Glasgow’s Gilded Age: 1864-1914

The Glasgow’s Gilded Age Project:

The Gilded Glasgow Project will highlight those Glasgow designers who originally established the city’s reputation at the time of the Aesthetic Movement and Mark Twain’s so called Gilded Age. Glasgow’s international reputation for design and manufacture sprang forth from the city’s industries, as well as its educational institutions, and its influence spread across the globe through trade.  This laid the foundation for Glasgow’s inimitable ‘style’.

We want to invite our guests on a unique sensory experience, considering both the glamour and the grit of industrial Glasgow. Our speakers will be discussing a wide range of topics, including; the interiors of Glasgow’s finest buildings, architectural ornament and stained glass within the city, and the movers and shakers of both the artistic and industrial spheres.

We believe that it is crucial to the promotion of Glasgow as a world city, and that through it we will be celebrating its vibrant artistic and industrial history, encouraging academic study of the period of this ‘gilded age’, and promoting Glasgow as a place for cultural and historic tourism.

Please download our Glamour & Grit Conference brochure from May 2015 here.



Karen Mailley-Watt has an MA Joint (Hons) and an MLitt in Decorative Arts & Design History from the University of Glasgow. With over 8 years’ experience within the heritage sector, Karen has worked with various organisations including The National Museum of Rural Life, Glasgow Print Studio, The Burrell Collection and The Scottish Railway Preservation Society.

During her time as Curator at the Glencoe Folk Museum, she was successful in obtaining funding from The Pilgrim Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and Museums Galleries Scotland for the re-thatch of the museum’s heather thatched roof.Karen is a Trustee and advisor to the Scottish Stained Glass Symposium & Trust, and helped to establish Scotland’s first on-line stained glass database. She is currently the Heritage & Outreach Officer for Glasgow City Heritage Trust. Karen is the Head Organiser of the Gilded Age Project.



Rachael Purse has an MA (hons) in History and an MSc in Museum Studies, both from the University of Glasgow. Her undergraduate dissertation focussed on the architecture of Linlithgow Palace, and she recently researched and designed an exhibition for GCHT on Edwardian and Victorian Swimming Baths and Glasgow’s Stained Glass. Rachael is also a Consultant for the Scottish Stained Glass Trust, and has developed Scotland’s first on-line stained glass database in collabration with RCAHMS.

Rachael has recently been appointed as GCHT’s Statues and Monuments Officer, in collaboration with Glasgow City Council, and has just had her research published in ‘100 Years of Govanhill Baths’. Rachael is Co-Organiser of the Gilded Age Project and conference alongside Karen Mailley-Watt at the GCHT.



Fergus Sutherland is a highly experienced researcher and interpreter with over twenty years experience in archaeological and historical research and in developing interpretation strategies and activity plans for the heritage sector. He graduated with honours in Archaeology from the University of Glasgow in 1984. Fergus started heritage consultancy in 1989 as archaemedia, but has been working away under the icosse banner since the end of the century (the 20th, just in case you were wondering…).

Fergus is the Heritage Consultant and co-opted Outreach Committee member for Glasgow City Heritage Trust.




David Robertson is the Director of Four Acres Charitable Trust the owners of Cottiers and Websters in the West End of Glasgow.

The trust takes on important listed buildings with a view to conserving them to a high standard and making them viable within the local community. The trust works with other like minded organisations keen to promote Glasgow’s fine heritage and design traditions as well as promoting the use of its buildings for artistic and recreational purposes and creating employment opportunities within them for local people.




Shirley LochheadShirley Lochhead freelances as an interpretive designer under the name Tea & Type. She has 10 years experience of working in the public sector and with museum and heritage clients. She graduated with honours in graphic design from the Cumbria Institute of the Arts (now The University of Cumbria) in 2005. Shirley has been working with Glasgow City Heritage Trust as a design consultant since 2012.





DSC01752Erin Walter – Erin Walter has a BA in Art History and Visual Culture from Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland and is currently completing her MSc in Museum Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Alongside her continued academic study of gender representation, contemporary and performance art, Erin enjoys implementing the materials of archives and collections into current academia and interest. Hereby, she is currently researching and curating an exhibition at GCHT on ‘Glasgow’s Lost Cinemas’, which focuses on the architecture of 20th century cinemas and the valuable roles these spaces came to have culturally, socially and physically for the city of Glasgow as well as her inhabitants.​