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- Category: A
- Date Added: 15/12/1970
- Local Authority: Glasgow
- Planning Authority: Glasgow
- Burgh: Glasgow
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NS 59585 65229
- Coordinates: 259585, 665229
Thomas Rickman, architect, 1824-1826; Page and Park, conversion to theatre c1990-92. Gothic, cruciform plan church with tall 3-stage tower on S arm centred on axis of Candleriggs. Polished ashlar. Cill course; pointed arched openings with hoodmoulding and carved stops; carved apex finials to gables and pinacles. Long arms with tall symmetrical 2-3-2-light geometric traceried windows; dentiled cornice; crenallated and pinacled parapet. Gable walls, central 3-light lancet with traceried head flanked by strip pilasters rising to traceried pinnacles with conical capping; further narrow lancets. Clasping buttresses at angles rising to pinnacles. Simple lancets to rear.
TOWER: entrance at base, 2 narrow panelled doors with trumeau under pointed head in shafted reveals, crocketted mock gable above. Bold buttresses to tower stage with gablets, octagonal piers above rising to pinnacles. Blind arcading and sculpted bands, triple louvred lights to belfry stage, corbelled pierced balustrade.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: rubble-built.
INTERIOR (seen 2011): entrance hall with carved timber war memorial and plaster-vaulted ceiling. Side aisles removed to church 1886-1887; now open plan foyer with black box theatre auditorium to nave; ribbed plaster ceiling with geometric tiercerons. Stained glass by various artists, mostly of late 19th century (see NOTES). Vaulted crypt with some carved memorial panels to walls and floor.
Churchyard: Large well laid out churchyard with burial 'aisles' to NE of church consisting of ashlar walls with inset tombstones. Most tombstones of 19th-century date. Shallow ashlar and coped boundary walls to street with decorative cast-iron railings and gates; gabletted gatepiers with conical capping..
Statement of Special Interest
Place of worship no longer in use as such. The Ramshorn Theatre is an important early example of Scottish Gothic revival architecture. Its fine stonework detailing, including traceried lancet window and sculpted bands along with landmark tower make it a notable part of the streetscape which terminates a vista. This former church contains a good collection of stained glass depicting various stories from the Old and New Testament, many of which are by W and J J Kier of Glasgow. The later alteration to form part of the University of Strathclyde has retained the majority of the architectural detailing of the original church, particularly to the exterior.
Thomas Rickman was a self-taught architect who was renowned for Gothic detailing. In 1812 he designed a number of churches with John Cragg, a wealthy ironmaster with an interest in building. Their work includes St George's, Everton and St Michael's Toxteth, both in Liverpool. In 1817 he established his own architectural practice and in an effort to gain work entered a large number of competitions. He designed a number of domestic and public buildings all over England, such as Exhibition Room for the Birmingham Society of Artists (1829) and the New Court at St John's College, Cambridge (1827-31). He is best known for his church architecture and St David's Church is his only known work in Scotland.
Buildings of Scotland notes that Thomas Rickman provided 'Working Drawings with some alterations' on the basis of plans drawn up by James Cleland after a meeting with Rickman on the site.
The Church was sold by the Church of Scotland in February 1983 to the University of Strathclyde for £5. The Ramshorn Theatre opened in 1992 and it now functions (2011) as the University of Strathclyde Drama Centre and it is a performance space.
The origins of the university began in 1796 when Professor John Anderson left instructions in his will for the provision of an institution that was 'founded for the good of mankind and improvement in science'. By the 1890s this institution had developed rapidly and in 1903 built the Royal College building, George Street (see separate listing). The student population continued to grow, particularly following WWII and in the 1950s the area immediately to the N of the Royal College was developed to provide further facilities including a new engineering building, student union and chaplaincy centre. In 1964 the enlarged Royal College was granted the Royal Charter and became the University of Strathclyde. Keen to maintain a presence in city centre the renowned Modernist architect Robert Matthew drew up plans for the expansion of the campus to the E of the Royal College building, to provide additional buildings for science and technology disciplines as well as accommodation for the newly introduced arts and social sciences subjects. This original masterplan has been continually developed as land became available for the campus, following the demolition of tenements and other public and commercial buildings. The University has also acquired and adapted existing building adjacent to the campus for their use, such as the Barony Church and the Ramshorn Theatre (see separate listings).
List description and statutory address updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010 and the University of Strathclyde Review 2010-12.
1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1856-9); Williamson et al, The Buildings of Scotland - Glasgow (1990) p157-158. Ramshorn (1994), University of Strathclyde Archives D726.5094. H Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (1995) pp812-817. www.strath.ac.uk/culture/ramshorn/info (accessed 22 March 2010) Drawings of Ramshorn Theatre (Various Dates) University of Strathclyde Archives OS69/1/15. Information courtesy of owner including Ramshorn Theatre: Stained Glass Windows CD.
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