“ Address: The Mackintosh Church / Queen's Cross / 870 Garscube Road / Glasgow / G20 7EL „
The Mackintosh Church
This was yet another of the Charles Rennie Macintosh sites that we wanted to visit when we were in Glasgow. We planned our visits carefully because the Rennie Mackintosh sites are pretty scattered around the city. This was one we planned to visit on the day we arrived after our meal at One Devonshire gardens and the mackintosh House. We needed to drive here as it was a bit out of the city and was only open on limited days and times. The reason we wanted to visit on our first day which was Wednesday is that the Church is free to visit after 1pm on Wednesday.
WHERE TO FIND THE CHURCH
870 Garscube Road
G20 7EL Tel: 0141 946 6600
The church is right on the cross roads and there is nowhere to park except on the streets nearby. We drove around a couple of times trying to find the church and then somewhere to park which was on a nearby street and free.
April - October
Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 5pm last admission 4.30pm
November to March
Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 4pm last admission 3.30pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturdays, Sundays, Good Friday, May bank Holiday, Glasgow fair Monday, August Bank holiday, Christmas and New Year.
Adults £4, Concessions £2 and children free
Free entry for anyone on Wednesdays after 1pm
A QUICK BIT OF HISTORY
The church was commissioned in 1896 and the company of architects asked to design the church gave the job to their young trainee architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the rest is history as they say. This is the only church designed by CRM that was actually built so is a unique piece of architecture.
The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has its headquarters in this church and this society was established in 1973 to preserve, maintain and improve Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings such as this church for future generations to see and enjoy.
We were welcomed into the church by friends of the Mackintosh church who told us a little about the church and pointed us in the direction of some of the things to see. The church is no longer used as a church and is cared for by the Mackintosh society and has been since 1977. The society was able to purchase the church in 1999 after receiving a generous donation from Dr Howarth.
Today the church is open to visitors and also available for hire as a wedding venue for marriage ceremony rather than the reception and wedding breakfast.
Outside in my humble opinion the church looks like any other and is in a rather unattractive location on the junction of fairly busy roads.
Inside it looks pretty much like a church too with fixed pews and an altar but it does have a few specifically CRM features. The most spectacular are the wooden and stone carved reliefs and the stained glass windows. There are also a number of pieces of furniture designed by CRM.
I loved the huge stained glass window above the altar with its minimalist design, a lot of wood and a little green but most of the design is in the window shapes and it looks simple but beautiful. I much prefer the simplicity of this to the busy older style stained glass stuff.
Another beautiful window was the chancel window which is based on the gothic form but is definitely CRM in its design with its beautiful heart shaped motifs and simple blue and purple glass.
The altar is again very simple but carved in CRM style. The front has carvings of leaves and stems only, simple and clean. They reminded me of the sumac design of frank Lloyd Wright and that is amazing as the two never met. I love the fact that the carpenter who made the altar and the two chairs was paid the princely sum of £16.16.6p for all three back in 1899.
The pulpit was again very simple and wood with crosses carved on it. I also loved the carving of the bird with seedlings. In fact throughout the church we found lots of carvings of animals from birds to insects and of course many plants not only carved in the wood pews, pulpit and more but also in the stone and also on the beams. You found little treasures where ever you looked.
The stunning the rood beam with its central light has a very modern and art nouveau in my view and I would be happy to have them in my house today. Apparently this is not original as that was taken out in the 1950s and this replica was installed in 1990.
I think what impressed me about CRM Is that Like frank Lloyd Wright, he doesn't just design the building he also takes on the interior completely adding detail to every small nook and cranny. He also designed the chairs and the alms dishes as well. Everything needs to be looked at otherwise you might miss a little gem.
You can go upstairs in two parts of the church to the galleries. The one at the front of the church has quite narrow steps but as you go up there are carvings to enjoy. The gallery at the back of the church is larger and allows you to have a great view of the church from above and also to examine more closely the fabulous beams across the main hall of the church. At the top of each of the arched beams are carved designs which add elegance to them despite their dark wood look.
This church is not anyway near as great as the mackintosh House recreation but it was very interesting and as we had planned to explore the Rennie Mackintosh sights in Glasgow we had to include this. All the better for it being a free visit on the afternoon we visited. This is the only church designed by CRM that was actually built so is a unique site so I would recommend this as a place to visit for anyone interested in the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
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