Bid to restore Savoy murals

CALLS are being made to restore a "hidden gem" in one of Glasgow's shopping centres.

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  • The murals were painted when the mall opened in the 1970s
    The murals were painted when the mall opened in the 1970s
  • The murals were painted when the mall opened in the 1970s
  • The murals were painted when the mall opened in the 1970s

The interior of the Savoy Centre, in Sauchiehall Street, was designed by Glasgow artist Charles Anderson in the 1970s.

But there are fears that mural inside the indoor market, which was recently threatened with closure, have been neglected.

Now local people and community leaders hope the artworks can be given a new lease of life - and could help pull in more customers to secure the centre's future.

West End resident Patricia Cox took an interest in the centre when the Evening Times revealed its future was in doubt.

As we reported, the centre's operators InShops went into liquidation last month and told the 60 businesses inside to pack up and leave.

However, a deal was struck between the owners of the building and InShops, which allowed the traders to stay.

Negotiations are continuing into what the next step is for the mall.

Ms Cox, a web designer, said: "I am very pleased that the owners are letting the traders continue. This is an institution in Glasgow.

"So many people use it but I'm not sure people realise how significant it is from a cultural and heritage viewpoint.

"When I heard about the problems the businesses were facing I wanted to go and see the artwork in the centre."

Ms Cox contacted sculptor Charles Anderson, a former lecturer at Glasgow School of Art, and began researching the art in the Savoy.

The 77-year-old, said the artwork at the Savoy was seen as "groundbreaking" at the time.

He added: "It was a shame that some of it was covered up - but buildings do change use over time.

"I think it would be great if we could do something more with it now."

Generations of people who have used the Savoy over the past 30 years may remember the brightly coloured artwork in the mall.

Craftwork in the Savoy includes a design, which winds all the way up the ramp which goes to the top of the two-storey building, as well another mural in the stairs leading up from Renfrew Street.

Other examples of Mr Anderson's other exist at Glasgow's Charing Cross Station and at multi-storey flats in Pollokshaws, in the South Side.

Ms Cox also hopes to highlight the building's red sandstone facade on Sauchiehall Street,which is also rich in historical detail.

It was built in 1893 for a furniture and carpet business, Messrs Cumming and Smith, by the architects Hugh and David Barclay.

The building later went to be transformed into the Picture House in 1910, when new auditorium was built behind the existing facade.

In 1958, the building was turned into the Gaumont Cinema.

In 1972, the Majestic Ballroom, on the corner of Hope Street and Renfrew Street, and the Gaumont were knocked down - except from the red sandstone facade - to make way for the offices and shops now known as the Savoy Centre.

Ms Cox said it was considered "by some to be one of the most handsome buildings in Sauchiehall Street".

She added: "I would like to see more done to highlight this.

"I hope the owners can make the most out of the building, to the benefit of everyone."

Glasgow Kelvin SNP MSP Sandra White backed her call.

She said: "The murals have got to be saved for posterity, so that people can come and view them.

"I didn't know much about Charles Anderson until the Savoy Centre was in trouble.

"I think his designs are unusual and striking and would appeal to locals as well as tourists."

Green councillor Nina Baker said: "I would certainly recommend that the owners should make more of the special features of their building, there is a lot more interest in brutalist art and architecture now than in the past.

"Perhaps this could be the start of something hip and new in the centre to complement the traditional market stalls currently there."

A spokesman from PBN Properties, which owns the building, said they could not comment on the future of the Savoy at this time.

rachel.loxton@eveningtimes.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

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