Glasgow Sheriff Court granted listed building status

Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: Graeme Hunter Pictures
Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: Graeme Hunter Pictures
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GLASGOW Sheriff Court is the first post-war court facility in the country to be named as a listed building in Scotland.

The building, built 1986, has been listed by Historic Scotland as a grade B structure who praised the building’s architecture, durability and significance to the city.

Picture: Graeme Hunter Pictures

Picture: Graeme Hunter Pictures

Elizabeth McCrone, head of listing and designed landscapes at Historic Scotland said: “Glasgow and Strathkelvin Sheriff Court is an important public commission built in Scotland during the 1970s and early 1980s and is an excellent example of modern court architecture.

“One of just 256 listed post-war buildings in Scotland, its new B-listed status is a recognition of the role it plays in the story of Scotland’s post-war architecture.”


The ground works of the construction phase of the new three storey court building began in 1979 on a vacant site in the Gorbals area of the city on the South side of the River Clyde.

Picture: Graeme Hunter Pictures

Picture: Graeme Hunter Pictures

The new court was constructed almost entirely with materials that have withstood the test of centuries. Granite used for the entablature and column facing came from the Danish Isle of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and had never before been used in the form of slabs on a building.

The designers demanded meticulous attention and consideration be given for all material used such as sandstone and limestone; even reopening a redundant quarry in Teeside specifically to produce the stone required. When considering the use of timber, each log had to be assessed to ensure it contained enough for a particular room or courts to ensure the consistency of the grain.

The court was considered ahead of its time when it opened and had state of the art technology including methods to artificially ventilate and insulate court rooms, computer assisted effective heating and energy use, fire detection and surveillance. Throughout the building there is a mix of both natural and artificial light that especially evident in the atrium; creating an atmosphere reflective of the majesty of the law.

Sheriff Principal Craig Scott of Glasgow and Strathkelvin unveiled a plaque on Wednesday with invited guests from the Judiciary, Scottish Court Service, Historic Scotland, Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council, G4S and other court users.

Sheriff Principal Craig Scott said: “The Sheriff Court building on the south bank of River Clyde in Glasgow continues to accommodate the requirements of the justice system in much the same way as it has done for the best part of 30 years.

“The volume of business has, of course, increased dramatically, however the building has shown itself to be resilient and adaptive. With anything up to 2,000 court users crossing its threshold on a daily basis, Glasgow Sheriff Court is reckoned to be the busiest court in Europe, let alone Scotland. As such, it has now established its place in Glasgow folklore.

“The listing of the building and its enduring qualities are tributes to its original design team and to the quality of materials used in its construction and long may it continue to serve the people of Glasgow.”