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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 15/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Glasgow
  • Planning Authority: Glasgow
  • Burgh: Glasgow

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNS 56796 66913
  • Coordinates256796, 666913


Circa 1845; S addition, Alexander Thomson (A and G Thomson), 1863-65; N addition (upper floor), Honeyman and Keppie, 1894-95; additions, Honeyman & Keppie, 1900; further work, Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh 1908; refurbished, 2005. Symmetrical 3-bay, 2-storey classical villa in style of David Hamilton. Polished ashlar.

MAIN BUILDING: E elevation: 3-bay with central advanced bay. Roll-moulded plinth. 3 ground floor windows arched, moulded over-arches on imposts. 1st floor cill band. Main cornice parapet, panelled to centre. Rear elevation: 4 windows, outer in advanced bays, 2 storeys over basement. Ground floor windows as main front with continuous impost in central bays. Plain 1st floor windows. Eaves cornice, parapet.

N ADDITION (remodelled, Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh): 3-bay, outer right bay breaking forward. Plinth. Sash and case windows in architraves, 6-pane upper sashes. Arched entrance in bay to outer left with geometrically glazed fanlight. Ground floor openings as main front, reduced. Aprons to 1st floor windows. Cornice, parapet. Detail repeated at rear elevation. N return elevation: 3-bay, central bay advanced. Blind arched niches in outer bays to ground floor. (Graduated relieving arch to ground floor centre window). Wallhead stacks linked by parapet. Further corniced wallhead stack to S return.

S ADDITION (A & G Thomson): single storey and basement. Roll-moulded graduated plinth forming cill band and pedestal. Tetrastyle Greek Ionic portico at head of steps (with die parapet walls). 2 wide bays to left of entrance, 2 narrow windows with aprons. S return elevation: pedimented, advanced gable with tripartite, anta mullioned window, aprons. Simple basement windows. Blank W wall with window in final bay. Rear elevation: pedimented, raised gable, breaking forward from 3-bay rear section with tripartite anta window and windows in single bay returns. Axial, independent flue stacks, linked at top.

INTERIOR: (seen 1988) original elaborate plasterwork with Greek detailing. Top lit, corniced entrance hall, anta pilastered, etched glass door to N section. Carved timber screen, elaborate cornice to SE room. Anta pillar screen, cornice to NE room.

Timber sash and case or T-pane casement windows. Grey slate roof; tall floriate incised chimneycans (Thomson).

Statement of Special Interest

Lilybank House is of outstanding interest as a unique example of a building altered by two of Scotland's premier architectural firms, A & G Thomson and Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh. The building exhibits fine work by both practices in two phases of extension to the N and S of the original house, which itself is an excellent example of a former residential villa.

Alexander Thomson (1817-1875) was a highly original architect whose early specialism in picturesque villas developed into a large and prolific practice producing all sorts of buildings, usually in distinctive neo-Greek or Egyptian styles. Famous Glasgow works include St Vincent Street Church of 1867, Egyptian Halls, Union Street, of 1870, and Grecian Buildings, Sauchiehall Street of 1867.

The firm of John Honeyman & Keppie undertook the works to convert the house to a hall of residence in 1894-95, including the addition of a storey to the N wing. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was involved with the minor works of 1908. Noted works by Mackintosh include the Glasgow School of Art, 1897-1909, Willow Tearooms, Sauchiehall Street, of 1903, and the Glasgow Herald Building (The Lighthouse), Mitchell Street, of 1895.

The villa was built for Robert Allen, a Glasgow merchant, probably around 1840. The 1858 Ordnance Survey Town Plan shows a rectangular-plan house with 2 parallel wings extending from the NE, probably forming a small service court. From 1857 the house was leased by John Blackie Jr (1805-73) of the publishing firm, Blackie & Son. Blackie bought the house in 1864. Both William Ewart Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, were entertained at the house during Blackie's period of office as Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1863 to 1866. By 1878 the house was occupied by John Burns MacBrayne, head of Bennett Browne & Co., insurance brokers. The building was altered to designs by Honeyman & Keppie to form a hall of residence for 25 women by Queen Margaret Hall Ltd in 1894. The University of Glasgow took over the hall on its merger with Queen Margaret College in 1923. The building has been in departmental use since the removal of Queen Margaret Hall to a new site at Bellshaugh Road in 1964.

Stencil decorations probably dating from 1865 were discovered in the Alexander Thomson wing of the building during refurbishment in 2005.

Formerly listed as '42 Bute Gardens, Lilybank House'.

List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building numbers are derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website



Ordnance Survey Town Plan 1858; Ordnance Survey Town Plan 1894; National Archives of Scotland, Court of Session processes, Carron Company versus David Ritchie, iron founder, of Lilybank House, Glasgow, 1856, Ref. CS228/C/29/8; Mitchell Library, Dean of Guild Collection, Ref. 1/3882; University of Glasgow Archives, Records of Queen Margaret Hall Ltd, 1894-1923, Ref. GB 248 DC 233/2/13 and architectural drawings, ref. BUL/6/25/1-5; J G Smith and J O Mitchell, The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, (1878); J MacLehose, Memoirs & Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, (1886) p.39; Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery, Mackintosh Collection, Honeyman & Keppie and Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh Job Books for 1895, 1900 and 1908, Refs. GLAHA 53061-3; A Gomme, D Walker, Architecture of Glasgow, (1968) p. 286; R McFadzean, The Life & Work of Alexander Thomson, (1979) pp. 166-169; C McKean, D Walker, F Walker, Central Glasgow: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Illustrated Architectural Guide, (1989) p. 186; E Williamson, A Riches, M Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, (1990) p. 352; G Stamp, Alexander Thomson: The Unknown Genius, (1999); Gordon R Urquhart, Along Great Western Road - An Illustrated History of Glasgow's West End, (2000), pp. 24-25; D Stark, Charles Rennie Mackintosh & Co, (2004) pp. 23-25; Gordon R Urquhart, Friends of Glasgow West - Hillhead Heritage Trail, (2008) Building No. 6; M Hansell, H Harris, M Reilly & G D Ruxton, Architectural Treasures of the University of Glasgow, (2009) p. 52; 'Lilybank House' search at (accessed 03-03-2010).

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, 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.

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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.

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