James Sellars, 1873-77, interior reconstructed. Sculpture by John Mossman at 1st floor. WIlliam Mossman at ground floor. Schinkelesque Greek classical halls. 4 storeys, 24 bays to Granville Street and 3 return bays to Berkeley Street and Kent Road. Symmetrical polished ashlar, banded at ground floor. Central 3-bay entrance with continuous
lugged projecting architraved doorpiece with paterae surround and stylised anthemion acroters; 2 atlantes in antis and sculpted relieving pilasters; 3 doorways with outer panelled doors and carved timber fanlights; pilastered, corniced vestibule with anthemion frieze.
4 bold, full-height dividing piers. Plinth, recessed in central bays to form podium for cast-iron lamp standards. Ground floor breaking forward to form giant pedestals for 4 sculpted figure groups; plain ground floor windows in deep embrasures, plain ground floor entablature with projecting cornice.
1ST AND FLOOR: giant order of Greek Ionic fluted columns across full-width arranged 5-9-5 bays with anthemion detail to necking and plain entablature, divided by outer and central spacings bays; central bays deeply recessed; 19 pilastered windows at 1st floor with paterae, 2nd graduated panels framing sculpted anthemia; plain entablature with cornice.
ATTIC: blank central bays with plain full-height parapet, 5-bay raised outer sections with 4 caryatids in antis and coupled pilasters to each bay framing freize with sculpted relief lettering: northern bays: RAPHAEL- WATT- M-ANGELO- NEWTON- FLAXMAN, southern: PURCELL- BACH- HANDEL- MOZART- BEETHOVEN plain entablature; cornice.
RETURNS BAYS TO BERKELEY STREET AND KENT ROAD: low margined entry; dwarf pilastered side entrance with relieving internal pilasters. 3 pilastered 1st floor windows 2 panels above repeating main elevation; 3 attic windows with glazing bars.
Statement of Special Interest
Built in 1873-7 as the St Andrew's Halls at a cost of £80,000, this monumental neo-Greek building is an outstanding example of its type. It is also notable for its sculpture by the renowned sculptors, John and William Mossman. It forms a major part of the streetscape.
Cunningham of Liverpool took the design to sketch-plan stage, however, the degree to which his scheme influenced the final design by James Sellars is not known.
The building was bought by the Corporation of the City of Glasgow in 1889. It was gutted by fire in November 1962 and the interior of the front part was remodelled in 1972-80 by Sir Frank Mears and Partners to house the Mitchell Theatre. The rear was rebuilt and absorbed into the neighbouring Mitchell Library (see separate listing).
References from previous list description: B A Jan 2nd 1880. Doak (ed) 1977 No 89. Gomme and Walker, 1968 pp 155-6, 285.
List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.