The new Burgh Hall building at Gairbraid Avenue was formally opened on Friday 26th April 1878. It came about due to the result of the increasing population growth in the town of Maryhill and the lawlessness this created.
The H.M. Inspector of Police for Scotland insisted that the Maryhill Police Commissioners took steps to provide a more suitable building for police purposes. They allocated a portion of ground at the junction of Gairbraid Avenue and Wyndford Street, (now Maryhill Road) and plans were prepared which included the necessary police accommodation, court room, and a public hall to seat 900.
From the Glasgow Herald, Saturday April 20, 1878:
New Municipal Buildings At Maryhill
Though the burgh of Maryhill presents few attractions to the rambler in search of the picturesque, its development and dimensions exhibit many pleasing signs of progress. Of late years its growth has been rapid, and it is now fast assuming the proportions of a large and thriving town. [...] Plans and estimates prepared by Mr McNaughtan, architect, Glasgow, were accepted by the Commissioners, and building operations were commenced in the summer of 1876. [...]
The new buildings, which are handsome in appearance and a decided ornament to the locality, have been treated, architecturally, according to the French Renaissance style. They are situated on a piece of ground bounded by Wyndford Street on the north, and Gairbraid Avenue on the south[...]. The buildings are planned so as to be connected in one group, the various departments being kept separate by the internal arrangements. The main frontage has in its centre a massive porch, approached from the roadway by a flight of steps, and above it is a plastered break carried up to the level of the wall head, and crowned by an ornamental pediment, in which it is proposed by-and-by to place a clock. This portion of the building embraces Police Court, commissioners’ room, collectors’ room, clerks and burgh surveyor’s offices, &c, &c. Entrance is also obtained by this front through a corridor to the public hall, and by a private entrance to the police department. This department fronts Gairbraid Avenue, and embraces captain’s room, medical officer’s room, men’s muster room, Police Office, waiting room, and 15 cells, four of which have been specially designed for the accommodation of “drunks”. Careful consideration has been given to the sanitary requirements of this department, the arrangements for heating, ventilation, and cleaning the cells being very complete, while a lavatory and bath-room has beeb provided for the use of the constables.
The public hall extends along Wyndford Street and presents a pleasing and handsome appearance. It is expected to afford accommodation for 1000 persons, and the lighting and ventilation are exceedingly effective, while there are abundant facilities for ingress and egress. On the hall windows are representations of the the various trades and manufactures carried on in the Burgh, and it is proposed in the course of time to furnish the hall with an organ. [...]
The masonary work had been carried out by Messrs J & W Murray, Maryhill; the woodwork by Mr Archibald Macfarlane, and Mr Peter McOmish has acted as clerk of works; while the works have been carried out under the supervision of Mr McNaughtan, the architect.
From the Glasgow Herald, Saturday April 27, 1878:
Opening of New Municipal Buildings At Maryhill
The New Burgh Buildings and Public Hall erected by the Commissioners of Police of the burgh of Maryhill, and which were recently described in the Herald, were formally opened yesterday afternoon. The proceedings took the form of a cake and wine banquet, and there was a large attendance of gentlemen connected with Maryhill and the other suburban burghs. After an inspection of those parts of the buildings which are intended for the use of the Commissioners and their officials, the company assembled in front of the entrance to the Public Hall, where Bailie Murray presented Provost Robertson with a silver key, with which the Provost opened the hall door and invited the company to enter. [...]
The silver keys presented to Provost Robertson and ex-Provost Shaw were formed so as to be suitable for fish-slicers, and were supplied by Mr Sorley, jeweller, Argyll Street.
In the evening an assembly took place in the new Public Hall, which was numerously attended.
The design work was carried out by Duncan McNaughtan, a local Glasgow based architect. He was born in Rutherglen in 1845. In 1863 he started work with William Spence, a well established architect. Between 1868 and 1870 he worked in London and in 1871 returned to Glasgow to commence business on his own account at 178 St. Vincent Street.
It would appear that he won a competition in 1876 to design the Maryhill Burgh Halls. It resembles a French hotel. The reasoning behind this choice of design is not known, but it was a style that was relatively popular both in Glasgow and internationally in the 1870s.
McNaughtan himself did not favour any particular style during his career, using Gothic at Polmadie UP Church (1895-7), Baltic/Scandinavian at the Baltic Chambers (1899-1900) and Scottish Renaissance at Royston School (1906). He died in Bearsden in 1912.