Were You Aware Of It? (Glasgow Edition) #4
The Glass Pyramid (of 1000 Secrets)
While you may believe that the St Enoch centre is a relic of Glasgow’s Mayan heritage and has stood on the site for thousands of years, you would in fact be both insane and incorrect.
The St Enoch Centre was, for better or for worse, opened in 1989 and has itself undergone a number of changes with the most recent being a £100m refurbishment in 2008. Since then it has altered the footflow of the city centre, having previously been somewhere to avoid. It’s amazing how people’s perceptions change when you give them a Nando’s.
Prior to the St Enoch Centre, you may be surprised to learn that there was a main line railway station on the site which rivalled Central Station in terms of size.
The station itself had twelve platforms and was housed within two giant semi-cylindrical glass and iron train sheds. It was open from 1876 through to 1966 when it was shut down as part of the Beeching Axe (named after Dr Richard Beeching, the head of British Rail whose rationalisation of the network cut more than 4,000 miles of track from the network). The structure itself was demolished in 1977 along with the Station Hotel which was attached.
The station was the site of a train crash on 27th July 1903 which killed 16 people and injured 64. You can read the full report from the Glasgow & South Western Railway Company if you click here. It also includes the testimony of the driver Henry Northcote who was found to be solely responsible for misjudging the braking zone when coming into the platform. I can’t find any information about what the consequences were to Northcote but I think it’s fair to say that he never drove a train again.
The sandstone building which currently stands in the centre of St Enoch Square and houses a coffee shop is the former Subway station entrance which opened its doors in 1896. The area behind that where the current rear entrance to the subway sits has been the site of a church and a bus terminus in its time before the Subway modernisation moved in and created the modernist wonder that is the present day St Enoch Subway station.
The hotel itself, as you can see from the photos and engravings, was a pretty lavish affair but the pretty dreadful 50s’ postcard is the only image I can find of its interior. However, you can see a video of the site from 1960 if you click here.
Of course, every building has a legacy and should you wish to enjoy the legacy of St Enoch Railway Station, you might have to go a bit further out along the Clydeside Expressway to the SECC.
Those standing in the SECC reading this post are standing on the remains of the St Enoch Station and Hotel as the rubble and debris from the demolition was used to help fill in the Queen’s Dock where the SECC now stands.
If you’re really desperate to experience the legacy of the station then you could go out to Cumbernauld and bask in the glory of the Antonine Centre’s clock which was removed from St Enoch Station by a philanthropic businessman and ‘gifted’ to the town of Cumbernauld. I bet they were delighted.
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