Welcome to this tour of the upper floors of Alexander "Greek" Thomson's Egyptian Halls from September 2012, showing the interiors which have been unoccupied for over 30 years.
When Egyptian Halls were built, there was an increasing demand for warehouses and factories with large continuous floors.
Thomson's design involved an iron frame built into the masonry, spreading the loads from the floors which were supported internally by wrought iron I-beams carried on cast iron columns.
The exposed parts of the neglected structure provide a fascinating insight into the construction methods of the 1870's.


Here we are looking up at a rusty I-beam which terminates in a cast-iron channel tied into the framework embedded in the external wall. The surrounding timbers and lathing have all deteriorated and the ceiling plaster has fallen away to reveal the composition of the floor above, with a network of small iron joists surrounded by a loose mix "clinker concrete" to provide fireproofing.
Early forms of concrete were not reinforced in the sense we know today, but here the materials used and the mixes on site were carefully specified to produce a material which has retained its stuctural integrity for over 140 years.

Rusty beam supporting concrete floor of Egyptian Halls

Rusty beam supporting concrete floor of Egyptian Halls


At first floor level you can see rows of remarkably slender cast iron columns providing a large uninterrupted space with no internal masonry. The columns lacked the flamboyant decoration usually associated with Thomson, having simple saucer shaped capitals.

First floor of Egyptian Halls

First floor of Egyptian Halls


The second floor shows more signs of deterioration, with disintegrating floors and exposed masonry. The cast iron columns however seem remarkably well preserved.

Second Floor of Egyptian Halls

Second Floor of Egyptian Halls


On the third floor you can study the construction in more detail, including the exposed wrought iron I-beams. The earliest forms of wrought iron beams, dating from mid-century, produced a great advance in industrial construction. They provided a strong and economic element in the fabrication of the factories and warehouses of the Industrial Revolution.
Compared to wrought iron, cast iron is too rigid a material to be used in beams requiring flexibility when carrying varying loads.
Although these early I-beams were more subject to corrosion than the later steel versions, there was an understanding of the need for protection and the ironwork in the Egyptian Halls was preserved by painting and encasement.

Third Floor of Egyptian Halls

Third Floor of Egyptian Halls


Here you can see riveted metal sheeting at the connection of a wrought iron beam and a supporting column.

Wrought iron beam supported by cast iron column

Wrought iron beam supported by cast iron column


Here the disintegrating floor structure can be examined close up, even though it is covered with plaster which has fallen from the ceiling.
Plywood sheeting has been been laid over the some of the disintegrating timber boards to allow access for surveys.

Disintegrating floor of Egyptian Halls

Disintegrating floor of Egyptian Halls


Sunlit doorway at Egyptian Halls

Sunlit doorway at Egyptian Halls


Thomson motif on stairway at Egyptian Halls

Thomson motif on stairway at Egyptian Halls


A small mezzanine floor with 2 metre headroom has been built at the shop unit at 100 Union Street, allowing a close up view of the original plaster cornices, column capitals and ceiling roses. You can also have a peek over the suspended ceiling, where the cornices and columns are still in place.

Top of column viewed from mezzanine floor at Egyptian Halls

Top of column viewed from mezzanine floor at Egyptian Halls


Plaster cornice at Egyptian Halls

Plaster cornice at Egyptian Halls


Ceiling Rose at Egyptian Halls

Ceiling Rose at Egyptian Halls


View over suspended ceiling at shop unit in Egyptian Halls

View over suspended ceiling at shop unit in Egyptian Halls


View of the glass roof of Central Station from the top of Egyptian Halls

View of the glass roof of Central Station from the top of Egyptian Halls


Curtain covering frontage of Egyptian Halls

Curtain covering frontage of Egyptian Halls at Union Street


Thomson Motif in stonework at entrance to Egyptian Halls, Glasgow

Thomson Motif in stonework at entrance to Egyptian Halls, Glasgow


Alexander Greek Thomson

Thomson's Villas

Thomson's Terraces

Holmwood House

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Alexander Greek Thomson portrait created with graphite and coloured pencils by Gerald Blaikie. Exclusive copyright© G.Blaikie 2011

Thomson's Tenements

Thomson's Churches

Thomson's Warehouses

Inside Egyptian Halls

All original artwork, photography and text © Gerald Blaikie 2017
Unauthorised reproduction of any image on this website is not permitted.

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