Richard Ferris, the son of a plasterer from the city's Rottenrow.

The Glasgow architectural firm of Salmon and Gillespie was responsible for the design, in particular the partner James Gaff Gillespie.

He grew up in Govan, the son of a baker, and was responsible for a number of striking city centre buildings.

As for the Temperance League, its influence waned in the early part of last century and the Hope Street building became part of the Daily Record offices in 1919.


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