Dowanhill Church, Glasgow, by William Leiper/

The former Dowanhill Church. Listed Building. William Leiper (1839-1916). 1865-6. Hyndland Street, Glasgow. Photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009/10. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

This Grade-A listed church makes a major contribution to the cityscape of this part of Glasgow. Leiper's first big commission, won when he was still only 26 (see Glendinning et al.296), is particularly noted for its steeple which, at 195 ft tall, is "among the finest surviving in Glasgow." It rises in four stages, including "a tall belfry stage of paired lancets," and is "crowned with a strikingly elegant spire" (Williamson et al. 356). This high tower with spire is said to have been designed under the influence of J. L. Pearson, for whom Leiper had been an assistant in London. It was restored in the 1980s and reopened as the Cottier Theatre, named after Daniel Cottier who was responsible for the interior, and closed again in 2004. Restoration work is still going on (see "The Cottier History").

The landmark neo-Gothic church made Leiper's reputation. In the 70s, he designed many fine houses and villas in Scotland, and was the architect of the exotic-looking Templeton Carpet Factory, seen in the background of the Doulton Fountain on Glasgow Green. He was a friend of William Burges, who along with Pearson and John Honeyman proposed him for fellowship of RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) in 1881 (see "William Leiper"). According to David Brett, who describes the Templeton Carpet Factory picturesquely as a "neo-Islamic-Byzantine-Venetian palazzo," although Leiper may not have influenced Charles Rennie Mackintosh directly, he nevertheless "existed as a local model for those who aspired to achieve an intense integration of ornament within the overall concept of a building" (38).


Brett, David. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Poetics of Workmanship. London: Reaktion Books, 2002.

The Cottier History.Viewed 6 February 2010.

Glendinning, Miles et al. A History of Scottish Architecture, from the Renaissance to the Present Day. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997.

"William Leiper" (Dictionary of Scottish Architects). Viewed 6 February 2010.

Williamson, Elizabeth., et al. Glasgow (The Buildings of Scotland series). London: Penguin, 1990.

Last modified 2 October 2012