Old Glasgow Club


Minutes of ordinary meeting of the Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday  12th March 2009 at 7.00pm






Mr Gordon (for President)



Mr Gordon welcomed members to the meeting.



There were apologies from Anna Forrest, Janette Knox, Jim Gibson, Maida Gibson, Sheila Kelly, Elaine Debenham, Terry Liddell, Isobel Muldowney.


The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 12th February were circulated and were approved, proposed by Mrs Thom and seconded by Mr Kerr. There were no matters arising.

President’s report

There was no President’s report, Mrs Forrest being in Cyprus.

Mr Gibson, on behalf of Mrs Forrest, informed the club that a tour of the Art Club conducted by tonight’s speaker Mr Paul Dowds on Sat 28th February had been enjoyed by all who attended.


Secretary’s report

Mrs McNae reported that our February speaker Mr David Simons thanked the Club for his reception at the last meeting.

Mrs McNae also attended the tour of the Art Club on Sat 28th February and thanked Mr Dowds for a most enjoyable and informative morning. She also thanked Mrs Margaret Russell for passing on some photographs from the tour which will be put up on the website.

Mr Tom Cunningham (speaker from 11th September 2008, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Glasgow), has informed the club that he has been invited to participate in a seminar acknowledging the 10th Anniversary of the repatriation of the Lakota Ghost Dance Shirt on Sat 1st August 2009 at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. He will keep us informed of details in due course.

Mrs McNae and Mrs Thom recently attended a SGHET (South Glasgow Heritage Environment Trust) talk by Mr Peter Mortimer. He has agreed to speak to the club on Enrolment night of the 2009-2010 session.

The Tappit Hen Bowling tournament will take place on Thurs 21st May at 6.30. There will be a light buffet at the Drawing Rooms across from the Kelvingrove Greens from 7.30pm.

The J.A.S. Wilson Memorial Walk will be hosted by Mr Peter Mortimer around the Gorbals on Thursday 4th June.

The Summer outing will be to Traquair House on Sat 14th June, with a High Tea in Peebles.

Mrs Thom will take names and ticket money for those interested.

A tour round the River City set has been organised for Sat 4th July. Cost is £5.50 with a £3.75 discount for senior citizens. Please give names if interested to Ms Cairns.



Mr Gordon introduced Mr Paul Dowds, a director of the Glasgow Art Club, who spoke on the topic of “Restoration of the Art Club”.

Mr Dowds initiated the talk by thanking Mr McNae with his help in providing the powerpoint presentation.

The Glasgow Art Club was formed in 1867 by William Dennison and 10 of his friends who were all amateur artists. The club was launched in the Waverley Temperance Hotel. By the 1870’s professional artists were included in the ranks. Female members were allowed to join in 1983. In 1878 the club moved to larger premises at 62 Bothwell Circus, a reflection of the growing interest in the Arts at that time.

The Club then took up residence at 185 Bath Street in 1896. Two Regency era townhouses were transformed into the Clubhouse, a conversion designed by John Keppie (a club member). A young Charles Rennie Mackintosh, in one of his first commissions as a draughtsman, was involved in the design of the gallery. The conversion cost £5000.

Mr Dowds then illustrated his talk with images of the original conversion plans of the club house, as well as pictures of members past and present with examples of their work exhibited in the club e.g. Sir James Guthrie, George Henry, E. A. Cornell, James Robertson, Andrew Law, Pittencrief McGillvary and Peter Howson.

The Club houses an impressive library and archive service and contains a unique collection of books on Art and Architecture. The collection chronicles the development of artistic tradition in the West of Scotland and is well used by students and scholars. The library contains portfolios of work of its artistic members.

The club building is now A-listed and the Rennie Mackintosh connection proves popular with his fans and tourists. The club contains a dining room and bar and the gallery is available to hire for events. The club is open to the public for viewing on Saturday mornings. Rennie Mackintosh’s influence is visible in a wall frieze in the Gallery comprising his distinctive style. Brasswork and fingerplate designs, and ventilation covers also bear his handiwork.

The gents toilets are A-listed by Historic Scotland. In 1983, when the admittance of female members from the Ladies Art Club in Blythswood Square were first mooted, a faction of artists protested by holding a lunch in the male-only toilets.

Anyone wishing to join the club must be proposed and seconded by club members. The proposed member must have met with at least 2 people from the club. Membership can be corporate, lay or artist. The Art Club promotes new talent by awarding 10 fellowships to students, which guarantees them membership and a guaranteed show. The artists are chosen by the Club and the RGA. The club’s main purpose is to promote the arts through public exhibitions, life classes, colleting art publications, hosting lectures and performances.

The restoration project is a program of much needed repairs to the external walls, basement and roof and is estimated to take 18 months. An alteration to the roof carried out during WWII when the club was an officer’s HQ and mess has caused some considerable and lasting damage and this will also need to be fixed. There is both dry and wet rot in the upper floors. The Club will still be operational during the restoration. The renovations will be funded partly by Glasgow Art Club Property Company, Glasgow Art Club, Historic Scotland and the Big Lottery Fund. A restoration project has already been completed to upgrade the electrics. This cost £350,000 and was funded partly by selling 5 paintings from the archives, a bank loan and levies paid by Art Club members.

Unfortunately the Charles Rennie Mackintosh frieze cannot be completely restored, having been painted over many times but can be replicated and reproduced using computer aided stencilling.

Glasgow is reportedly to become “Glasgow – City of Mackintosh” in a rebranding of the city’s image. There will be a Mackintosh trail across the city and the Art Club will be included as an example of his early career.

Mr Dowds concluded by emphasising the Club’s links with the School of Art, many of the Club’s Presidents and Past Presidents have been Lecturers at the School of Art.


Vote of Thanks

Mr Jim Robertson delivered the Vote of Thanks and presented Mr Dowds with a membership of the Club.


AOCB and close

Mr Gordon reminded the club that Mrs Thom would still be taking bookings for the various outings and wished all a safe journey home.


P. Cairns, Acting Recording Secretary