What is it?
The Merchant City Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) aims to improve the environmental and economic base of Glasgow's Merchant City, which lies at the historic core of Glasgow, situated immediately east and south of George Square. The work of the Initiative is made up of two strands:
- administering a programme of property and public realm improvement grants
- implementation of Glasgow City Council's Five Year Action Plan which runs from 2007-2012
The THI grants programme is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise and aims to improve the quality of the built environment in the area. Grants are primarily aimed at owners of historic buildings within an area of the Merchant City bounded by High Street/Glasgow Cross/Saltmarket in the east, George Street to the north, Glassford Street/Stockwell Street in the west and the River Clyde in the south.
To date about £5 million of grants to 40 different projects have been awarded over 2 phases between 2000 and present. These include projects as diverse as:
- the restoration of the medieval Tron Steeple,
- repairs to the A listed City Halls and adjoining Old Fruitmarket
- conversion of a Council owned early twentieth century warehouse to an art centre at Trongate 103
- refurbishment of the façade of the historic Britannia Panopticon Music Hall
- restoration of a large Edwardian warehouse to provide a centre for the arts and artist studio space
- conversion of a former Bathhouse to an arts centre
- reinstatement of a number of traditional shopfronts
- extensive public realm works
- and the restoration of one of the few remaining TARDIS style Police Boxes.
The Initiative is now in its last year of operation but there are still a number of projects on site or shortly to go on site such as:
- the conversion of a large Edwardian warehouse to house creative and cultural businesses
- repairs to the railings and main building of the A listed Ramshorn Church
- public realm works to historic streets and wynds, and
- restoration of the historic Medieval Tollbooth at Glasgow Cross.
Merchant City Action Plan
The Merchant City Initiative is also charged with much of the implementation of Glasgow City Council's Merchant City Action Plan - running from 2003-2012. This seeks to build on the area's renewal through a multi-faceted approach. Under this programme the Initiative has co-ordinated:
- the refurbishment of over 40 vacant Council-owned shop units
- 'marked out' and publicised the area through the erection of 10 metre high steel totems
- pavement plaques and a range of visitor literature
- established a security shutter grant scheme and programme of hanging baskets and public art support
- assisted the local community to design site community notice boards
- worked with City Markets and local companies to establish a monthly fresh food market and
- has taken the lead in helping to form a co-operative of local businesses to act as a forum for discussion and jointly promote the Merchant City to visitors and locals alike.
For more information, please contact:
Merchant City Initiative
Development and Regeneration Services
Glasgow City Council
231 George Street
Glasgow G1 1RX