Walk: Hillhead Tenements

Hillhead provides an opportunity to see the variety of Glasgow’s traditional tenement housing. Typically characterised by its sandstone finish and uniform 4 storey height this walk will show that there is more going on within the housing than at first glance.

Exit Hillhead Station, at this point you will see a variety of tenement blocks with commercial function at ground floor [28]. This is a characteristic of the main thoroughfares throughout the inner city. Cross Byres Road onto Ruthven Street, you will see that immediately the retail units are replaced by ground floor flats with small front gardens [29]. On the left side of the street the bay windows are typical angled [30] while on the right the windows are rounded (or bow) [31]. You can also see a material change on the blocks on the left from Blond Sandstone to Red [32]. Blocks were typically built 3 or 4 at a time so variations along a single street are common.

At the end of the street carry on walking up Bowmont Terrace. Here we can see the addition of a basement space [33] and the blocks, while visually very similar, have become larger Townhouses [34], which face onto a private green [35]. Walk round the green onto Athole Gardens, the blocks arc round the green [36] and are stepped [37] back down the hill. As you reach the corner of Saltoun Street and Roxburgh Street you will see a stand alone block. This is the tenement block featured in Avril Paton’s painting ‘Windows on the West’ [38]. This block is unusual in the sense it has two rounded bays, one at each corner, with a squared bay in the middle of the block. Roxburgh Lane is a typical example of a tenement lane [39], while on your left is a makeshift timber extension [40] at first floor level. Turn right onto Observatory Road to see the last of the block variations: oriel windows [41] on the smaller townhouse blocks and the larger blocks at the end of the street.

Lastly, visit the Botanic Gardens Garage [42] on Vinicombe Street, built 1896-1912, its Art Deco appearance pre-dates the movements 1920’s origin. It is also thought to be one of the first multi-storey car parks in the world. After, for some respite we suggest a drink in the Ubiquitous Chip [43] on Ashton Lane.


Pub Stop: Ubiquitous Chip

‘The Chip’ is housed within an old undertaker’s stable building, its walls decorated with Alasdair Gray murals which he painted in exchange for free meals. The building is an interesting collection of spaces consisting of a number of intimate bar areas, a roof terrace as well as a grander double-height restaurant space.