Glasgow Cross

Glasgow Cross is at the hub of the ancient royal burgh and now city of Glasgow, Scotland, close to its first crossing over the River Clyde.[1] As a major junction in the city centre, its five streets run: north up the High Street to Glasgow Cathedral, Cathedral Square and the Royal Infirmary; east along Gallowgate and London Road, close to St Andrew's Square; south on the Saltmarket to Glasgow Green and the High Court;[2] and its own Trongate continuing west as Argyle Street towards St Enoch Square and Buchanan Street.

Glasgow Cross
Glasgow. Glasgow Cross. Postcard, c. 1910.jpg
Glasgow Cross looking west along Trongate in the 1900s
Coordinates55°51′24″N 4°14′38″W / 55.85659°N 4.24379°W / 55.85659; -4.24379
Roads at
High Street
London Road
TypeSignal-controlled intersection

Its most recognisable features are the Tolbooth Steeple, part of the 17th century tolbooth, and the mercat cross replica commissioned in 1929 by William George Black, and designed by architect Edith Hughes.[3][4] In its civic and commercial make-up, many of the surrounding wholesale and manufacturing warehouses now operate as creative venues, galleries and art studios.

Linked to the Tolbooth stood the Tontine Hotel and its Assembly Rooms, designed from 1737 by architect Allan Dreghorn[5] with adaptations in 1781 by architect William Hamilton of St Andrew`s Square. The Tontine was the exchange centre of early mercantile business and the focal point of political and social gatherings. A number of artist paintings over the centuries depict Glasgow Cross, the Tolbooth and Tontine.[6][7] In front of the Tontine was placed the equestrian statue of King William III, erected in 1734; now sited at Cathedral Square.[8][9]

Glasgow Cross, in front of the Tontine, was the starting point of the regular passenger and mail coaches to Edinburgh and to London.

Tolbooth SteepleEdit

Tolbooth Steeple at Glasgow Cross

Standing at the foot of High Street is the Tolbooth Steeple, built in 1626 at what was the meeting point of the main streets of Glasgow at that time. The Steeple is all that remains of the original Tolbooth buildings[10] which contained the town hall, court and jail. The Tolbooth housed the Glasgow Council Chambers until 1814, when the council sold the Tolbooth building (later demolished in 1921) and moved to Jail Square in the Saltmarket, before eventually moving to the current City Chambers in George Square. The 126-foot-tall (38-metre) steeple, complete with clock mechanism, was repaired in 2008 after cracks were discovered in the structure, along with masonry, lead and guttering improvements. Along with the nearby Tron Theatre, formerly the Tron Kirk built in 1794,[11] the Tolbooth Steeple is one of the oldest buildings in the city.

Glasgow Cross with Tolbooth Steeple and Mercat Cross.
Tontine Buildings, Tolbooth, Steeple and King William equestrian statue at Glasgow Cross, 1868 photograph by Thomas Annan
Mercat Cross and Mercat Building at Glasgow Cross

The presently disused Glasgow Cross railway station sits beneath the junction.

On the 4th June 2021, a night time light projection onto the Tolbooth Steeple was installed, under the ‘Climate Clock’ initiative. The projected Deadline and Lifeline statistics count the time window before 1.5 °C warming is inevitable, and the percentage of global energy delivered through renewables, respectively. This comes ahead of the COP-26 summit in November 2021 [12]


  1. ^ Glasgow’s Crosses, Glasgow History, 28 May 2016
  2. ^ "Glasgow High Court".
  3. ^ "Glasgow - Mercat Cross". The Scotland Guide. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  4. ^ McKenzie, Raymond; Nisbet, Gary (2001). Public sculpture of Glasgow. Liverpool University Press. p. 340. ISBN 978-0-85323-937-6.
  5. ^ "Allan Dreghorn (1706-64), architect, a biography".
  6. ^ "TheGlasgowStory: Trongate, 1770".
  7. ^ "TheGlasgowStory: Royal Visit, 1849".
  8. ^ Glasgow, by Irene Maver, published in 2000
  9. ^ Second City of Empire, by Charles Oakley, published in 1975
  10. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA Building/Design Report (March 19, 2021, 12:30 am)".
  11. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA Building/Design Report (March 19, 2021, 12:30 am)".
  12. ^ "Climate Clock (June 05, 2021, 17:00 am)". External link in |website= (help)

External linksEdit

  1. ^ Jones, Chris (13 March 2011). "Glasgow Cross | Glasgow History".