William Young, architect, 1882-1888, interior 1887-1890. Contractors, Morrison and Mason. Sculpture by John Mossman and George Lawson. An emphatic statement of Civic pride and prosperity the City Chambers occupies the whole block site between George Square and John Street, its 4 facades all equally opulent in detail. Their style is eclectic, mainly rich Italianate with Roman and Venetian references, and some Flemish overtones. In 1912 Watson and Salmond built a large extension to the E linked by pairs of archways across John Street (see separate item). Each elevation is faced in light polished ashlar now stonecleaned, Polmaise and Unmore stone fronting a fireproof framework
of brick, iron, steel and concrete. Polished pink granite basecourse, ashlar all rusticated at ground and 1st. 4-storeys and attics, end bays advanced and taller, finished with cupola, 4-stage tower to centre W.
MAIN (W) ELEVATION: 1-3-5-3-1 bay pattern with end and centre 5 bays advanced. Central 3 bays project further with 3 tiers of paired Ionic columns supporting entablature and balustraded balcony at 2nd and 3rd, pediment over 3rd. 3 tall round-arched keystoned doorways. Central door taller, all with pilastered reveals, moulded archivolt and elaborate carved spandrels, decorative wrought iron outer gates. End bays have tripartite pilastered windows to ground and 1st floors, flanked by giant Ionic pilasters supporting round arched pediment which breaks through 2nd floor cills. Intermediate bays have single light pilastered windows. 2nd floor (the main public and committee rooms) has almost continuous row of Venetian windows flanked by paired Corinthian columns, pilasters at end bays, elaborately carved spandrels. 3rd floor, centre and end bays again with Venetians, intermediate bays with small single windows almost hidden behind balustrated balcony. All windows with multi-pane glazing. Cornice over ground, die balustrade balcony to 2nd and 3rd floor cills, at 3rd supporting bronze statues.
Pediment to centre 3 bays, tympanum densely populated with sculpture representing Queen Victoria and personifications of the United Kingdom receiving the world's homage. Pediment flanked by square section cupolas with domes. To end bays sculptured figures at angles, octagonal tempiettos. Intermediate bays have mutuled eaves cornice with balustraded parapet. Slate roofs, tall corniced axial stacks.
GEORGE STREET (N) ELEVATION: symmetrical layout, 1-3-3-3-1 baying pattern, end and centre 3 bays advanced and taller, intermediate bays with simpler single light windows. Masonry and detailing (especially end bays) similar to main facade. Centre 3 bays advanced (to give prominence to their function as banqueting halls) with giant Venetians to 2nd, elaborate carvings fill spandrels. Each giant Venetian is flanked by full height paired fluted Corinthian columns supporting projecting individual entablature with statue groups. 3rd floor windows single light recessed behind balustrade.
COCHRANE STREET (S) ELEVATION: 1-4-5-4-1 baying pattern. Masonry and details similar to main facade. 2nd floor windows in pedimented aedicules, centre 5 bays advanced with round-arched pend entrance to centre with elaborate wrought-iron gates and coffered ceiling. Above rise paired partly fluted giant Corinthian columns in antis flanking tripartite window. 3rd floor as main facade with oculi to centre. Panelled parapet to centre flanked by square section domed cupola.
JOHN STREET (E) ELEVATION: 1-4-5-4-1 baying pattern with Watson and Salmond's paired archways adjoining at penultimate bays. Details simplified, to 3rd floor small "attic" windows flanked by giant fluted consoles. Pediment over centre 3 bays.
TOWER: 3-stage square section tower centrally placed behind main pediment. Banded lower stage, arcaded above 1st, pedimented aedicule to 3rd. Above rises colonnaded lantern and dome with gilded weather vane.
INTERIOR: richly and elaborately detailed in the finest materials. The main hall or loggia has ceramic mosaic floor and vaults. Large stone doorcases give access to lower rooms, those to the staircases flanked by Mossman caryatids. Most elaborate is the stair to the Banqueting Hall using polychrome Brescia and black Irish marble and Numidian mosaics to the vaults. The Banqueting Hall (to the N) is a barrel vaulted double height room, decoration designed by Leiper with murals by the "Glasgow Boys", Walton, Lavery, Henry and Roche. The decoration of the other rooms is hardly less opulent, the Council Chamber being the least ornate, with more sober mahogany panelling, a frieze of Tynecastle Tapestry and gilded ceiling with central dome.
Wylie and Lochead were responsible for much interior work, Stephen Adam for the glass. Sculptors were Mossman, Lawson, Farmer and Brindley, Charles Grassey and Edward Good. Ironwork was by George Adam.
4 LAMP BRACKETS TO GEORGE SQUARE: 4 ornate cast-iron lamp
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shep-dec2011.pdf, Annex 2, pp74-76.
The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.
Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.
Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.
Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.
Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.