Alterations to 229–233 Sauchiehall Street

M251 Alterations to 229–233 Sauchiehall Street

Address: 229–233, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3EX
Date: 1904–5
Client: Henry & Carruthers per J. H. Carruthers
Authorship: Authorship category 3 (Office with Mackintosh) (Office with Mackintosh)

Photograph of  229-233 Sauchiehall Street

233 Sauchiehall Street occupies the E. corner of the junction with Mains Street, now (2013) known as Blythswood Street. It stands at one end of a larger block, erected c. 1865 and known originally as Kensington Place, which extends E. as far as West Campbell Street. Its yellowish sandstone ashlar facade, now partly painted, has shallow square bay windows to the upper floors. The Willow Tea Rooms at 217 is in the same block, and the completion of Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh's work there in October 1903 may have led Henry & Carruthers to employ the same architects to alter their own shop the following year. The whole block was the property of the Henderson Trustees, who are named as clients in the job book (via their solicitors, Macdonald Smith & Co.). As with the Willow Tea Rooms, however, it was the lessees who paid for the work, and who therefore presumably selected the architects.

The alterations involved removing the ground floor of the two street facades and introducing cast-iron columns and beams to support the upper floors, allowing the installation of a shopfront with large display windows. Two first-floor windows were also opened up, but most of the changes were internal, including a staircase leading to new fitting rooms on the first floor. Shortly after these works, some minor internal alterations were made to the two neighbouring properties in Mains Street. These included a connecting doorway at first-floor level, fitted with fire-proof iron doors (a very small alteration to an unidentified shop in Mains Street, which Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh carried out in August 1904 and which is noted on the same job-book page, may have been for the same address). 1

The job-book entry is written entirely in Mackintosh's hand, and one of the drawings approved by the Glasgow Dean of Guild Court is signed by him. However, apart from the Dean of Guild plans, no visual record of the project has come to light and there is insufficient visual evidence to say whether Mackintosh was responsible for the design. The shopfront does not survive, and the drawings show only its general outlines: thin, widely-spaced timber mullions separating large areas of plate glass, and a fascia crowned with a cornice. Today the building has a shopfront of polished grey granite, which appears to date from 20–30 years after the one designed for Henry & Carruthers.

The partnership of A. L. Henry and William Carruthers was short-lived: their shop was listed for the first time in the Glasgow Post Office Directory for 1905–6, and for the second and last time in the 1906–7 edition. The alterations were paid for 'per J. H. Carruthers, Esq.' 2 This was probably John H. Carruthers, mechanical engineer and founder of the successful steam pump manufacturing firm J. H. Carruthers & Co. Ltd, whose son William, aged 21, is listed as a 'draper's assistant' in the 1901 census. 3

Notes:

1: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh job book, GLAHA 53062, p. 80.

2: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh job book, GLAHA 53062, p. 80.

3: John R. Hume, Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow, Glasgow and London: Blackie, 1974, pp. 252–3; 1901 Census, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 22 March 2013].