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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: B
  • Date Added: 04/09/1989


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

National Grid Reference

  • NGR: NS 59238 65027
  • Coordinates: 259238, 665027


James Monro and Son, 1929-31. Predominantly 5-storey, 7 bay by 13 bay Art Deco shop and warehouse on corner site, chamfered corner above ground floor resulting in tower effect, with rib-fluted and squat parapet detail. Ashlar cladding to steel frame (Portland stone?), red brick to rear elevation, channelled at 1st floor with rib-fluted band course above; ribbed cornice at ground floor, decorative cast-iron aprons to centre bays at 3rd and 4th floors. Regular fenestration. Modern shop fronts at ground.

ARGYLE STREET ELEVATION: arranged 1-5-1; narrow outer bays. Giant ribbed pilasters between 5 centre bays of 2nd floor upwards, with fluted course above blank frieze, all set within large moulded architrave and topped with blocking course.

VIRGINIA STREET ELEVATION: arranged 5-8. 5 bays to left: detailed as elevation to Argyle Street. 8 bays to right: 4 storey and dormered attic; wider outer bays; plain eaves course.

Predominantly plate glass glazing to metal casement windows. Concrete flat roof.

Statement of Special Interest

16-32 Argyle Street is a well-detailed example of a large inter-war retail store designed for Marks and Spencer. The building is prominently located on a corner site in the centre of Glasgow. Its exterior retains many good original Art Deco detailing such as the chamfered corner and parapet detailing creating a corner tower. 16-32 Argyle Street was constructed as part of this expansion to replace Marks and Spencer's nineteenth century premises at 32 Argyle Street. The design of the stores reflects Marks' new retail ideology through the use of large open floorspaces devoted to retail and large panes of plate glass to provide better light and display the goods for sale.

From the 1920s competition between variety retail stores increased with the growth of multiple shop branches throughout the Britain. Retailers were restricted from competing by price and therefore had to utilise the architecture and design of the store in attracting customers. In 1924 Simon Marks, Chairman of the Board, undertook a fact-finding trip to America in which he learnt the 'value of counter footage and how in the chain store operation, each foot of counter space had to pay wages, rent overhead expenses and profit' (Gregory). From 1926 to 1930 Marks and Spencer expanded rapidly; updating and extending 40 existing shops and opening 56 new stores, of which 16-32 Argyle was an example.

Marks and Spencer began as a partnership between Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1894. Spencer was a cashier at the Leeds wholesaler Issac Dewhurst who supplied Marks¿ chain of Penny Bazaar market stalls, the first of which was established in 1884 at Leeds Kirkgate Market. By 1903 Marks and Spencer Ltd was a registered firm, with a purpose built warehouse and headquarters in Manchester and a number of permenant shops. Michael Marks¿ son, Simon, became chairman of Board in 1915, controlling what had become a national chain of stores. Under his leadership the company continued to expand, increased exports and adopted a revolutionary policy of buying direct from the manufacturer in order to minimise costs but ensure quality.

The practice of J M Monro & Son began in 1893, when Charles Ernest Monro became a partner of his father¿s, James Milne Monro, private practice established in 1872. The practice concentrated on hotel and industrial work, including the Royal Hotel, Campbelltown (see separate listing). After James Milne Monro's death in 1921, the practice was chiefly involved in the design of department stores. Monro was responsible for all of the Marks and Spencer buildings in Scotland, including Paisley (1931) and Stirling (1934).

Previously listed as 18-30 (Even Nos) Argyle Street with 3 Virginia Street. List description and statutory address updated 2012.



Dean of Guild Plans 1929/540, The Mitchell Library, Glasgow. Post Office Glasgow Directory 1930-31. Monro and Partners Collection, Canmore ID 146296, RCAHMS. R Kenna, Glasgow Art Deco (1985) p 68. N Gregory 'Monro and Partners: Shopping in Scotland with Marks and Spencer', Architectural Heritage, XIV (2003), pp67-74. (accessed 3 May 2011). (accessed 3 May 2011).

About Designations

Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. 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.

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 planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. 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.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 21/11/2017 19:24