Although not open to the public, the Martyrs’ School has a special place in the Mackintosh collection because it stands on Parson Street, where the man himself was born in 1868. The red sandstone building, once set in the middle of a densely populated area of tenements, is now rather isolated above the main road, just 5 minutes walk from Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
When the “Martyrs’ Public School” was commissioned in 1895, the local architect firm Honeyman & Keppie, for whom Mackintosh worked as a senior assistant, received the brief to construct a school to accommodate 1000 pupils. 20 years after the inauguration of the Education Act in Scotland in 1872, the authorities established a design convention for new schools across Glasgow, a convention that Mackintosh adhered to in his own design. All schools were to be symmetrical, with separate entrances for boys and girls. Martyrs’ School is almost symmetrical, apart from a chimney on the southern side, and has Mackintosh’s distinctive Art Nouveau features around the windows and doorways.