As Scotland's most celebrated architect and designer of the 20th century, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's work is recognised throughout the world.

In his native Glasgow, he left a remarkable and world-class design legacy, with his wonderful architectural style visible in buildings such as Queen’s Cross Church, House for an Art Lover and Scotland Street School Museum. 

In honour and celebration of the man and his work, a bronze statue - unveiled on the 90th anniversary of his death - stands in the Anderston district of the city, while a giant mural adorns the wall above The Clutha Bar next to the River Clyde. 

Now a city heritage group has called for a new Charles Rennie Mackintosh mural to be created in the area of Glasgow he once called home. 

The architect and designer lived in a tenement on Firpark Terrace in Dennistoun behind Tennent’s Wellpark brewery from 1875 until 1892, the year he met Margaret Macdonald while they were both students at the Glasgow School of Art.

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Dennistoun Style, which showcases the history, social history, heritage and style of Dennistoun and the east end of Glasgow, has proposed that the gable end of a listed building on Duke Street - around 500 metres from Mackintosh’s former home - be the location of a new permanent mural celebrating his legacy. 

The group also suggested that the mural could be based on James Craig Annan's famous portrait of Mackintosh as a young man.

They told The Herald: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Townhead in 1868 and his family, moving up the social ladder, moved to the leafy suburb of Dennistoun to Firpark Terrace in 1875 and lived there until 1892. 

“Given Mackintosh’s connection to Dennistoun, it’s only fitting this genius is commemorated where he was brought up. It would also be an amazing addition to the Glasgow mural trail to bring people to Dennistoun.”

The call comes amid a “long-running saga” involving the gable end on Duke Street, which has sparked fresh fears that businesses are continuing to ‘exploit’ a loophole to create huge mural adverts without receiving prior permission from Glasgow City Council.

The Herald: The gable end in Dennistoun has been used for temporary commercial murals The gable end in Dennistoun has been used for temporary commercial murals (Image: Colin Mearns)

In October 2022, a mural on the gable end of the listed tenement - which was built in the 1850s - was commissioned by shoe retailer Clarks to advertise their desert boots as part of their new ‘For the World Ahead’ brand campaign, before another commercial mural - for banking brand The Current Account Switch Service - appeared on the same gable end earlier this month.

Both murals were painted over within four weeks of appearing on the gable end, leading to concerns that businesses were commissioning temporary murals to effectively ‘exploit’ the “28 day rule” for using land or buildings for an “alternative use” contained within planning regulations for the temporary use of land in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order. The provision is often used by event organisers for events such as local fairs and effectively allows for a site to be used without formal planning permission. 

Ivan McKee, MSP for Glasgow Provan, previously suggested that a permanent mural be commissioned for the gable end to stop it being used by commercial enterprises for advertising. 

He told The Herald: “We all want to see high quality street art brightening up the city, but commercial businesses should not be able to use loopholes to bypass regulations and avoid engagement with the local community. 

“I would support a community led project to deliver a permanent mural on this highly visible site on Duke Street.”

READ MORE: Is this one of the first ever photos of Charles Rennie Mackintosh?

Councillor Allan Casey, who represents the Dennistoun ward, echoed the MSP’s call, adding: “While it is nice to see this gable end brighten up an important gateway into Dennistoun it is disappointing that yet again another commercial organisation are exploiting a loophole to avoid planning and advertising consent and not involving the local community. 

“Glasgow has a vibrant and diverse range of murals across the city which help create splashes of colour which brighten up our lanes and streets. 

“To avoid this commercial exploitation happening in this location again it is my hope that there could be a proper community led project to investigate if there can be a longer term community mural which would bring some much needed public street art into Dennistoun and could have the potential to link up with Glasgow’s successful City Centre Mural Trail.”