IT IS now recognised as one of Glasgow’s finest buildings – but the city’s School Board gave its famous architect a sharp rap on the knuckles when he submitted his final plans.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh got a bit of a row when he ‘added some creative flourishes’ to his original ideas for Scotland Street School, according to a letter which has resurfaced in Glasgow City Archives.
“It seems true that Mackintosh had definite ideas and may have been difficult to work with,” smiles archivist Michael Gallagher. “In the letter, they state they have ‘no desire for controversy but the attitude taken by Mr Mackintosh in his interview with the committee and in his letter…leaves us no alternative’, and called the architect’s embellishes, ‘absolutely objectionable from the point of view of school working’.”
Not all of the esteemed designer’s ideas were treated with disdain – his proposal to run the hot water pipes through the area where children hung up their coats so that they would be warm and dry by the end of the day, was a stroke of genius.
While libraries remain closed, Michael and his colleagues, senior archivist Dr Irene O’Brien, Lynsey Green, Nerys Tunnicliffe and Barbara Neilson, are running Ask the Archivist, which gives people the chance to ask questions about the city collections. More details are available on the Glasgow City Archives Facebook page.
The Mackintosh collection includes fascinating facts about his family. His father, William, served in the Glasgow Police Force from 1858 and 1899 (he was part of the tug of war team) and his mother, Margaret Rennie, was from Ayr.
William died in 1908, leaving an estate worth £482 – almost £50,000 today – including furniture worth £123 and 50 shares in Rangers Football Club, bought in 1899.
Mackintosh’s Glasgow buildings, like Scotland Street School and Glasgow School of Art, are well-known, of course. But here are nine less well-known city spots connected to the famous designer and his family.
70 Parson Street, Townhead : Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born here. One of his earliest works, Martyrs’ Public School, was on this street, a lasting legacy for the area of his birth.
2 Firpark Terrace, Dennistoun: Charles’s family home from the 1870s until the early 1880s
120 Mains Street: Newly-wed Charles and Margaret Macdonald lived in this city centre flat from 1900 to 1906.
94 Glebe Street, Townhead: Charles’s grandparents Hugh and Marjory lived here in the 1850s and 1860s.
121 Great Hamilton Street: Margaret Rennie lived here in 1862
Holmwood, 82 Langside Avenue: Charles’s father William lived here in the 1890s
208 Garngadhill: Hugh, Charles’s grandfather, lived here in 1872.
2/27 Regent Park Square, Strathbungo: William McIntosh lived at these addresses with his second wife, Christina Forrest, in the latter part of his life.
78 Ann St (aka Southpark Avenue/Florentine Terrace) Hillhead: Charles and Margaret lived here from 1906 until 1914, their last home in Glasgow. The couple made extensive alterations to the property, which forms the basis for the Mackintosh House at Glasgow University. They moved to England and spent time in France. Charles died in London in 1928 and Margaret in 1933.