Thursday, 22 September 2011

Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 5: Glasgow City Free Church

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 see the  'Introduction' post  -

An alphabetical list of all posts so far can be found at the end of this post. Today is Sunday, 18 September, 2011. and as it is Doors Open Day - see - we are going to have a look inside the Free Church in St Vincent St.  For the previous posts on Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, see

Alexander Greek Thomson
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 2: the Egyptian Halls Part 1: the Interior
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 3: the Egyptian Halls Part 2: the Interior
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 4: Eton Terrace, 41-53 Oakfield Avenue

For details of the building see

From the BLB website

'Greek Revival individually interpreted. Rectangular temple plan with lower aisles raised on full-storey podium containing halls and other apartments with graduated
plinth; tall rectangular tower at NE, linked to lower section and breaking into main body of church behind temple front. Ashlar. Hexastyle fluted Ionic temple fronts to N and S; entablature; pediment with antefixae and acroterion; dwarf-pilastered clerestory with ramped
blind openings to returns; pilastered aisles.'

The church was built for the United Presbyterian Church 1857-59 and is the only complete church by Thomson to survive. It now hosts the Free Church of Scotland congregation, a small but lively Christian group. See their website
Heading up St Vincent St

Going in - Thomson Heritage plaque on right

The interior is described by British Listed Buildings (see link above) thus

I'NTERIOR: unusual internal arrangement - the floor of the church is contained in the upper part of the substructure, only the gallery level and above are within the "temple". Galleries and clerestory supported
on stylised Greek cast-iron columns; end walls with pilaster decoration; pulpit set in panelling; coffered ceiling decorations.'

Without flash. .

. . .with flash

'Let Glasgow Flourish' is of course the Glasgow motto. Below is a historical  note on the motto from here -

'The city`s motto is a shortened version of the inscription on a bell that was made in 1637 for the Tron Kirk (of which the Tron Steeple still exists): Lord let Glasgow flovrichse throvgh the preaching of thy word and priasing thy name. In 1663 this motto became Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and in 1699 this was shortened to Let Glasgow flourish.'

In the right-hand stairwell; a kind member of the congregation has let us go upstairs. Think Thomson would have liked the low-energy bulb

Am not a big fan of sepia tints but it works here - will do a few more thus

The roof

The left-hand stairwell

We'll pop down for a wee look

Back in gallery

Another look at stairwell

Thomson liked this shape - see the flanking stonework at 18 Gt George St -

The white flakes come from above. . .

. . .up  there

Note crack

This is the pulpit from Finnieston Free Church - itself a magnificent building, now converted into flats. See

We're heading back downstairs now

Through the green door we go. . .

. . .looking down. . .

. . .looking back

We've put the cord back up

Going back in for a last look

Thin crack in column

Heading out through the left-hand door

looking down St Vincent St. On the right there is the very fine St Columba Church of Scotland, built 1904. Popularly known as the Highland Cathedral because of its popularity with Gaels.,_Glasgow

Now turning into Pitt St

Cops down there - will see why in a minute

The vehicle in St Vincent  Lane there has not been bred on this island

San Franciso plates

A Hollywood film starring Halle Berry is being filmed in the next street; Glasgow is standing in for San Francisco

Back in St Vincent St; we're going to take a look at the movie filming - subject of next post

Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is

For previous posts see

Bad Posters
Bellahouston Park
Bellahouston Park 2 : After the Pope is Over
Big Teddy Needs a Home
Botanic Gardens
Bridgeton Cross
Buchanan St 
Buchanan St 2: a Meditation on Donald Dewar
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
Entertainers 1: old French chap busking in Sauchiehall St
Evolving Odeon
Festivals and Fetes
Forth and Clyde Canal 1
Forth and Clyde Canal 2
Gartnavel Hospital: a Winter Walk, February 2011
George Square
George Square 2 July 2011: the Orange Order lays a wreath at the Cenotaph 
Glasgow Cross and Argyle St
Glasgow Green: the 2010 Scottish Junior Run
Glasgow North-West By-election 2009
Glasgow Piping Festival
Glasgow's Sikhs
Glasgow's Sikhs 2: a Sikh Wedding
Gorbals 2
Gorbals 3: Saltmarket to Tradeston
Govanhill 2: Messages in the Rain
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
Hillhead 2: Chasing the August Sun
Hillhead 3: August Sunset
Hunterian Museum
 Kelvinbridge: Adventures in Art - West End Festival 2011
 Kelvinbridge: Adventures in Art Part 2
Kelvinbridge: a Man and His Dog
Kelvinbridge Railway Station: the 'Re-opening'
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
Merchant City Festival 23 July 2011
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
St Enoch Square Through the Glass
Schipka Pass down, and a walk through Barrowland
 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
South Street to Thornwood: an 'X'-Listed' walk in which we encounter the Secret State
Update to South Street Walk
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
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 2: the Egyptian Halls Part 1: the Interior
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 3: the Egyptian Halls Part 2: the Interior
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 4: Eton Terrace, 41-53 Oakfield Avenue
Townhead to Duke St St to George S
Welcome to Glasgow: the Dalmarnock Rd
Welcome to Glasgow 2: the Yoker Rd
Welcome to Glasgow 3: Charing Cross station to Dalmarnock station
Welcome to Glasgow 4: Rutherglen to Gallowgate, Part 1
Welcome to Glasgow 4: Rutherglen to Gallowgate, Part 2
We're Not being paid Enough For This: Trials of an Extra Part 2
West End Festival 2010

Reviews of Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know


'I love it - I'm giving this copy to a friend and buying another for myself' - Darren Adam, Presenter, Radio Forth, 17 November 2008

‘It’s a great wee book’ – Stephen Jardine, introducing Edwin Moore on Scottish Television’s Five-Thirty Show

'A fantastic book' - Scott Wilson , talk 107 Breakfast Show host (see In Memoriam talk 107)

'A great read' - Dougie Jackson, Drivetime host, Smooth Radio 105.2


'Despite its apparently humorous format, this is a serious and extensive dictionary on all things Scottish; from Jean Redpath to Lorne sausage, from Flodden to the Corries. Is particularly good on history and minutiae. There's a useful chapter on famous Scottish legal cases and another on literature. Excellent' - Royal Scottish Legion, Feb 2009

'This is the ultimate Scottish reference book' - Waterstones Christmas catalogue, 2008

'This is a fascinating look at the history of Scotland: its languages, politics and great achievements, from its origins in the ancient landmass of Laurentia 400 million years ago, to devolution and Billy Connolly. Edwin Moore has collected a thousand important facts about this beautiful country, covering Scottish history and culture, correcting misconceptions, and examining the mysteries of haggis and bagpipes with insight, warmth and impressive attention to detail' - The Good Book Guide, November 2008

'This is a recipe for revealing how horribly ill informed you are about your country. Although, if you are skillful, you can nod sagely as you read some new fact and mutter 'Ah, yes!' as if recalling the information from your excellent schooling. Where else will you find a real recipe for making haggis from scratch side by side with a potted biography of David Hume; a section of the Declaration of Arbroath and the curiously touching fact that Lulu was only 15 when she had a hit with 'Shout'? The whole thing is of course, silly - but oh so addictive.' - Matthew Perren, i-on Glasgow, December 2008

'. . . well crafted and witty' - Bill Howatson, Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 October 2008

‘While most of Edwin’s entries are entertaining and scholarly – he writes like a Scottish Bill Bryson – it is when he takes an interest in the backwaters of history, the details lost down the back of the sofa, that he is at his best’ – Jack McKeown, The Courier, 27 October 2008

'History, it is said, is written by the victors. Trivia, meanwhile, is written by the guys with the smeared spectacles and the breathable rainwear. The first discipline is linear and causal; to quote from Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys, history is “just one f****** thing after another”. Things look different, though, when viewed through the prism of trivia. The past is reduced to one big coleslaw of fascinating facts that in their randomness tell a more mixed-up tale entirely.
The first approach leads to big, frowning books by the likes of Tom Devine and Michael Fry. The latter results in small, cheerful books such as Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin Moore’s valiant attempt to navigate the more trivial contours of enlightenment and clearances, crown and parliament, dirt and deity.
Moore proceeds from a sincere and controversial first principle: Scotland is really a rather pleasant and interesting place. . .As a work of popular scholarship, though, it’s in a different league to the Scottish novelty titles that get stocked next to the bookstore tills as potential impulse purchases, those little handbooks of parliamo Caledonia and regional braggadocio, such as Weegies vs Edinbuggers.' - Allan Brown The Sunday Times, 21 September 2008

'In his book, Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin celebrates all that sets us Scots as a race apart - our language, law, flora, food, and of course, our people. From our poets, architects and inventors, to our artists, entertainers and fighters. But he doesn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of our history. . .' - Robert Wight, Sunday Post, 14 September 2008

‘We think we know all about William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Union of the Crowms. However, according to Edwin Moore, author of , Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, we’re still in the dark about many aspects of our history and culture. . . The Big Issue looks at 20 of the most astonishing examples of secret Scotland.’ – The Big Issue, 18-24 September 2008

'What's the connection between Homer Simpson and Larbert, and why are generations of lawyers grateful to a Paisley snail? Need to know more? Author Edwin Moore has gathered 1000 facts like these about Scotland in a quirky new book. Brian Swanson selects a few favourites. . .' - Scottish Daily Express, 13 September 2008

'The palm for Christmas-stocking books seems to have passed recently to popular science, with best selling titles every year such as Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? This year there has been a gallant attempt at a historical fight back. Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know(Atlantic Books, £12.99) asks (and answers) such post-turkey questions as ‘How many kings of Scotland died in their beds?’, ‘Who on earth decided that the Declaration of Arbroath was the cornerstone of modern democracy?’ or ‘Why is iron brew spelled Irn-Bru?’ Mark Mazower,History Today; The Best of History in 2008, December 2008

'A real treat for the serendipitous Scotophile' - Reginald Hill

FROM THE INTERWEB (on the new paperback edition)
Book of the Month, May 2010
'Whether it's Scottish lochs or Enlightenment philosophers, the facts of the devolution referendums or the mysteries of Irn-Bru, myths will be debunked and truths revealed in this light-hearted but rigorous overview of Scottish history and culture.'

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