Glasgow Photo Library
- Queen's Cross Church
Queen's Cross Church on Garscube Road was commissioned in 1896 by the Free Church of Scotland as St Mathew's Church. It was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was at that time working as an employee of Honeyman & Keppie.
The rather squat tower of this Mackintosh building, looking a bit like a Norman castle, is a complete contrast to the more usual soaring church spires. "Modern gothic" is the name given by architects to the style used. The church is located on a tight corner site, but Mackintosh manages to pack in a lot of different elements in a design which is totally asymmetrical. Looking along the side facing the main road, there are at least four different structures on view - five if the stair turret growing out of the tower is included. But it is often the Mackintosh detailing in the sculptured stone which pleases the eye. In many of his later designs, Mackintosh often created stylised birds' heads, flowers, leaves and seeds. St Mathew's gospel tells the parable of the sower, so having such elements in this building is entirely appropriate.
It is surprising that the strict Free Church of Scotland (the so-called "Wee Frees") allowed the sensuous styling of Mackintosh's representations both outside the church and inside. Perhaps they didn't see them that way? On the other hand, it was the Free Church which had commissioned the monumental "Solomon's Temple" of St Vincent Street Church by Alexander "Greek" Thomson 40 years earlier!
The growing interest in the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh gave rise in 1973 to the formation of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society - to promote greater awareness of the work of this unique Scottish architect. The Society set about the much needed restoration of the church and have set up the headquarters of the Society in the building
See also Places to Visit - Queen's Cross Church> for more information and illustrations.
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