Additions and alterations to 233 St Vincent Street

M159 Additions and alterations to 233 St Vincent Street

Address: 233, St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5QY
Date: 1898–1900
Client: H. L. Anderson & Co.
Authorship: Authorship category 2 (Mackintosh and Office) (Mackintosh and Office)

233 St Vincent Street was built c. 1825 as a terraced house. It formed part of the development of the Blythswood estate as a spacious 'new town', W. of Glasgow's crowded city centre. In the later 19th century, as residents moved from Blythswood to the developing West End and southern suburbs, the house was converted for commercial use. 1

Rear addition

In 1896 John Honeyman & Keppie were commissioned to design a three-storey addition at the rear for H. L. Anderson & Co., house-painters, gilders and paper-hangers. The addition was demolished in 1988–9, but the drawings submitted to the Glasgow Dean of Guild Court record its appearance. Due to the slope of the site, its two lower floors were at the same level as the sub-basement and basement of the existing house. They accommodated a paper store and what was probably a workshop. The top floor of the addition, at the same level as the ground floor of the house, contained two offices and a large, top-lit room with open roof timbers. Described on the drawings as a 'saloon', this was probably the company showroom.

The partly-glazed roof of the 'saloon' had two impressive trusses with arch-bracing and tapering king-posts incorporating unusual disc ornaments. Though distinctive, these were less unconventional than contemporary trusses designed by Mackintosh for the Glasgow School of Art museum. 2 Two simpler triangular trusses, again with disc ornaments, supported the glazed corridor roof between the second floor of the addition and the ground floor of the house.

Colour photograph of large roof truss

Changes to the house

As well as designing the addition, John Honeyman & Keppie installed a new door at the main entrance on St Vincent Street, and fitted the hall with new doors, decorative woodwork, and a plaster-cast frieze of part of the Elgin Marbles. Many of these features appear to have survived although not in their original locations. They also decorated the ceiling, presumably to showcase the kind of work undertaken by H. L. Anderson & Co. The front door and internal doors are similar in design and date to those at Ferndean, Barrhead. The forms of the doors and the 'S' curves of the deep wall panelling suggest the work of Mackintosh. The main stair newel post was carved with delicate low-relief designs recalling work of the mid-1890s by The Four.

Colour photograph of front doorway at 233 St Vincent StreetColour photograph of detail of door panelsColour photograph of newel post from hall at 233 St Vincent Street  (on display at Queen's Cross Church)

Later history

In 1988–9, 231 and 233 St Vincent Street were redeveloped for James Williamson & Partners and Life Association of Scotland Ltd. John Honeyman & Keppie's building was demolished. 3 Measured drawings of 233 made prior to the demolition show the two pairs of roof trusses, wall panelling, plaster-cast frieze and painted ceiling, presumably in their original locations. 4

During the redevelopment the roof trusses were removed from the building and displayed at the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival before being reinstalled in the new building. 5 The stair newel post was removed and is now displayed in the hall at Queen's Cross Church. Honeyman & Keppie's front door has remained in situ while the hall woodwork, frieze and ceiling decoration have been fitted in an apparently new configuration in the now stairless reception hall. An internal vestibule with details in keeping with John Honeyman & Keppie's panelling has been installed at the front door.

Colour photograph of hall panelling and friezeColour photograph of panelling and fireplaceColour photograph of detail of panelling


1: Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs, Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, London: Penguin, 1990, pp. 236–7.

2: Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, 19, Summer 1978, p. 5; Roger Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings and Interior Designs, Moffat, Dumfriesshire: Cameron & Hollis, 4th edn, 2009, p. 69.

3: Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs, Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, London: Penguin, 1990, p. 237; Historic Scotland, listed building report HB 33149; RCAHMS, Edinburgh: DC 18071–80.

4: Melvin J. Gillespie, '233 St Vincent Street. An interior by Charles Rennie Mackintosh', unpublished student project, 1987. This document was drawn to our attention by Stuart Robertson of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society.

5: Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, 55, Spring 1991, p. 3.