Sun Life Building

Glasgow CornersLength : 5 Minutes 56 Seconds

A solid sense of security

We stand back to take in the full scale of a large red sandstone building on the busy corner of West George Street and Renfield Street.

Niall is joined by Ronnie Scott, tour guide and historian, to discuss striking details of the former head office of the Sun, Fire and Life Insurance Company which was undoubtedly built to impress in 1889-96. With its dominant tower and ornate decoration, the Head Office of Sun, Fire and Life Insurance was intended to create a sense of security – assuring clients ‘your money is in safe hands’.

The name of the company is symbolised with many figures from Greek and Roman mythology representing night and day, darkness and light. Above them all, Aurora, goddess of the dawn, rides a chariot drawn by horses which seem to be leaping from the roof.

Here, with influences of French Renaissance and a tribute to Michelangelo, architect William Leiper and draughtsman William James Anderson were working towards what would become known as the Glasgow style