Anderson's College Medical School

M003 Anderson's College Medical School

Address: Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6NU
Date: 1888–90; 1895–6
Client: Anderson's College Medical School governors
Authorship: Authorship category 4 (Office) (Office)

Photograph of lithograph of E. elevation

John Keppie joined John Honeyman in partnership in late October or early November 1888 following the death of James Sellars, Keppie's employer, on 9 October. Designs for Anderson's College Medical School had already been drawn up by Keppie under Sellars's supervision and thus predate Mackintosh's arrival at John Honeyman & Keppie. 1 With the consent of the governors of the Medical School, and Sellars's business partner, Campbell Douglas, John Honeyman & Keppie continued with the job and submitted the same drawings to the Glasgow Dean of Guild Court in late November 1888. On several drawings the signature and address of Campbell Douglas & Sellars and the original date of April 1888 have been crossed out or erased. The transition of the work from Sellars to John Honeyman & Keppie is recorded on the N. elevation of the building: at the junction of gable and chimney are carved 'JS' on the left and 'H&K' on the right. Building work on site had commenced by January 1889. 2

Colour photograph of carved initials on N. elevation 'JS'Colour photograph of carved initials on N. elevation 'H&K'

Keppie designed an Italo-Scots Renaissance-detailed building. Its E. elevation, now obscured by neighbouring buildings, has a palazzo-like form and shares the style of other contemporary educational buildings in Glasgow, such as H. & D. Barclay's Annette Street School in Govanhill (1886). 3 The disposition of the windows says little about the spaces behind them; rather it reveals Keppie's training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Keppie belonged to a group of architects in Glasgow who designed in the style of French and Italian Renaissance and Baroque, as well as Scots Baronial, architecture. Among other architects who followed this path were Keppie's former employer, James Sellars, and H. & D. Barclay; Sellars was articled to Hugh Barclay at the age of 13. 4 Unmistakable Italianate influences are seen in several Honeyman & Keppie works of the early and mid 1890s, such as offices for Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering and Craigie Hall.

The Medical School provides a striking contrast to the medical building designed by John Honeyman & Keppie for Queen Margaret College in 1894–5, on which Mackintosh worked.

Inside, the ground and first floors contained stepped lecture theatres, labs, study rooms and 'museums' for several subject areas. A library and reading room and a smoking room were also included on the first floor. The second floor accommodated a large dissection room, a further dissection and preparation room, and a 'bone room' (in addition to an anatomy museum on the first floor). All these spaces were top lit by glazed panels in the pitched and hipped roofs. The basement provided spaces for services, stores, and rooms for the preparation of teaching materials – including, importantly, an 'interment room' and a 'macerating room' for instruction in anatomy. A hoist supplied by A. & P. Steven allowed items to be conveyed between all floors of the building.

The perfunctory drawings submitted to the Dean of Guild Court suggest a simple and utilitarian interior. The raked lecture theatres were to be panelled with narrow, vertical matchboard. A similar approach was taken in classrooms at other educational institutions of the period, including Queen Margaret College and Scotland Street School. It seems likely that there were regulations on the interior decoration of such buildings, probably set down by the Scotch Education Department.

John Honeyman & Keppie redecorated the Medical School in 1895–6. While it seems unlikely that Mackintosh was involved in the original design of the building, he may have contributed to this later scheme. Subsequent additions and remodelling to suit the purposes of later inhabitants of the building have removed all trace of the original scheme and later alterations to it by John Honeyman & Keppie.

There is a large semicircular narrative relief sculpture by James Pittendrigh Macgillivray on the S. elevation. It has been suggested that it depicts the 16th-century physician Peter Lowe, who founded the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. There are also two winged figures by the same sculptor below the large window on the E. elevation. 5 Architectural details such as capitals, corbels and niches were carved by R. A. McGilvray & Ferris. The gate piers in the boundary wall are capped with pyramids set on spheres with Jacobean strapwork decoration. 6

Notes:

1: Glasgow University Archive Services: Anderson's College Medical School minutes, DC 244/1/4, 9 October 1888; 26 October 1888; 12 November 1888.

2: University of Glasgow Archive Services: Anderson's College Medical School minutes, GB0248 DC244/1/4, 9 October 1888; 26 October 1888; 12 November 1888; 'Campbell Douglas', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 12 April 2011].

3: Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs, Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, London: Penguin, 1990, p. 342 and pl. 84.

4: 'H. & D. Barclay', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 9 March 2011]; 'Campbell Douglas', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 12 April 2011]; 'James Sellars', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 12 April 2011].

5: Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002, pp. 90–1.

6: This type of gate pier was described by Mackintosh in his 1892 lecture on architecture (Pamela Robertson, ed., Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Architectural Papers, Wendlebury, Oxon: White Cockade in association with the Hunterian Art Gallery, 1990, p. 196), and can be seen later at Redlands, Bridge of Weir, begun in 1898.