Basic Site Details

Name: Elder Public Library
Town, district or village: Govan
City or county: Glasgow
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: Elder Park Library is the only surviving Glasgow branch library which pre-dates the Carnegie Libraries. Opened on 5 September 1903 by Andrew Carnegie, it is the only Glasgow suburban library which he is recorded as having ever visited. The library, along with Elder Park, was donated to the burgh of Govan by Mrs Isabella Elder, the widow of the ship builder John Elder

The new Carnegie library at Elder N B (opened on the 5th inst) which is built in the classic style of architecture, occupies a site on the south-eastern corner of Elder Park. The principal elevation contains an entrance colonnade which forms a centre piece to the building. Surmounting this is a balustrade on which is carved the Govan coat of arms. The interior includes news-room, reference libraries, museum, juvenile room, librarianís room and lending library. Accommodation is provided in the last for between 30,000 and 40,000 volumes. The architect of the building is Mr John James Burrow (sic), Glasgow, and the cost is estimated at £27,000.[British Architect 11 September 1903 Page 199]

Govan, Glasgow.óThe Elder Free Library, which has been gifted to the burgh of Govan by Mrs John Elder, who has, in addition, endowed the building, was opened on Saturday afternoon by Dr Andrew Carnegie. The library, which is Classic in character, occupies a site at the southeast corner of Elder Park. An entrance portico forms the central features of the chief front. The interior includes newsroom, reference libraries for men and women, museum, juvenile room, librarian's room, and lending library. Accommodation is provided in the last for between 30,000 and 40,000 volumes. The architect is Mr. John James Burnet, A.R.S.A., Glasgow, and the cost has been £27,000. [Building News 18 September 1903 page 373]

Sculptors: Holmes and Jackson.

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 1Elder Park LibraryYes 

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Library  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 1228a, Langlands RoadYes 


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 219011903Build/constructionOriginal building
Item 2 of 219211925Alterations and additionsAlterations at rear, deepening the plan and re-erecting original rear elevation on new line


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 6(Sir) John James BurnetArchitectA19011903Original building
Item 2 of 6James Wilkie WeddellArchitectA19011903As apprentice/assistant to Burnet
Item 3 of 6John Burnet & SonArchitectural practiceA19011903Original building
Item 4 of 6Thomas Stewart PurdieArchitectA19011903As assistant to John James Burnet
Item 5 of 6Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)Architectural practiceB19211925Alterations at rear. With Nisbet as City Engineer
Item 6 of 6Thomas NisbetEngineerB19211925Alterations at rear. Nisbet as City Engineer


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 1Elder, Mrs Isabella the widow of the ship builder John Elder


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 3McKenzie, Ray2002Public sculpture of Glasgow (Public sculpture of Great Britain series) Liverpool University Pressp463
Item 2 of 3RSA1910   370
Item 3 of 3Williamson, Riches, Higgs1990Glasgow (The Buildings of Scotland)  p592

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Architect17 March 1905   
Item 2 of 4Architect7 April 1905   
Item 3 of 4British Architect11 September 1903  p199 - opening
Item 4 of 4Building News18 September 1903  p373 - opening

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 2Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register33310 
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers Thomas Stewart Purdie: L v25 no2068; James Wilkie Weddell: L v21 no1667