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Provand's Lordship, Castle Street, Glasgow

I took this photograph of one of the older buildings in Glasgow back in 1975. I was an architectural student on an overseas trip and looking at architecture, new and old, with young curiosity. This shabby building near the cathedral caught my attention. Not exactly inspiring. Black with Glasgow soot and grime as were the adjoining tenement flats over shops.

But this is today one of Glasgow's prime tourist attractions. Cleaned up and amidst great hard and soft landscaping that knits the historic group of the Cathedral precinct buildings, the Provand's Lordship is now a museum. Actually it was then too, but you would hardly have known it. Strangely, that grimy state that I first saw it in is probably more reminiscent of what it was like through much of its existence. What we see today is a sanitised version to entertain our quest for historic Glasgow. Interestingly it is accompanied across the road by a new historical building in the form of the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.

Provand's Lordship is typical of the houses that once stood around this area in the precinct of the Cathedral and is the last surviving medieval domestic building. It was built in 1471 by the Bishop of Glasgow, Andrew Muirhead as part of the set of buildings that comprised St Nicholas's Hospital which stood to the south of it. It is thought that the actual front of the house faced west and opposite this side stood the Bishop's Castle, about where St Mungo's Museum now stands. The Bishop may not have lived here. Instead it was apparently part of the accommodation for one of the 32 canons of the Cathedral Chapter; each canon responsible for one of the prebends or areas into which the diocese was divided. The word “prebend” over time changed to “provand” by which name we are more familiar.

British Listed Buildings website : http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/200375493-glasgow-3-castle-street-provands-lordship-glasgow#.WOycwqFrjIU

Undiscovered Scotland website : http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/glasgow/provandslordship/



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