The Glasgow Normal Seminary was established by the Glasgow Educational Society as a training school for teachers. The foundation stone was laid at Dundas Vale in the Cowcaddens area of Glasgow in 1836, and the seminary opened in October 1837.
The seminary was run as a private concern, until, in 1841, the government made it a condition of financial support that the seminary be handed over to the Church of Scotland, which at that time had a major role in the provision of education. Negotiations were still in progress in 1843, when the great Disruption of the Church of Scotland took place, and the Established Church refused to continue in employment those who adhered to the Free Church. In 1845, David Stow, the entire staff, students and pupils left the seminary to found the Free Church Training College a short distance away from Dundas Vale. The Dundas Vale building continued in use as the Glasgow Church of Scotland Training College.