- Glasgow University
- War Memorial Chapel

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


(1923, Sir J. J. Burnet)

This tall and slender Scots Gothic building filled the gap in the western side of the Main Buildings and was erected in memory of the 755 men associated with the university who died in the First World War. Burnet`s building fits neatly between Scott`s western pavilions and there are interesting differences between the two buildings, for example in the treatment of the windows. Many pieces of the exterior`s carvings are by Archibald Dawson.

The exterior of the chapel has a sculpture based on the 1453 seal of the university and in the centre of this is St Mungo. Around the figure are the words Versitatis Glasgvensis Sigillvm Commvne (`The seal of the community of the University of Glasgow`). Above this is a small carving of a female and below it are two angels; the angel on the left carries a fish and the one on the right holds a book. At the same level as the angels are four small winged carvings associated with the four evangelists: a man (St Matthew), a lion (St Mark), a calf (St Luke) and an eagle (St John). Below this are four tall lancets windows. The prominent stone balcony is in the form of an external pulpit and the memorial stone placed there is in the shape of a lectern; it carries the inscription In remembrance 1914-1918 1939-1945. Above the balcony is a sculpture of a pelican feeding her young, a medieval symbol for Christ`s sacrifice at the crucifixion. At the top of the chapel is an elaborate flêche, complete with winged medieval-style gargoyles.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

The chapel is in the middle of the western wing of the university and its construction completed the grand figure-of-eight design of the Main Buildings.

Two flights of stairs lead to the entrance porches and above these are the symbols of Glottiana and Rothseiana, two of the university`s four nations. Beyond the porches are vaulted corridors which lead into the chapel.

Further details about the building can be found in "The Glasgow Guide".

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