St Andrew’s in the Square

Dreghorn / Naismith, 1756

The Church of St Andrews in the Square was constructed from 1739 to 1756, at a cost of £15,000 to £20,000, a huge sum. The building was modelled on St Martin-In-The-Fields in London. An Act of Parliament in 1768 suggested the cost was met by the magistrates and council. It could be assumed that tobacco merchants contributed to this cost; the Spanish mahogany interior was imported by these merchants.

Etching of St Andrew’s Church, viewed from the battlements of the Old Townhouse.

A square of three-storey townhouses, described as ‘perfect examples of elegance and splendour’, was laid out around the Church in 1787 ‘for the use and resort of merchants and others’. This became, with Virginia Street, one of the most fashionable and expensive places to live in Glasgow. The Square’s position however, as the mercantile headquarters of Glasgow was short-lived, as the leading merchants gradually moved west in the early nineteenth century.The Glasgow Building Preservation Trust purchased the building in 1993 and embarked on an ambitious programme of redevelopment to create Glasgow’s Centre for Scottish Culture.

St Andrew’s in the Square today.