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15 Aug 2018

Being good neighbours at Buccleuch Street

The Tenement House is in a traditional red sandstone building in Glasgow’s Garnethill
The Tenement House is in a traditional red sandstone building in Glasgow’s Garnethill
At number 16 on the 100 Ways we’re protecting Scotland’s heritage list is an unusual conservation project - redecorating the communal close of a Glasgow tenement.

To show the scale of the work we’re doing, we’ve identified 100 ways we’re protecting Scotland’s heritage, including being good neighbours at Buccleuch Street. 

The Trust cares for Scotland’s national and natural treasures - and that includes tenements. When the stair at our Tenement House in Glasgow’s Garnethill needed a bit of TLC,  our conservation charity stepped up to ensure that the communal close area gave a great first impression.

The close was completely redecorated, down to the hand-stencilled details
The close at the Tenement House was completely redecorated, down to the hand-stencilled details

The work was carried out earlier this summer and gives visitors the best possible impression on arrival, as well as offering a realistic representation of how the tenement would have looked in the past. Works carried out include decoration to doors, walls and ceilings; plasterwork; repairs to and decoration of windows; installation of a new glazed frameless external door; lighting alternations; and repairs to the external steps and walls.

Fritha Costain, Business Manager for Glasgow and the West said: ‘It’s definitely one of the more unusual projects that we’ve ticked off in 2018, but it’s just as important because it sets the scene for visitors coming to experience all that the Tenement House has to offer.

‘The Tenement House is so significant because its interior is almost completely unaltered from when Miss Toward, resident from 1911–65, lived there. From the black horsehair chairs, scrubbed kitchen range, household medicines and the recess beds to the working doorbell and gentle hiss of the gaslights, there’s so much to discover in this treasure trove of everyday history.

‘To find a collection such as this in situ is incredibly rare. I’m so pleased that we’ve been able to play our part in protecting this important piece of Scotland’s social and cultural heritage, so that visitors can open the door to early 20th-century Glasgow life and see first-hand why we do what we do for the love of Scotland.’

The interiors at the Tenement House are largely unaltered since the mid 20th century
The interiors at the Tenement House are largely unaltered since the mid-20th century.

The Tenement House allows visitors to experience a way of life – tenement living – which many people once shared, but which has now either disappeared or changed beyond recognition. The house features original fixtures and fittings, including a coal-fired kitchen range and gas lighting, along with some more obscure items like a ball of soap, turned jet black from years of handling, and a jar of plum jam made in 1929.

This is just one example of how the National Trust for Scotland works every day to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures. From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, we protect all of this For the Love of Scotland.

In Our Strategy for Protecting Scotland’s Heritage 201823, we set out how we’re planning to work towards our vision that Scotland’s heritage is valued by everyone and protected now, and for future generations.

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