WHERE IS IT? At 100 Duke Street in the East End, opposite the Tennents Brewery and just south of the Necropolis
The RF and J Alexander’s Cotton Spinning Mill was a six-storey structure built by Glasgow architect Charles Wilson in 1848, using water from the Molendinar Burn that runs alongside it. However, it was transformed into the Great Eastern Hotel for homeless working men in 1908 by Neil C Duff.
The mill's fireproof construction has an outer rubble skin, beneath which rests a cast-iron frame supporting the brick vaults of the lower three floors. In contrast, mass concrete vaults supported by corrugated-iron arches maintained the upper floors, over which the roof was supported on light wrought-iron trusses. The original design was well regarded for its pioneering use of concrete and was the oldest known building to have corrugated iron within its structure. The conversion to a hotel for homeless working men required all of the mill’s heavy textile machinery to be removed. Communal facilities were installed in the ground floor and basement, while residential cubicles made of wood were installed in the upper levels.
The hotel was closed in 2001, but it was hoped the category A listed structure could be saved. However, the mix of mass concrete and corrugated iron within the frame raised safety fears that it would collapse. The Milnbank Housing Association, who had acquired the building in 1995, put into place a £14 million redevelopment plan. This involved demolishing most of the building to be converted into over 100 flats while retaining the front façade. The project was completed in late 2010.
The highlights for those only in Glasgow for a day or two
Glasgow has a vast selection of museums and art galleries
Buildings and designs by Scotland's most famous architect
The pioneer of sustainable building with many examples across Glasgow