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Glasgows Oldest Pub Set to be Levelled For Student Flats

Glasgows Oldest Pub Set to be Levelled For More Student Flats ©

A Thousand Flowers can reveal that one of the oldest buildings in the city has been earmarked for demolition, with a vast
12-storey, 426 bed student flat development set to take its place.

In late December, an application was submitted to demolish the Old College Bar, the oldest pub in Glasgow which is located in
the historic heart of the city on High Street. With the main structure of the building dating from the early 1800s, parts of the
building’s basement are much older, perhaps dating to medieval times. Its name references Glasgow University, which was
located over the road until the move to the west end in the 1870s, its buildings demolished to make way for a railway yard.
Now one of the last links with that era looks set to be destroyed.

Although there are various contenders to the title of Glasgow’s oldest pub, local experts consider the Old College Bar to be the
true holder, as it was first licensed in 1812 and its basic structure has remained the same since, unlike other bars which have
been rebuilt or moved site.

Over recent years the Old College Bar has found itself looking increasingly out of place as Strathclyde University expands
around it on one side and the office and student accommodation-led developments at “Collegelands” continue to its east. The
back of the site now being proposed for development has been allowed to fall in to a state of dereliction and is barriered off
by metal fencing.

This is not the first time that the demolition of the remaining buildings on the site – comprising the large vacant corner unit
alongside three independent traders and the bar, all set to now be evicted – have been mooted for demolition. In 2013, a
planning application was submitted but ultimately stalled. Now, however, the development has passed to Glasgow-based property
developers Structured House, who submitted the recent application and claim that the existing site has a “negative impact”
on the Central Glasgow Conservation Area. While making much hay of not intruding on the listed sandstone building next
door, the application makes no reference to the pub’s heritage.

Intriguingly, despite being located in the Conservation Area and with its well documented connections to the city’s past, the Old
College Bar has never been given the protection of listed status. This lack of foresight has meant that key heritage assets – such
as the remains of a cobbled street within its basement – have been subject to DIY maintenance jobs over the years and not
treated with the sort of care that being listed would require. In a submission to planners by local historian Diana Connell, the
cellar is described as the “oldest remaining sub-structure on the High Street of Glasgow”, adding that “the building in question
probably dates to about 1470”.

The application to demolish the buildings on the site is currently being considered by the council. It follows a consultation last year
where virtually all respondees were against the proposed development. The development comes at a worrying time for small
traders on the remaining tenements on High Street, who have been locked in a bitter dispute with council ALEO City Property over
the last few years, alleging poor upkeep of their buildings by the landlord, with dryrot and sewage seeping into their basements.
The latest stage of this dispute saw one business being served with an eviction notice last week.

The development comes as an unprecedented slew of new student housing developments are on the horizon in the city. As Glasgows
towerblocks of social housing have come tumbling down over the last decade, private student flats have been cropping up at nearly
the same rate, reflecting a trend seen in other university cities,

They have come to dominate the skyline in Partick, Kelvinside, much of the city centre, and around the Merchant City, combined
forming one of the most profound changes to the city’s built landscape over the last few decades. Over the coming months, this blog
will be dipping inside this trend, exploring its size and scope, scrutinising what these changes mean for students and communities alike,
the sustainability of this investment bubble, and who is really profiting from it. There may be some interesting results.

James H

Glasgow's oldest bar to be replaced with student housing development (© Evening Times)

Glasgow's oldest pub is to be demolished and replaced with a student housing development.

A proposal to level the Old College Bar on High Street, Glasgow, has been submitted to Glasgow
City Council with plans to develop a 12-storey, 426-bed complex for university students in the area.
The pub dates back to the early 1800s when it was first licensed in 1812.

In the submission, local historian Diana Connell said the structure, with the basement in particular,
dates back to 1490 making it the oldest remaining sub-structure. Despite it's age, the builidng has
never been listed.

The application will now go in front of Glasgow City Council for consideration.  

James H

How about building around it? Integrate it into the new building?

Whynot students like beer.

At this rate Glasgow will look completely different in the next 20 years!

Well Stuball, that would be the obvious choice of any developer interested in protecting Glasgow's Heritage.  Sadly, though, given that most constructions these days are undertaken by overseas Multi-National concerns, demolishing the history of the Old College Bar would never be a concern to them  All they are worried about is the pretty little combination of metal and glass they can put on the site and how that will help them in their future endeavour to build a sterile city, totally devoid of personality, because it suits their ambitions !


Last time I was in this pub it was stinking and hoaching with blue bottles

I was in it once a few years ago and not impressed

norrie wrote:
I was in it once a few years ago and not impressed

It was a shithole, but it has some important history tied to the old town. Sadly this is never as important as shiny new glass structures that will be old in 10 years and gone in 20. Glasgow has previous for killing off its historic sites and it will continue as wee unimportant men try to make the claim it's their city and they made the changes.
Some have even tried to claim putting the grass back into the square was their legacy well removing it was the legacy of the arseholes previously who painted it red.

Changes are coming and not just in the way the city is transformed. Forum Index -> Glasgow Development & Demolition
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