Saturday, 19 February 2011

Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 2: the Egyptian Halls Part 1: the Interior

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city. For the blog's origin and an alphabetical list of posts see the 'Introduction' post -

Today is 16 February 2011 and we are heading inside the Egyptian Halls at 84-100 Union St. The building was raised in 1873 and was one of Thomson's favourite buildings. It has deteriorated badly over the last 30 years and is in danger of being demolished. The developer Derek Souter is the building's last hope: see
Private Eye's architecture correspondent - 'Piloti' has commented on the story several times - 'an urban architectural wonder' - and is one of many backing Souter's plan. (See Private Eye issues 947, 950, 1011 and 1271.)
The Egyptian Halls is one of the most threatened of Europe's great buildings. Glasgow council and the Scottish government need to play their part and ensure that this unique part of our heritage is preserved. See
See also

The Union St entrance

Inside, looking back down the stairs

The building was owned by a Chinese restaurateur for a while

The banisters are part of the original fittings

The emergency exit stairs. . .

. . .with original banisters and their own lovely metalwork (different from main stairs)

This wee lane below runs parallel with Union St. Car park on right. For the view up see next post showing exterior shots

The back of one of the extraordinary front columns. The Timeless Earth site says:
'His most extraordinary and elaborate commercial work is Egyptian Halls in Glasgow. Built for the iron founder James Robertson, the grand stone facade is a sort of layer cake with a series of horizontal storeys, each different in treatment, building up to a majestic cornice. On the top storey, the squat Corinthian columns are freestanding, leaving the fenestration behind as a continuous glazed strip – a feature which some commentators have seen as anticipating the Modern movement but which in fact resulted from Thomson’s dislike of ugly collisions between windows and shaped columns.

Up on top floor now

The stairs up to the roof

Roof stairs from the back

Car park opposite

The Festival of Erotica - long gone we imagine

Heading down

Moving on down again

Camera shake - sorry!

Regency flock wallpaper

No idea what the restaurant used these hooks for

Back at first flight of stairs

Even in such a distressed state the Egyptian Halls - like all of Thomson's buildings - somehow raises the spirit. It must be saved.

A public consultation will be held on 23rd February 1.30pm-4pm at The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow

Photos of the exterior will follow in next post. For previous Glasgow Album posts click on the URLs below

Bad Posters
Bellahouston Park
Bellahouston Park 2 : After the Pope is Over
Botanic Gardens
Bridgeton Cross
Buchanan St
Burrell Collection
Cessnock / Kinning Park
Churches (Working/ Non-Working), Temples Mosques etc
Citizens Theatre
City Centre
Climate Change Demo
Clydebank 1
Clyde River Festival
December 2010: Dusk, Dark and Dawn
Edwin Morgan
Evolving Odeon
Festivals and Fetes
Forth and Clyde Canal 1
Forth and Clyde Canal 2
George Square
Glasgow Cross / Trongate /Argyle St
Glasgow Green: the 2010 Scottish Junior Run
Glasgow North-West By-election 2009
Glasgow Piping Festival
Glasgow's Sikhs
Gorbals 2
Gorbals 3: Saltmarket to Tradeston
Govan Underground to Ibrox Underground: 40th anniversary of the Ibrox Stadium Disaster
Grow Glasgow
Hampden Park: Dundee United v Ross County Cup Final 15 May 2010
Hidden Gardens: Glasgow Harvest at Tramway
Hillhead / West End
Hunterian Museum
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Kelvingrove Park
Kelvingrove Park: Sledging
Kelvingrove Park: the Fountain Vandalised
King's Theatre to Glasgow Cathedral: a November Walk
Lobey Dosser day
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Mela 2008
Mela 2010
Paddy's Market: the Last Day
Queen's Cross and Firhill
Red Road Flats
Red Road Flats 2
Red Road Flats 3
Ruchill Park
Save Otago Lane 16 October 2010
St Enoch Centre
Sighthill Stone Circle
Sighthill Summer Solstice 2010
Sighthill Towers Before the Fall
Sighthill Towers After the Fall
Single Parent: Trials of an Extra part 2
Swingergate Day 2: Tommy and Gail Sheridan on Trial
Swingergate Day 11: 'How's He No' Gettin' Drapped Aff?'
Swingergate Day 28: A Large Pinch of Salt
Swingergate Day 37: Andy Coulson doesn't slip up
Swingergate Day 45: Waiting for the Verdict
Swingergate Day 46: the Last Day
Swingergate: Sentenced
Taggart: Trials of an Extra part 1
Tommy Burns Tribute
Alexander Greek Thomson
Townhead to Duke St St to George S
Welcome to Glasgow: the Dalmarnock Rd
Welcome to Glasgow 2: the Yoker Rd
We're Not being paid Enough For This: Trials of an Extra Part 2
West End Festival 2010


  1. Hi there, got here following your comment on the
    Loved your post on the egypt.hall, do you know when/if going to be demolished? Urban exploration is how i got into photography, i would love to do a project on glasgow, i think there could be so much to photograph!

  2. Hi Alice

    Hopefully never! But it's getting really critical alas. Do you know Gavin Stamp's book Lost Cities? So much gone - and no excuses possible if this one goes.