Demolition should be the last straw for historic buildings

ONE crisp October morning, I had the privilege of climbing to the top of the clock tower of Hutchesons' Hall in Glasgow.

Loading Comments
Share
Print

You know, that gorgeous white Christmas cake of a building in Ingram Street that has become a gleaming beacon of what a little time, money and care can mean for the city's built heritage.

By the time I had reached its cramped vantage point, my hands, clothes and lungs were full of the remnants of centuries of squatting pigeons.

"That's nothing," said the conservator, who told me the pigeon dirt was at waist height before his team moved in.

The question is, why was this National Trust for Scotland-owned building, this 210-year-old jewel in the crown of our architectural history, allowed to fall into such disrepair?

It seems that for every St Andrew's In The Square, Briggait or Pearce Institute that is saved, there is a Springburn Public Halls, Coliseum or Shack nightclub that bites the dust.

Demolition should be the last straw, but it often appears the cheapest, hassle-free option.

Looking at the images of how the former Odeon in Renfield Street will look after its transformation into a 10-storey office and retail complex, I can't imagine there will be many tears shed when this structure of glass and steel comes to be replaced in a few generations.

That eyesore of a former bank being demolished on the corner of Ingram Street and Queen Street certainly will not be missed for its contribution to the cityscape.

What has happened to building things to last?

It is depressing that the campaign to save the Renfield Street Odeon, which has hosted The Beatles, Stones and Roy Orbison, can't have more than its Art Deco entrance saved even when there is a millionaire theatre impresario like Sir Cameron Mackintosh on its bandwagon.

What chance do other buildings at risk have without celebrity support?

I would like to give tennis star Andy Murray a hearty pat on the back for putting up his own cash to buy Cromlix House Hotel in Perthshire.

And the plan to transform the former Loudoun Castle theme park in Ayrshire into a five-star resort could breathe new life into a derelict structure, as well as bringing jobs to the area.

Similarly, the transformation of the A-listed Egyptian Halls in Union Street, Glasgow, into a £20million four-star hotel can only improve a street that has become like a sprawling, rundown bus stance.

If only the property market was not so stagnant, then perhaps buildings like these would not have to lie empty for years before plans can be put into action.

I would like the Scottish Government to offer big incentives for construction companies to work in tandem with bodies such as the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust to enhance rather than eradicate buildings at risk.

Let's serve the pigeons their eviction notices and banish the trees growing out of gutters for good.

Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

116988

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
Games news:

A legacy of fitness for the city

Support the campaign

In the year Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games, the Evening Times is launching its Active 2014 campaign in partnership with Glasgow Life and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to improve people's health and build a lasting legacy of physical wellbeing.

Entertainment

Lifestyle

Home Deliv
Ask the Doctor - Help and advice about medical problems from Dr George Crooks

Ask the Doctor

Help and advice about medical problems from Dr George Crooks

Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

Burns Supper success and the man who shot Che Guevara.

TV ad
Laying down the Law - Ask Austin Lafferty for legal advice on everything from debt to divorce

Laying down the Law

Ask Austin Lafferty for legal advice on everything from debt to divorce