Glasgow city centre’s skyline is now dominated by modern glass skyscrapers, but almost one hundred years ago, there was just one building that stood above the rest.

Today, the Beresford still stands tall on Sauchiehall Street, a cut above the cityscape in both history and character.

The seven-storey masterpiece is one of Glasgow’s most recognisable and cherished examples of Art Deco or 'streamline moderne' architecture, and it is protected as a category B-listed building.

Glasgow Times: The Beresford Hotel, 1952 Pic: Glasgow Times


It opened in 1938 to provide accommodation for those visiting Glasgow for the Empire Exhibition, and it was the tallest building erected in the city at the time.

With a price tag of £170,000 – roughly £14 million with today’s inflation – the building was designed by architect William Beresford Inglis, who worked in the city’s nearby Blythswood Square.

He was the creative mind behind some of Glasgow’s ‘golden era’ cinemas, including the Toledo in the Southside, the Vogue in Knightswood and the Hippodrome.

Glasgow Times:

Inglis was also the Beresford's owner and managing director, and it was requisitioned and used to house American and British soldiers during the Second World War.

In 1939, a then 22-year-old John F. Kennedy gave his first public address at the Beresford on behalf of his father, then-US Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy.

He spoke to survivors of the Govan-built passenger liner the Athenia after it was torpedoed by a German U-boat at the outbreak of the war, killing 98 passengers and 19 crew.

Glasgow Times: Beresford Hotel illustration for opening,1938Beresford Hotel illustration for opening,1938 (Image: Newsquest)

In the mid-1960s the Beresford took on a new name, Baird Hall, to go with its new purpose. It was converted into halls of residence for students at Strathclyde University.

Named after Scottish inventor John Logie Baird, the new facility was opened by his widow in October 1965.

In keeping with the name, Baird memorabilia was donated to the building by Radio Rentals Ltd, including a ‘televisor receiver’ – a very early model of his famous invention, the television.

Glasgow Times:

For forty years, the students of Strathclyde University lived in a palace of Art Deco style. The ground floor’s reception area featured a 1930s-era revolving door made from glass, and the grand sweeping staircase led to each of the seven floors in a tight rectangular spiral.

Baird Hall closed as student accommodation in the summer of 2004 and work then began to transform it into flats for private ownership.


After briefly opening as a casino from 2009 to 2012, the building now consists solely of flats.

There had been plans to open a restaurant, cocktail bar nightclub – as well as a function room named after JFK – within the building, in keeping with the Art Deco theme, but last year these ideas were shelved.