Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Andrew Lindsay Miller
(fl. c.1874-1916)
An architectural practice founded by Andrew Lindsay Miller (1847-1903), with offices in Glasgow and Cambuslang.

Miller first appears in the Post Office Directory in 1874, with an address at 121 West Regent Street, later moving to 122 Wellington Street. After his death, the business was continued by his sons. In 1904, the firm moved to 19 Blythswood Square, as A. Lindsay Miller & son. After another son joined the practice between 1919-13, they worked as A. Lindsay Miller & Sons. Thereafter the firm reverted to A. Lindsay Miller & Son until closing in 1916.

Miller’s documented buildings in Glasgow are rare, with few, if any, having survived the demolition derbies of the 1970s and ‘80s, which robbed the city of much of its architectural sculpture.

One of the most grievous losses was his Dominion Rubber Company warehouse at 42-50 Cadogan Street, which included no less than sixteen portrait heads across its facade by an unidentified sculptor (1874-6).

Designed in the Gothic style, with two large, arched windows flanking an oriel window at its centre, and a splendid cornice and pinnacled gable at its attic, the building and its sculpture were noteworthy enough to be discussed in the Notes and Queries’ column in the Glasgow Citizen on 28 October, 1933, after a reader had inquired about the building’s history and the portrait heads.

According to the paper, fourteen of the heads projected outwards from under the building’s cornice in a horizontal line, and represented ‘famous inventors and workers among iron’ (although their identities have yet to be confirmed, one of the inventors’ heads would undoubtedly have been of James Watt, whilst Baird, Connal and 'hot blast' Neilson would probably have been amongst the ironmasters).

The remaining two heads were on shields flanking the main entrance. These portrayed the building’s owners, John Adam Leslie and John Hall, the general metal and tinplate merchants, whose initials were also on metal plates at the door. Gargoyles and organic carving at the arched windows, together with a further line of heads or ornament across the ground floor, completed the building’s sculpture scheme.

Photographs of this fascinating building in 1959 and '60 are on the Virtual Mitchell website (VM: C2403 and C4059).

In 1881, Miller was one of 110 architects who entered the second design competition for the City Chambers. His designs were in ‘a lively renaissance style’ and were submitted anonymously (as were all the others) under the Latin motto Nisi Dominus Frustra but, although they impressed the adjudicators, they failed to reach the final ten.

The firm's Cambuslang office was closely involved in the town’s development and the designing of its churches and schools. Their important buildings there include:

Cambuslang Public School (Cambuslang College Annexe), Greenlees Road (1882); Cambuslang Institute, Greenlees Road (1892-8); the Old Parish Church Halls, Cairns Road (1895-7); and the New Free Church (1897).

Sources:

  • Williamson et al. ., pp. 501-3;
  • PODs , 1874-1916;
  • ET : The New Free Church In Cambuslang, 26 August 1897, p. 2;
  • ML : Glasgow Scrapbook, no. 17, p. 23: Glasgow Citizen Glasgow Notes And Queries, 28 October, 1933;
  • VM : C2403 (photo: 1959), C4059 (photo: 1960);
  • Nisbet, in McKenzie (2002) , Lost Works, pp. 434-5.

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