Glasgow churches: Woodside and Maryhill

St George’s in the Fields, Woodside

Here’s another selection of church buildings from my lockdown walks, this time in Woodside and Maryhill – not a definitive list by any means, just those which particularly caught my eye. First, the classical St George’s in the Fields which was built in 1885/86, replacing an earlier building from 1824 which would, literally, have been in the fields. The architects were Hugh and David Barclay and the sculpture above the portico, depicting the parable of the loaves and fishes, is by William Birnie Rhind. The church fell out of use in 1979 and was converted into private flats in 1987.

Close by, on Hopehill Road, is St Columba’s Roman Catholic Church. Designed by the award-winning architect Jack Coia, it opened in 1941 and the cost was met by the families of the area, each of whom paid 6d per brick. I like the contrast of the plain brick with the elaborate carving round the door which, to me, looks as though it belongs to a different building altogether.

Moving now from Woodside towards Maryhill, this next church has featured in these pages several times before. Commissioned in 1896, Queen’s Cross is the only church to have been designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and now houses the Mackintosh Society.

Queen’s Cross might have been Mackintosh’s only church, but on Shakespeare Street, just off Maryhill Road, you can see his work in Ruchill Parish Church Hall, completed in 1899. The church is of later date (1903-5) and was designed by Neil Campbell Duff in a completely different style.

Finally, this is Gairbraid Parish Church (1858/9) which sits next to Maryhill Burgh Halls. I don’t know the name of the architect, and it’s certainly much simpler than the others I have included. The view of the front is taken from the aqueduct which carries the Forth and Clyde Canal over Maryhill Road, and the back view with the blue door is from Burnhouse Street.

The most popular things in my previous church posts were the grotesques and gargoyles, and there’s not a single one in sight here. Oh dear, I must try to find more for next time!


  1. That first church looks like it was from Roman times. I hope that some of the interior was saved when it was converted into apartments. That modern looking church with the gothic looking facade looks so thin. It is strange looking. This is quite interesting to see all of these churches. It shows, too, how many are no longer active church goers.


  2. I’d love to see one of the flats which have been created inside St George’s in the Fields. It would be interesting to see how the space has been used. You’re right about St Columba’s – the lovely carving around the door really is in stark contrast to the plain brick wall. I wonder if there’s a story there about how the work on the doorway came about. Perhaps it was originally meant for somewhere else.


  3. Shows you how much religion dominated many people’s existence back then. Thankfully it was never a part of mine although I can appreciate
    the art inside and out.


  4. A lovely selection of churches Anabel.
    St Columba’s is fascinating. Is the stonework around the entrance really contemporaneous with the structure? I love that contrast too.
    St George’s reminds me of St Martin’s in London — same neo-Classical style “in the (long-gone) field”. I’m always a little bemused by neo-Classical churches; the underlying design philosophy seems wrong somehow.


    • I have looked up St Columba’s in several places (including its own site) and they all just refer to the carving round the door with nothing to suggest it was from an older building. I was sure when I first saw it that it must have been saved from a previous church, but if so you’d think the church website would tell you. I’ve concluded it must just have been designed that way. St George’s is very like St Martin’s. There’s another similar structure, St Andrew’s in the Square, which might feature if I continue the series.

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  5. St. George’s reminds me of a church I looked up recently in New York City – now surrounded by skyscrapers, but in an 1860s engraving clearly fitting in its surroundings. It’s difficult to imagine how the flats fit in – are there enough windows?


  6. Lovely pics Anabel. Mum r.I.p told me her Uncle Francis came over to Maryhill from Donegal, Ireland to work on the trams. I think this may have been in the 1940’s.


  7. Yes, where are the grotesques and gargoyles. It’s what we expect from you! That said, the churches you chose were interesting and I love the idea of the 6d. a brick one.