WEDDING bells have rung out at a historic Glasgow building for the last time.

After 20 years of civil marriage ceremonies, 22 Park Circus hosted its final weddings yesterday.

Until recently it was the only venue in the city for civil weddings and more than 26,000 ceremonies have been carried out there since 1994.

The lease for the building has expired and Glasgow City Council, which is responsible for the registrar's service, has decided to move on.

Fiona Borland, the city's chief registrar, said: "Everything has changed now and today weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can be held in a variety of settings and venues from hotels and museums to universities and football grounds."

Glasgow's registrar's service is one of the busiest in Scotland with an average of 1500 weddings and civil partnership ceremonies conducted each year.

Principal registrar Audrey McMullan perf-ormed the final five ceremonies to be held in the Park Circus building.

She said: "Weddings and civil partnerships tend to be happy occasions, as well as registering births and British citizenship ceremonies, and it's an important part of history that we're part of.

"It's one of those jobs that you either love or you hate, and I'm here 25 years later, so obviously I decided that I love it.

"I think that part of it is that I like dealing with the public. It's a customer service job, so we are providing a service to the public, and it is good to do that and be able to make people happy."

Andrew Roy and Shona Mitchell were the first couple to wed on the last day of ceremonies at Park Circus, but had no idea when they made the arrangements that it would be on such a historic day.

Shona, 43, said: "We were chuffed when we found out.

"It's a shame because it's a lovely building."

Andrew, 48, added: "We are more than proud to be one of the last couples to get married here."

The couple, who live in Parkhouse, met around two years ago on a Rangers fan website.

Gordon Tait, who married Sarah Sullivan in the second ceremony of the day, said: "It's important being part of history.

"We didn't have to move the date around, it was a bit of lucky planning."

Gordon, 43, first met Sarah, 33, five years ago at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

The Yoker couple planned to return to the gallery after the wedding, to celebrate its significant role in their relationship.

Robin Shek, 33, and Carol Leung, 29, had one of the busiest ceremonies of the day.

The couple met through friends 11 years ago and previously attended a wedding at Park Circus.

Robin said: "We live in Aberdeen but we came all the way down to Glasgow because we really wanted to have the wedding here.

"We had friends who were married here and we always had this as our first choice."

THE council's new venue for registry weddings is at 23 Montrose Street behind the City Chambers.

The building has been refurbished to meet modern requirements and the original beauty of the interior has been expertly restored and retained.

The venue has two rooms available for civil ceremonies.

The Clyde room can accommodate up to 15 guests while The Kelvin can seat around 30 people.

The Park Circus town-house was built in 1872 for wealthy industrialist Walter Macfarlane who was the founder of the Saracen Foundry.

After his death in 1885, the house was taken over by his nephew, also Walter Macfarlane, who employed Glasgow architects to modernise it.

Refurbishments carried out between 1897 and 1899 included a cast iron conservatory and an Art Nouveau billiards room with glass-domed anteroom.

Macfarlane also employed noted sculptors to make wood carvings for the house, including the new front door.

In 1934, the building was acquired as an Italian social club known as Casa D'Italia and, after the Second World War, was used as a regional Italian consulate.

In 1990, it was bought by developers who, alongside Historic Scotland began a restoration project.

Park Circus has been the wedding venue of choice for a number of well known Scots.

THEY include BBC weather forecaster Heather Reid, who married Miles Padgett there in 2001.

Its owners are to employ surveyors and architects to help refurbish the building to ensure that it looks "spectacular".

It is hoped it will be available for a new tenant at the start of next year.