Glasgow’s Gilded Age (1864-1914): Glamour & Grit

The Glasgow’s Gilded Age (1864 -1914): Glamour & Grit conference was held on the 8th May 2015 at Cottiers Theatre in Glasgow’s West End. The conference was an exciting introduction to the period, the academics who study it, and the legacy it has left behind. The conference was far more than a one day event; it signified the beginning of what we hope will be a new movement celebrating this period of Glasgow’s history, and promoting Glasgow’s industrial and artistic heritage, for without one there could not be the other, the glamour and the grit. Between 1864 and 1914 Glasgow was a thriving centre for design and innovation in industries as varied as textile manufacture and shipbuilding. The techniques and skills learnt by the workers and designers in these industries directly affected the art produced in the city. The individuals who gained financially from this boom, the shipping magnates and ironworks owners, were able to spend lavishly on buildings, art, and furnishing their homes, advertising not only their personal wealth and style, but also Glasgow’s. This led to Glasgow becoming a producer and educator of all things aesthetically pleasing and functional.

This project aims to create long-term beneficial partnerships within educational and heritage institutions who will encourage crucial research related to topics like those discussed today. We already have the support of our speakers; from the Glasgow School of Art, the National Trust of Scotland, and even from further afield, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. We want to promote Glasgow as a centre for cultural tourism, highlighting what the city already has to offer visitors and locals alike. We aim to re-evaluate Glasgow’s design history, and elevate the status of the movers and shakers who helped to propel Glasgow to the its place as the second city of the empire.

The Speakers

Ranald MP8 Ranald MacInnesacInnes is Head of Heritage Management at Historic Scotland with responsibilities which include advising the Scottish Government on planning and historic environment issues. He began his career with English Heritage in the 1980s. He has a special interest in 20th-century architecture and planning. He is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Institute of Art History, University of Glasgow, Visiting Lecturer in Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage at the University of Strathclyde and has taught conservation at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. He has published many books, essays, articles and reviews on architectural history and conservation. He has played a leading research-based advisory and regulatory role in many significant conservation and architectural projects.

Ranald MacInness chaired the morning session of the conference.



Dr. David Mitchell: Dr David Mitchell MSC IHBC ProfICME FSA Scot by day is Director of Conservation for Historic Scotland. Member of the Institute for Historic Building Conservation and the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers. Member of the English Heritage Advisory Board and CyArk, a US Non Profit to digitally document and share world heritage. Alumni of the US State Department Fellowship programme. Interested in ironwork conservation and the history of the industry in Scotland, particularly Walter Macfarlane and Co.

David’s lecture can be viewed here.





John_HumeProf. John Hume: John is an Honorary Professor at both the Universities of Glasgow and St. Andrews. He was a lecturer in Economic and Industrial History at the University of Strathclyde. After a career with Historic Scotland as an Inspector of Scotland’s Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, he eventually retired as Chief Inspector of Historic Buildings in 1999. Prof. Hume is currently a Chairman for the the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments and an Advisor to the Church of Scotland General Trustees Fabric Committee. He lives in Glasgow and was instrumental in setting up many local heritage organisation such as the Forth & Clyde Canal Society and has written all major reference books on Glasgow’s Industrial Heritage.

John’s lecture can be viewed here.



Emily MalcolmEmily Malcolm: Emily Malcolm is Curator of Transport & Technology at Glasgow Museums. She has specialised in work on the ship model collection and has researched widely in the use of ship models in shipbuilding on the Clyde and elsewhere.






Dr. Robyne Erica Calvert

Dr. Robyne Erica Calvert: As the Mackintosh Research Fellow, Dr Robyne Erica Calvert is charged with fostering innovative research projects arising from the reconstruction of the Mackintosh Building. She was previously a lecturer in history and theory (HAUS and FoCI) at GSA, and is also a visiting lecturer in art and design history at the University of Glasgow.

She spent ten years as a museum administrator and educator before returning to academia. She received a Pasold Fund PhD bursary for her thesis ‘Fashioning the Artist: Artistic Dress in Victorian Britain, 1848-1900’ (University of Glasgow, 2012). Additionally, her master’s research was focused on the collaborative work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, and as such she also writes and lectures on the ‘Glasgow Style’ artists, architects and designers.



Dr. Helena Britt

 Dr. Helena Britt: Helena Britt is a lecturer in the Department of Fashion & Textiles at The Glasgow School of Art. Research activity encompasses aspects of historical and contemporary textile design. Postdoctoral projects include Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005. Doctoral research examined the role of the designer educator in the development of digitally printed textiles. Helena is Chair of the Association of Fashion & Textile Courses. She has an MA from the Royal College of Art and has worked as a textile designer for a range of clients.

Helena’s lecture can be viewed here.




peter_burmanDr. Peter Burman: Peter Burman is an architectural and garden historian whose path has alternated between academic work (Director of Centre for Conservation Studies, University of York; Professor of Cultural Management, Department of World Heritage Studies, Cottbus University) and practical conservation work (running the Council for the Care of Churches and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England; being the Director of Conservation for the National Trust for Scotland, which first brought him to live in and identify with Scotland from 2002 onwards). He has written a book about St Paul’s Cathedral, where he was chairman of the Fabric Committee for twenty years, and has published a number of articles about his all-time architect hero, Philip Webb. He is Vice-Chairman of the Built Environment Forum for Scotland, Chairman of the Falkland Heritage Trust, Archivist to the Hopetoun Papers Trust, a Guardian of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and a member of the Fabric Committee for St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. He runs a consultancy called ‘Arts & Heritage’ and lives in the New Town of Edinburgh.

Peter Burman will be chairing the afternoon session.



Max Donnelly: Max Donnelly FSA is Curator of Nineteenth-Century Furniture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has lectured and broadcast on aspects of nineteenth-century design, including for the BBC2 series The Genius of Design (2010). A contributor to several scholarly journals, his article on Vincent van Gogh and Daniel Cottier was published in The Burlington Magazine (September 2011).

 Max’s lecture can be viewed here.




11080912_1567306716855267_5932057498794816115_nDr. Sally Rush: Dr Sally Rush is a senior lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow, specialising in historic interiors and the visual culture of the Renaissance court. Her study of Scottish glass painting began when she was asked to contribute to the Glasgow volume of the Buildings of Scotland and she completed her Ph.D, Glass Painting in Scotland, 1830-1870 in 2001. In 2003, her doctoral research was put to one side in order to work with Historic Scotland on the restoration of Stirling Castle Palace. Recently, however, she has been working on the stained glass at Durham Cathedral and has contributed to Durham Cathedral: history, fabric and culture (2014). She is married to the stained-glass conservator and artist Mark Bambrough.

Sally’s lecture can be viewed here.




Ian Gow was appointed Curator of the National Trust for Scotland in 1998. He had previously been Curator of Architectural Collections at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. He is the author of several books and many articles on the decorative arts and architecture of Scotland.

Ian’s lecture can be viewed here.







His principal activity is as chairman of Noble Grossart Limited, the Scottish merchant bank which he jointly founded in 1969. He has acted as financial or strategic adviser to many public and private companies and other bodies.
He has served as a director of nearly 20 listed public companies in the UK, the USA and Canada involving banking, investment, investment management, property, drinks, energy, construction, insurance, media, newspapers and other sectors. He is a former vice chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland Group and a former chairman of Scottish Investment Trust PLC and of Edinburgh Fund Managers PLC. He is a director of many other companies including chairman of The Fine Art Society, Edinburgh Partners, Lyon & Turnbull, Scotland International and Charlotte Street Partners. He is deputy chairman of Ronson Capital Partners.

He was chairman of the National Museums of Scotland until 2012. He is chairman of the Scottish Futures Trust, which oversees over £9bn of major public procurement activity in Scotland. He was Chairman, and Trustee, of the National Galleries of Scotland. He was a Trustee and deputy chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland. He is a Trustee of Glasgow Life. He chairs the Restoration Appeal for St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. He is chairman of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit. He is a Trustee of The High Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust. He is chairman of the Burrell Renaissance. He has held appointments with many other public, cultural, and charitable bodies.

He graduated from Glasgow University in Arts (MA) and in Law (LLB), and is a chartered accountant. He was called to the Scottish bar and practised as an advocate until 1969. He is a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.). He is a former Scottish editor of the British Tax Encyclopaedia. He has received honorary degrees from the universities of Glasgow (LLD 1985), Strathclyde (DBA 1998) St Andrews (D.Litt 2004) and Aberdeen (LL.D 2006). He was awarded a CBE in 1990. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Bankers of Scotland (FCIBS). He has received many awards, including the Captain of Industry Award, the Walpole Medal of Excellence, the Paolozzi Gold Medal, the Lord Provost of Glasgow Medal for public service and the Gold Medal of the National Museums of Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE). He is a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh (DL). He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 1997.

Sir Angus Grossart unfortunately could not attend the conference but remains engaged and enthused by the project.