We have all heard of Old Father Time but did you know that city centre shoppers in Glasgow are watched over by Old Father Clyde.

Strictly speaking the impressive figure in St Vincent Place is only called Father Clyde - but he is undoubtedly old, just check out the long white beard and weather-beaten complexion.

In fact at this time of year he could be easily mistaken for a well-known seasonal traveler.

Father Clyde looks down from the grand and ornamental doorway of the Clydesdale Bank head office, across the street from what is now the Urban Bar and Brasserie.

The building was designed in 1874 by renowned Glasgow architect John Burnet. The head over the doorway, however, was the work of one Charles Grassby, who had moved to the city from London.

Grassby's intention was that Father Clyde should represent the river which was responsible - almost entirely at that time - for Glasgow's prosperity.

The Victorian era was a golden age of architecture in the city. Many aspiring young men created intricate and beautiful artwork, some of which has thankfully survived the wrecking ball.

As well as Messrs Burnet and Grassby, the bank building showcases the work of Glasgow architect John Mossman, who sculpted the ornamental carvings around the doorway.

Grassby was one of many sculptors and carvers who carried out work on Glasgow City Chambers. His home, until his death in 1910, was in Apsley Street, Partick.

His son, also Charles, carried on the practice after his death and the family sculpting name lives on in the firm of Grassby Stonemasons in Dorset, founded by his brother Benjamin.

The building is still in use as a bank. At one time the building next to it housed the now defunct Evening Citizen newspaper.

Father Clyde is worth a look next time you're passing - if only to remind yourself of the of the city's architectural heyday and the debt it owes to the river that passes through it.

Clydesdale Bank Building,30-40 St Vincent Place

John Burnet (1814-1901) designed this building in 1874, and it served as the Clydesdale Bank's Headquarters until 1902. Burnet chose to use a lot of ornamentation on the front. Over the doorway is the head of Father Clyde, representing the River which had brought the city so much of its prosperity. This was sculpted by Charles Grassby, but the rest of the sculpture is by John Mossman (1817-1890). In the small roundels are bas-relief figures, which are protected by nets to stop birds from damaging them. The larger figurative sculptures represent values which the bank wanted to associate themselves with - this one shows Industry.

This pair of figures represent Commerce. Below is a small carving showing a galleon sailing the ocean. At the start of the new Millenium, it is easy to forget how vital the shipping industry was for Glasgow. But in the architectural sculpture of the city, there are many poignant reminders.