I think that anybody who is running to work in Glasgow, strolling from Central Station or nipping out to the shops on Bothwell Street has checked the time on the big-golden clocks hanging off the honey-coloured building. One definitely doesn’t have to be an architectural specialist to appreciate the eight-story office block designed by Edward Grigg Wylie from the locally based architectural firm, Wright and Wylie. The B-listed building is a fine specimen of Scottish architecture from the early 20th century that took its design and construction influence from commercial buildings that were being built in America at the time.
Back in 1931, the grand golden building became headquarters of the Scottish Legal Life Assurance Society, which would later become one of the UK’s largest life insurance companies and still occupy the building alongside companies from the construction, engineering and property sectors as well as financial services. For a good reason, it is one of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings in the International Financial Services District (IFSD) and is certainly a Scottish commercial landmark. It was added to a list of Scotland’s 100 Finest Buildings in 2016.
I have been photographing 95 Bothwell street digitally for 15 years and on film long before. The building’s powerful exteriors have not changed at all: it doesn’t look a day older than when I first pointed my lens at it.
But as much as the outside of the building has stayed the same, the inside has been comprehensively refurbished over the years. I wonder what the original interior looked like? Much of the stairwell has remained the same and there are beautiful stone and wood carved detailing throughout but the office suites would be unrecognisable to Edward Grigg Wylie.