In January of 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland—with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund—restoration work began on Glasgow Green’s historic West Boathouse.
After over five years of preparation and fundraising, the West Boathouse project will repair and adapt this beautiful listed building to improve accessibility, upgrade facilities and provide flexible, multi-use spaces. A new pontoon will ensure safer access to the river for a wide range of groups.
The renovation project runs in tandem with community heritage activities designed to open the building to new audiences and encourage people to re-engage with the River Clyde, and to help revitalize the area.
Besides the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the £2.7 million project is funded by Historic Environment Scotland, The Robertson Trust, Glasgow City Council, the William Grant Foundation, The Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Architectural Heritage Fund and many others.
Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said “The restoration of Glasgow Green’s historic West Boathouse means many more people will be able to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits it offers.”
“Thanks to players of The National Lottery, the transformation of this historic building will bring this stretch of the river back to life allowing communities to explore and enjoy it’s natural and cultural heritage. As we continue to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, we are delighted to see construction commencing and applaud the Trust, volunteers and the many partners and supporters for their hard work in reaching this exciting point,” she added.
Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) has been working with volunteers from the two rowing clubs based in the West Boathouse, Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club and Clyde Amateur Rowing Club, to secure its future and encourage new users and audiences into the building and onto the river.
Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said “We are delighted to support Glasgow Building Preservation Trust with £360,000 funding for the West Boathouse project as part of our Historic Environment Repair Grant. The works will not only repair and conserve the historic West Boathouse, but allow the building to be adapted to provide the local community with accessible facilities and fantastic multi-use spaces.”
Beginning in February, the year-long program of renovation and renewal will be led by ARPL Architects and overseen by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust. The work will sensitively restore and futureproof this riverside landmark in the heart of Glasgow Green for future generations.
Andrew McConnell, Staff Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, said “Everyone at Glasgow Building Preservation Trust is excited that work to restore the West Boathouse is underway. It has taken five years of development and collaboration with stakeholders and we’d like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and all of our other funders and project partners for their continued support in getting us to this milestone.”
As part of the National Lottery Heritage funded project, a program of events and outreach has been developed and coordinated by a dedicated heritage engagement officer, embedded within the project since 2019.
Over the past year, the engagement officer has worked with communities living and working along the river from Glasgow Green to the Cuningar Loop.
The rich heritage of the area includes a wealth of stories and places to explore, from rowing clubs to bowling greens, audacious schemes to straighten the river, dye works and bandana factories to historic court cases ensuring Glaswegian’s access rights to the riverbanks.
The program has included boatbuilding with volunteers from Glasgow Disability Alliance, developing nature walks along the banks of the river and celebrating the sporting heritage of the east end of the city.
Featured photo courtesy of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.