Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 58191 66096
258191, 666096


John McLeod, in association with N.S. Joseph, 1877-79. L-plan purpose built 2-storey and basement synagogue with richly detailed interior; mixture of Moorish, Classical and Romanesque styles; built on sloping site. Predominantly tooled squared snecked rubble; polished ashlar to projecting entrance bay to N elevation. Eaves cornice. Predominantly regular fenestration with chamfered margins; to N and S elevations, bipartite windows with stone mullions; to 1st floor, paired round-headed windows with dividing colonnettes, cill course and continuous hoodmould.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 6-bay elevation; projecting bay to far right. To 1st-4th bays from left, basement school. To advanced bay: steps leading to 2-leaf timber-panelled doors in opening with bracketed lintel; above, Hebrew inscription (see Notes) and rose window flanked by richly carved spandrels; overarching giant compound arch with nook shafts with stylised Ionic capitals, surmounted by decorative grotesque panels and patterned and roll moulded archivaults. Above arch, 2 carved roundels; corbelled blind parapet with cusped decoration; recessed Star of David panel; ornately corniced gable end with apex acroterion. Flanking arch, pilasters rising to colonnetted and niched finials with pedimented, domed caps. 2-bay elevation to E flank of advanced bay; for W flank, see W elevation.

E ELEVATION: to centre, canted apse with glazed domed roof, flanked by roundels. To basement: window to left of apse; timber door and window to apse; to right, single storey sukkah (built 1903) with monopitch corrugated metal roof.

S ELEVATION: 6-bay elevation. To far left bay, to 1st floor, tripartite window with cills breaking into ground floor level.

W ELEVATION: 7-bay, plain, irregularly fenestrated elevation; to 1st floor paired, round-headed windows to 1st, 2nd and 5th bays from left.

GLAZING etc: to ground and 1st floors, predominantly stained glass in timber frames (see below); to basement, predominantly 6-pane timber sash and case windows. Pitched roof; graded slate; stone skews; octagonal lead and timber louvred ventilator to ridge. Gablehead stack to E elevation; wallhead stack to S elevation; 2 wallhead stacks to N elevation; ridge stack to advanced bay to N elevation; all stacks corniced. Cast iron rainwater goods.

GATEPIERS, RAILINGS AND WALLS: to N: square-plan stop-chamfered gatepiers with carved roundels and semi-pyramidal caps supporting cast-iron lamp standards; ornate wrought iron gates and railings on ashlar dwarf wall. To remainder of boundary, mixture of brick walling and snecked rubble walling, with predominantly flat copes to both types.

INTERIOR: to entrance hall and inner hall, geometric and encaustic tiled floor, lozenge-patterned timber wall panelling to dado height, several marble memorial tablets to upper walls, good plasterwork including cornice and ornate strapwork ceiling (Star of David pattern to inner hall), between entrance hall and inner hall, 2-leaf carved timber and glazed doors in opening framed by columns with ornate surround and cusped fanlight. Double-return staircase with timber balusters and newels surmounted by brass lamp poles; large stained glass window above half-landing. To room above entrance hall (original Vestry), good plasterwork and stained glass windows (some partly replaced). To prayer hall: good ornate plasterwork; good stained glass memorial windows throughout, carved timber pews, predominantly original light fittings including the Ner Tamid (everlasting light) suspended above Holy Ark; apsidal E end with glazed cupola (see Notes) above, ornate Holy Ark (Aron Kodesh) set within apse; in front of apse, marble steps and pulpit of various coloured marbles; stencilled decoration to walls flanking apse; to centre of hall, carved oak bimah (raised platform) with reader's desk; U-plan ladies gallery, fronted by ornate bellied cast-iron railings and supported by stylised Ionic columns, to W end of gallery, ornate cast-iron railings surrounding choir gallery with segmental window above (see Notes), gallery arcaded with hexagonal columns and stiff leaf capitals supporting round-headed arches; barrel vaulted, compartmented ceiling.

Statement of Special Interest

Garnethill is of great architectural and historical significance as the first purpose built synagogue in Scotland. It also has extensive high quality stained glass windows featuring richly coloured floral patterns predominantly executed by JB Bennett and Sons. The mainly unaltered interior furniture and decorative elements further distinguish this building.

The Jewish community in Glasgow was established in the 1820s, and slowly grew to be the biggest Jewish community in Scotland by the turn of the century. During the early days of the community, Sabbaths and Holidays were celebrated in a small rented room in the High Street. A formal congregation was established not long after 1829, and found a home for their synagogue in the Old Post Office Court, Trongate. Following further moves to a room in Anderson's College (abandoned because of its proximity to the dissection room) and a top floor flat in Howard Street, in 1852 a building on the corner of George Street and John Street was purchased for £1700. Following £800 worth of alterations, the new synagogue was consecrated in 1857. However, only 18 years later, this synagogue was becoming crowded, and the decision was taken to build a new synagogue with school attached.

In November 1875, the site on the corner of Hill Street and Garnet Street (then known as Thistle Street) was selected and bought for £3,500. The site was cleared and on 17 March 1877 the plans were approved. The architect was John McLeod, who consulted N.S.Joseph, a Jewish architect based in London and well known for his synagogue designs including the Bayswater Synagogue. The foundation stone was laid in March 1877 and the completed building was consecrated by Rabbi Dr Hermann Adler on the 9th of September 1879. The total cost of ground and buildings came to almost £14,000.

The basement accommodation initially comprised schoolrooms, keeper's house, lavatories and bathrooms etc. Above, in the main hall, the original seating provides for 362 men and 218 women in the Ladies' gallery. A vestry (now the home of the Scottish Jewish Archives) was situated above the entrance hall. The marble pulpit was installed in 1896. The glazed cupola above the apse contains stained glass panes on which are written the first two Hebrew words of each of the Ten Commandments. The segmental stained glass window above the choir gallery was brought from the congregation's former synagogue on George Street. The carved Hebrew inscription above the main Hill Street doorway is Deuteronomy Ch. 32, V.12, and the numerical value of the Hebrew letters in this verse add up to the date of the foundation of the building.

Repairs and restoration to Garnethill Synagogue took place in 1998, partly funded by a grant from Historic Scotland.

Garenthill Synagogue was upgraded from B to A in 2004.



REFERENCES: OS Maps: 1864, 1899. A SOUVENIR OF THE JUBILEE OF THE GANRETHILL SYNAGOGUE, (1929). C. McKean, D. Walker, F. Walker, RIAS GUIDE: CENTRAL GLASGOW, (1989), p147. E.Williams, A. Riches., M. Higgs, BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: GLASGOW, (1990), p64, p264. Dr K. Collins, SCOTLAND,S JEWS, (1999), pp5-20. Additional information courtesy of Garnethill Synagogue.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to 129 HILL STREET AND 29 GARNET STREET, HILL STREET SYNAGOGUE

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 04/03/2024 02:11