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Charles Rennie McIntosh or Mackintosh?

Updated: May 11, 2022

by Liv Barber

Charles Rennie Mackintosh – world famous architect, artist and designer who took Glasgow by storm. Born in Glasgow in 1868, over the course of his life both Charles and his wife, Margaret, had huge influence over the city’s design and style. From tearooms to newspaper headquarters, the Mackintosh’s did it all! But was he always known as Charles Rennie Mackintosh?

Mackintosh at the Willow, Sauchiehall Street

In short: No! Charles’ father, William McIntosh worked for the City of Glasgow Police for over 40 years. He founded the police athletics club and even participated in the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888, held in what is now Kelvingrove Park.

William McIntosh was recorded to have changed the spelling of the family name to what we all know today as ‘Mackintosh’ in the late 1880’s. There is little information or resources available as to why this happened – but with a bit of digging into Scottish census records we have a possible solution!

McIntosh – their original surname, was one of the most popular surnames in Scotland between the 1800-1900's. Whereas Mackintosh – the latter spelling, was far less common! So potentially, William McIntosh saw Charles’ potential and thought he would better stand out from his peers with a more unique surname?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


This leads nicely to our latest update! Here at Walking Tours in Scotland we’ve been busy prepared for our ALL NEW Charles Rennie Mackintosh Tour! Created in partnership with Mackintosh at the Willow, with support and funding from Experience Glasgow.

With public and private tours available, you can explore the life, works and tales of Glasgow's most famous designer, architect and artist. Join us as we wander the streets of Mackintosh's home city to experience and witness his lasting legacy.

With your expert guide, you'll take a deeper look at his life, marriage, influences and incredible expertise; visiting some of his most famous works that still stand to this day, his first married home, and some lesser known treasures along the way.

Find out more and book yourself a spot at here.

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