St Enoch

St Enoch
Walk: Riverside Architecture + Public Art

The old Subway Station at St Enoch Square [1] was the showpiece of the original line. At the time it would have been dwarfed by a huge mainline train station where St Enoch shopping centre now stands although this small, charming building demanded equal attention. Built for the subway opening by James Miller, a prominent railway architect, in a late Victorian, Jacobean style it is richly decorated in stone carvings inspired from Germany and Belgium.

From here walk south (towards the river) and turn left onto Fox Street to take you to St Andrew’s Cathedral [2]. Built as a chapel in 1817 by James Gillespie, it was upgraded to a Cathedral in 1887 and at the time was the largest R.C. Cathedral in Britain. This stunning Gothic Revival style building has recently been refurbished and extended by Glasgow architects Page / Park. The beautiful new, granite cladcloister is home to a sculpture commemorating the S.S.Arandora Star, a Clydebuilt ship carrying Italian prisoners of war which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1940. The cloister also contains a 200 year old olive tree gifted to the church by the people of Tuscany.

At the corner of Maxwell Street and Clyde Street is Graphical House [3], a 1970’s office block that housed The Graphical, Paper and Media Union (GPMU) between 1992 and 2005 before it eventually became part of Unite the Union in 2007. Turning back towards the river and walking West along the bank there is the interesting La Passionaria [4] sculpture in remembrance of the 65 Glaswegians who took part in and died in the Spanish Civil War. Behind this Sculpture, on Clyde Street, is the former Customs House [5].

The Clyde boasts practically every type of engineered bridge over a 150 year history and at this point there are views to a number of these Clyde Bridges [7]. Standing on Glasgow Bridge, which adjoins Jamaica Street, looking east back down the river is the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge. Beyond this you will see Victoria Bridge, the Clyde’s oldest, built in 1854 on the site of the first bridge over the Clyde dating back to 1285. For more information the Clyde Bridges Heritage Trail is a great way to spend a ‘sunny’ afternoon.

To the west is the Second Caledonian Rail Bridge, this connects Glasgow to the South. In the shadow of this bridge are the disused columns of the First Caledonian Railway Bridge which contain a work by Ian Hamilton Finlay, a renowned Scottish poet and artist, 1925-2006. ‘All Greatness Stands Firm in the Storm’ [6], the engravings in the granite columns are derived from a phrase from Plato’s Republic and combines Hamilton’s interest in classical tradition in contemporary culture as well as the combination of image and words into a single piece. He would have been drawn to
the grandeur of these columns and the work can either be read as an ironic statement about the decline of Glasgow’s industry and Britain’s Empire or a celebration of the columns’ permanence.

To the south of the Clyde, along Bridge Street, is The Laurieston [10]. Or, staying in the St Enoch area, MacSorleys Bar [8] and the Arches Bar [9] are both good places to stop for food and a drink. The Arches Bar occupies the railway arches underneath central station – enter under the bridge on Argyle Street.