Queens Cross Church

Maryhill (1896-1899)

‘Home of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society...'

Queen’s Cross Church – originally Garscube Road Free Church - is a former Church of Scotland parish church in Glasgow. It is the only church designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh to have been built, and as such it is also occasionally known as The Mackintosh Church.

In 1896, the Free Church of St Matthew, Glasgow, commissioned a new church and hall from the experienced Glasgow architectural practice of Honeyman and Keppie, to be located within the developing area of Springbank, near Maryhill.

John Honeyman allocated the job to his young, talented, trainee architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. On most of his projects from this era, Mackintosh was given freedom to do most of what he wanted.

The site was an awkward one, being on a corner plot and butted by tenements and a large warehouse. Unlike many churches in Glasgow, Mackintosh’s church doesn’t have a huge towering spire, and is rather squat and more like a Norman Castle, called ‘Modern gothic’ by other architects.
The main south-west tower was modelled on one at Merriot in Somerset which Mackintosh visited in 1895. In keeping with their beliefs, the Free Church required simplicity in design. Although the stained glass windows are not ‘spectacular’ compared to other churches and cathedrals, they are distinctly Mackintosh in design.

Although he designed an Anglican Cathedral for Liverpool, as part of a competition, it was never built, so Queen’s Cross was the only Mackintosh church to be completed. Building started shortly after Mackintosh finished his competition design for the Glasgow School of Art.

After the church was decommissioned in the 1970’s the church became home of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, which owns and operates the building as a tourist attraction.