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This building is in the Glasgow Council and the Glasgow Burgh. It is a category A building and was listed on 15/01/1985.

Group Items: See Notes, Group Cat: A, Map Ref: NS 5693 6675.


T Harold Hughes and D S R Waugh, 1936-39. Monumental Classical circular library with rectangular entrance block to S; axial alignment with Gilbert Scott Building. Reinforced concrete, clad between bands in yellow machine-made narrow `Roman' yellow brick. Continuous stepped plinth.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Tall arched, relief keyblocked, stepped entrance bay with simple doorpiece and 2-leaf doors at head of stair with graduated parapet walls, vertical glazing above; swept brass handles to glazed timber doors. Narrow, vertically linked windows with band between and dripmoulds, set in advanced panels. Rear entrance with simple die walls oversailing basement area. Drum supporting shallow saucer dome set back from parapet.

Metal windows. Domed roof; decorative rainwater goods.

RAILINGS, LAMP PIERS, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: Ground level parapet wall with wrought-iron railings and 2 brick pier lamp standards with metal lamps. Coped boundary wall to University Avenue; bracketed pedimented caps to gatepiers (replacement gates).


McMillan Reading Room is part of an A-Group with, Lord Kelvin¿s Sundial, Gatepiers, Railings, Quincentenary Gates, Hunter Memorial, John McIntyre Building, Thomson Building, Pearce Building, James Watt Building and Gilbert Scott Buildings. This is an exceptional example of a purpose built reading room designed for a higher education setting and dating from the mid 20th century. The building exhibits an innovative design style, particularly in its use of brick and concrete, and survive relatively unaltered, including a large number of interior fittings. The building is set on a prominent site within the university campus, with the entrance on axis with the gatepiers and boundary wall from Hillhead House which was formerly located on the site. The reading room would have formed the centrepiece of a redeveloped quadrangle of university buildings, but this plan was never realised. Nonetheless the building retains a prominent setting with surrounding landscaped grounds further contributing to its interest. The Reading Room won the RIBA Bronze Medal, for the best building in Scotland 1936-49. It was funded from a bequest in memory of alumni, Robert and Edith McMillan, and cost £20,000 (approximately £575,000 in 2010). It was designed to house 565 of the 3000 undergraduates then matriculated at the University. The Reading Room was originally intended to stand in a courtyard formed by new University offices, lecture rooms and an art gallery, but the outbreak of the Second World War put an end to the building programme. The same architects were responsible for the contemporary Joseph Black Chemistry Building. The Reading Room stands on the site of Hillhead House, a villa of circa 1850 built by the muslin manufacturer and calico printer, Andrew Dalglish. The walls and (repositioned) gatepiers fronting University Avenue presumably date from the construction of Hillhead House. Formerly listed as `82 University Avenue, University of Glasgow, Reading Room'. List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building number is derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website www.gla.ac.uk.


Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan: Glasgow, 3rd edition, 1934; Glasgow University Archives, Drawings Collection Ref. GB 0248 GUA BUL/6/22/1-28; RCAHMS, RIAS Collection, T H Hughes work books; Architects¿ Journal (06/06/1940); Builder Vol. CLXI, (17 Oct 1941) pp. 348-350; RIBA Journal Vol. 57, (December 1949) p. 72 (obituary of Thomas Harold Hughes); RIAS Quarterly 1950; F Sinclair, Scotstyle, (1984), p. 92; C McKean, The Scottish Thirties, (1987) pp. 40, 126; C McKean, D Walker, F Walker, Central Glasgow: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Illustrated Architectural Guide, (1989) p. 187; E Williamson, A Riches, M Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, (1990) p. 345; A L Brown, M Moss, The University of Glasgow: 1451-1996, (1996) p. 56; Gordon R Urquhart, Along Great Western Road - An Illustrated History of Glasgow's West End, (2000), pp. 146, 174; Gordon R Urquhart, Friends of Glasgow West - Hillhead Heritage Trail, (2008) Building No. 1; M Hansell, H Harris, M Reilly & G D Ruxton, Architectural Treasures of the University of Glasgow, (2009) p. 57; `Reading Room' building search at www.scottisharchitects.org.uk (accessed 03-03-2010).

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).