Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 12:39 UK
Greek Thomson's Sixty Steps
Alexander Greek Thomson's Sixty Steps in Glasgow's West End
The Sixty Steps Preservation Trust are hoping the structure can be restored

Alexander "Greek" Thomson's Sixty Steps can be found in Glasgow's West End.

The Steps are the focus of a restoration appeal organised by the Greek Thomson Sixty Steps Preservation Trust.

They were designed by celebrated architect Greek Thomson in the 1870s to provide an access point to Queen Margaret Bridge, now destroyed.

The Trust is hoping the West End landmark can be restored to its former glory.

'Delight and terror'

The Sixty Steps Trust was established almost five years ago by a group of local residents, the majority of whom are on the committee.

Pleasure garden at the Sixty Steps
The pleasure garden at the Sixty Steps has fallen into disrepair

Chair of the Trust, Fiona Wallace, explains why the Trust was formed: "We were galvanized into action following a public meeting called by the Community Council at which many of us first discovered that, legally, we actually own the wall and steps. With a mixture of both delight and terror, some of us agreed to take on the challenge and the creation of the Trust was one of the first things we did."

The B-listed Sixty Steps which connect Garriochmill Road to Kelvinside Terrace are unusual in that they are Thomson's sole surviving structure.

Thomson was heavily influenced by the classical lines of ancient Greek architecture as well as India and Egypt. However he was not content to just copy the ancients and gave a light and modern touch to his buildings and structures.

Architectural treasure-trove

As part of the West End Festival, historian Roger Guthrie led a walk through Glasgow's West End examining Alexander Greek Thomson's buildings including the Sixty Steps. Guthrie explained that the structure is more than just a public staircase connecting one street to another. Designed towards the end of Thomson's life, the steps are an architectural treasure-trove.

Blank doorway in Sixty Steps structure
The blank doorway in the Sixty Steps is thought to represent mortality

A blank doorway is cut into the retaining wall of the Sixty Steps perhaps signifying Thomson's thoughts on mortality with the door representing a passageway into the next life. Thomson was to die from lung disease in 1875. The steps were completed in 1872.

The grand retaining wall curves around and above the steps and features Thomson's trademark architectural details with cut in and carved stonework. A pleasure garden forms part of the Sixty Steps structure. The Pleasure Gardens view-point at the top is designed in Thomson's Greek style with pillars framing the scene looking out across the River Kelvin.

The Sixty Steps are now in a state of disrepair and the Trust is hoping to gain funds from sources such as the Heritage Lottery Fund once the structure is transferred from private to public ownership, from the residents to the Trust.

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