1 Gilmorehill, University of Glasgow, Main Building/ Gilbert Scott Building

Scope and Content

Sub-series: 1) Measured contract drawings 2)Details 3)Record plans 4) Heating and ventilation plans and details 5) Twentieth Century alterations and additions. For descriptions of these see 'Scope and content' at individual sub-series levels.

Administrative / Biographical History

The 540 ft long main university building provided roughly 5 times more accommodation than the Old College High Street site and was the largest public building to be undertaken since the completion of the Houses of Parliament 10 years earlier. By November 1870 the classrooms, office, laboratories, library and museum were completed and the University took possession of the buildings. Despite its Gothic style, Gilbert Scott's building made the most of modern techniques. Concrete, cast and wrought-iron columns, beams and windows were used extensively throughout its constuction. The west quadrangle housed the Arts faculties, which included Mathematics and Natural Philosphy with their classrooms and laboratories. The chemistry laboratories, located in the southern part of the eastern wing, were modelled on the Abbot's Kitchen at Glastonbury to designs that were favoured by the famous chemist, Lavoisier. The Clerk of the Senate and Court rooms were located under the tower in the imposing south wing, while in the central part of the north wing contained the University library and Hunterian Museum. As well as lecture halls - the largest of which housed 200 students - each professor was accommmodated with a retiring room in which to prepare for lectures and meet with individual students. In 1882 two halls were added to the central axis of the building, paid for by bequests from Marquis of Bute and Mr Charles Randolph. In 1888, Scott's son, Oldrid Scott designed and oversaw the addition to the main tower of the spire and clock, enabled by bequest from Mr Andrew Cunningham. Work finished on the clock in 1891. At the beginning of the twentieth century the University launched a fundraising campaign, this, along with contributions from the newly formed Carnegie Trust for Universities of Scotland, enabled the University to begin a new building programme. The Clerk of the Senate's office was converted into the Court Room to acommodate the enlarged membership. Offices for the Principal and the Clerk of the Senate were contructed in the Examination Hall in the southern part of the Main Building. After 1906, the Natural Philosophy department moved from the Main Building to their new premises designed by Burnet. The space in the southern wing was taken over by the Naval Architecture. In 1969, Kelvin's original classroom, located in the south front of the west Quadrangle, was converted into a new Senate room according to designs by J C Gleave & Partners, to accommodate the increased number of Professors.


The drawings are arranged in the approximate chronological order in which they were drawn; from sketch and design drawings to contract drawings to working drawings: from small scale to large scale: and, within each scale, plan, section and elevation as appropriate. Drawings for the Principal's House, (BUL 6/2), the Professors' Houses (BUL 6/3), Bute Hall (BUL 6/4) and the West Wing and Chapel (BUL 6/5) have been catalogued as separate series. Within each series, sub-series have been used to designate different 'life' stages of the building, from preliminary proposals to later additions and alterations to an existing building by different architectural practices and engineering companies.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The individual drawings are in various states of repair. Those drawings requiring special care or attention are noted at the level of the individual item.

Related Material

Correspondence and papers 1839-1878. Royal Institute of British Architects Library Reference : ScGGS NRA 34242 Scott.

Architectural sketchbooks and drawings. Royal Institute of British Architects Library Reference: Drawings Collection see Cumulative Index to the Catalogue of the Drawings Collection (1989) 1847


Glasgow University Removal: Scott On Gilmorehill.A History Dissertation presented to Mackintosh School of Architecture by Stella A.M. MatkoApril 1985