Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

High Street Glasgow Blind Asylum Clock Tower

After yesterday’s news about plans to ‘wake up’ the area to the east of Glasgow city centre, I thought I’d see if I had any interesting material lying around.

One place I’ve failed to visit so far is the Necropolis. On the one day I made a specific trip for a walk around the place, all the gates and accesses were locked and chained – the council had closed it off after a number of headstones had fallen. Although I’ve been back and looked over the fence many times since, I was always heading somewhere else, and there wasn’t enough time to make stepping in worthwhile. Maybe one day. I was envious of some pics I saw recently, taken in the snow, but that’s too far for me to walk to in that sort of weather.

Right at the top of High Street the clock tower that marked the entrance to Glasgow’s Blind Asylum can be found:

CLOCK TOWER BLOCK 88-92 CASTLE STREET: part of hospital complex. William Landless, 1878-91 built as part of Glasgow Blind Asylum (see Notes); 4-storey corner building with engaged hexagonal tower to SW (open belfry and stone spire). 2 well-detailed elevations, Free Revivalist style, combining Franco-Scots, northern European and Gothic; crowstepped gables and stone bracketed balconies. Tower sculpture Charles B Grassby of Glasgow, including canopied niche, representation of Christ restoring blind child’s sights.

Extracted from the listed building notes on the structure.

It used to be listed as a ‘Building at Risk’ but The Clock Tower is now described as “Glasgow Central Boutique Suites and Bistro”, and I quote “We have 9 luxuriously appointed serviced apartments above and a wonderful coffee bistro and reception on the ground floor”.

The former Blind Asylum building merged with the hospital complex in 1940, after the original facility moved to more modern premises in Saracen Street in 1935, but ceased to be used after 1989.

This is believed to be the only 5-faced clock in Europe – one if the faces on the  hexagonal spire is bare, and can’t be seen from the street, so didn’t get a clock face.

In case you’re wondering – no, the clocks don’t work.

A couple of views, one close, one context.

Note the figure in the centre of the first image – this reflects the Victorian religious based philanthropy of the age and represents Christ dressed in Medieval garb, restoring sight to a blind child.

Glasgow Blind Asylum Clock Tower

Glasgow Blind Asylum Clock Tower


The structure to the rear is a car park.

Glasgow Blind Asylum Clock Tower

Glasgow Blind Asylum Clock Tower

Carved sign fun

This set of pics reminded me of a pic I took here some time ago.

One of the High Street entrances at the base of this tower has an ornately carved sign on the lintel.

Standing beneath it, I have to confess I could never decipher it. The decorated letters just seemed to refuse to resolve into something legible.

Eventually, I took a fairly detailed pic, intending to post it online and ask if anyone else could read it, or if it was perhaps Latin, given its location and the purpose of the building.

That wasn’t needed.

For some reason better known to some experts, when I saw the photograph of the sign –  I could read it without any problems after taking a second to become familiar with the styling applied to the characters.


Maybe it was down to the different contrast when seen in the pic, or the enforced change from a true 3D view to a 2D representation.

The lintel and its sign are shown below.

Blind Asylum Sign

Blind Asylum Sign

24/03/2018 - Posted by | Civilian, photography | ,

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