New Beginnings
1951-1970

After the end of the Second World War Glasgow and its Arts School began a long process of recovery and renewal. While the Victorian centre of the city remained fairly unchanged, an extensive programme of building work in the suburbs and outskirts created housing, business premises, and schools in a new modernist architectural style. GSA itself opened two new buildings, The Foulis in 1964 and The Newbery Tower in 1971, to house its design courses.

Design disciplines such as textiles and graphics flourished in this period as materials became more widely available and the consumer market recovered. Approaches to painting continued to focus on the figure and on landscape. However, work from this period shows a move towards abstraction and experimentation with colour and texture. Travel scholarships were re-established after the War, and this allowed students to experience firsthand the art and design of Europe from Italy in the South to Scandinavia in the North. The annual GSA fashion show was introduced in the late 1940s and the drama society was particularly active in the 1960s.

Browse 1951-1970 images ›


Some key facts for this period include:
  • 1951 – Student Numbers: 1591
  • 1951 – Premises at no. 160 Renfrew Street is purchased completing the School’s ownership of the entire block of buildings
  • 1952 – Student Numbers: 1633
  • 1953 – Student Numbers: 1528
  • 1954 – Student Numbers: 1606
  • 1955 – Student Numbers: 1581
  • 1956 – Student Numbers: 1615
  • 1957 – Student Numbers: 1696
  • 1958 – Student Numbers: 1599
  • 1958 – Decision made to erect new buildings on site of the old dental hospital and at 160-162 Renfrew Street
  • 1959 – Student Numbers: 1715
  • 1960 – Student Numbers: 1834
  • 1961 – Student Numbers: 1945
  • 1961 – Work begins on Foulis Building
  • 1961 – Decision made for Newbery Tower to be built for intended use by the Architecture Department
  • 1961 – Mosaic in entrance hall of Mackintosh Building created
  • 1962 – Student Numbers: 2026
  • 1962 – Glasgow School of Art acquires a part-time course in Planning, independently of the Glasgow School of Architecture
  • 1962 – A record player is purchased for the School at the Director’s request – a concert of records is played weekly
  • 1963 – Student Numbers: 2089
  • 1964 – Descriptive Geometry and Perspective no longer examinable subjects
  • 1964 – Student Numbers: 2267
  • 1964 – Approval sought for full-time Town Planning course but decision is made for it to be taught at University of Strathclyde
  • 1964 – Harry J. Barnes is promoted to Director (holds post until 1980)
  • 1964 – Glasgow School of Architecture ceases to exist and remaining students transfer to University of Strathclyde
  • 1965 – Villa at 17 Scott Street purchased for future expansion (thought to be the site of current GSA Library)
  • 1965 – Student Numbers: 2222
  • 1966 – Student Numbers: 2310
  • 1966 – Temporary accommodation leased at no. 195 Bath Street and occupied by Weaving and Embroidery
  • 1966 – No. 203 Pitt Street rented to accommodate displaced classes
  • 1966 – Department of Planning housed at no. 197 Bath Street
  • 1966 – Culzean Castle begins to be used as a residential hostel and studio for use by the students
  • 1967 – Fire doors in corridors and mezzanine levels in studios are installed in Mackintosh Building
  • 1967 – Student Numbers: 1945
  • 1967 – Haldane Building bought from the Territorial Army (formerly a drill hall) for £31,000
  • 1967 – Liberal and Complimentary Studies introduced
  • 1967 – Hostel at Culzean Castle officially opened
  • 1967 – Construction of Newbery Tower begins
  • 1968 – Student Numbers: 1842
  • 1968 – Last of Glasgow School of Architecture students graduate from University of Strathclyde
  • 1968 – New Campus buildings named Foulis Building, Newbery Tower, Bourdon Building and Haldane Building
  • 1968 – Plans for Bourdon Building drawn up
  • 1968 – 114 Hill St purchased to be used as a female student hostel
  • 1968 – Two flats leased on Renfrew Street to house the Architecture Department
  • 1968 – Four flats leased on Bath Street to house the Planning Department and Liberal Studies
  • 1969 – Student Numbers: 1610
  • 1969 – Bilsland House hostel for female students opens on Hill Street
  • 1970 – Student Numbers: 1634
  • 1970 – Gilbert Innes hostel for male students opens at 262 Renfrew Street
  • 1970 – Mackintosh School of Architecture is established with degrees accredited by Glasgow University
Flyer for Glasgow School of Art Fashion Show, 1954

Flyer for Glasgow School of Art Fashion Show, 1954