The Glasgow Free Church [Teacher] Training College (or Free Church Normal Seminary, as it was first known) was founded in the aftermath of the Disruption of the Church of Scotland, 1843, when one third of the clergy and laity left the Established Church. The Normal Seminary founded at Dundas Vale by David Stow had been transferred to the ownership of the Church of Scotland, as a condition of the award of government grant. Arrangements for the transfer were concluded in 1845, and the Church of Scotland refused to employ adherents of the Free Church. David Stow, almost the entire staff, students and pupils left Dundas Vale and founded a new Free Church Normal Seminary in Cowcaddens Street, at first in temporary premises but later in a handsome stone building.
The Free Church College flourished, particularly under the rectorships of Thomas Morrison (1852-1898) and John Adams (1898-1902). Its later relations with the Established Church College were more amicable than at the time of its founding. From 1900-1907, it was known as the United Free Church Training College after the amalgamation of the Free Church with the United Presbyterians. In recognition of the increasing secularisation of education and society, the college came under secular control in 1907. Four Provincial Committees were formed to administer teacher training in Scotland based on the notional 'provinces' served by the ancient universities, and the Glasgow Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers assumed control of both Church Training Colleges in 1907.