THE intriguing history of buildings in Glasgow is a subject that has often been aired in these pages. Some of the buildings are still with us, but others have not been so fortunate.

In July 1973 a Herald writer, Alexa Maule, looked into the history of a building at the corner of Argyle Street and Kelvingrove Street, then occupied by the Argyle Glass Company (right, top). A 1796 map had referred to the site as a toll. An 1829 plan said it was now owned by Matthew Dickson, toll-keeper; a map in 1860 showed it as the Star Hotel.

Writes Maule: “The proprietor of the Argyle Glass Company recalls talking, some 20 years ago, to a 90-year-old man who remembered watching the stage horses being changed; remembered how they clattered round to the back of the building where all the accoutrements of such an exciting event were held.

“The three-feet-thick walls, which one can still see, must have been a comfort to travellers in need of rest and shelter after their bumpy journey from the west. The three fireplaces in the main ground-floor room would dispense the first samples of Glasgow warmth.” Roy Roy Macgregor, no less, was said to have frequented an older inn on the same spot.

“It is surprising that it still stands,” Maule wrote of the building, “still recognisable as a link with the past. Its solid frontage seems worthy of a plaque.” Today, the building is home to The Finnieston Bar & Restaurant.

Read more: Herald Diary

There was an outcry that same year, 1973, when it was announced that two James Adams buildings in the High Street (main image, far right) were to be demolished. The decision by Glasgow Corporation was described as “perhaps the most outrageous example of official philistinism in recent years from this city, which has become internationally famous in this field.”

The criticism came from John McKean, the architect, historian and critic, who at that time was assistant news editor of The Architects’ Journal. He did not mince his words. “Undoubtedly, if retained,” he wrote, “these buildings would not have stood as unused monuments but would have been commercially viable as letting concerns. It is quite clear that, standing directly in the line of a proposed motorway, they are no more than an embarrassment to Glasgow Corporation’s ruthless motorway planners.”

The eastern flank of the proposed ring road, he added, “is quite clearly the cause of the dilapidated and dangerous condition of the buildings and the lack of interested parties with firm proposals for restoration.”

The fine old Grand Hotel at Charing Cross (right, bottom) was closed in October 1968 and subsequently demolished to make way for the new inner-city ring road. In November, it was suggested to the Corporation that the empty hotel could be used as temporary accommodation for people whose homes had been badly damaged by Hurricane Low Q, which had struck with lethal impact on January 15 that year.

The proposal was made by an action committee formed by residents in Govan.