Glasgow City Heritage Trust has worked with four City schools this summer (Glasgow Gaelic School, Hillhead High School, King’s Park Secondary School & Knightswood Secondary School) on a project looking at our historic shopping areas.
Glasgow is famous for its shopping and is the UK’s busiest retail area outside of London, a title it has managed to hold onto for almost two centuries. From the Parisian-style grandeur of Argyll Arcade to the distinctive charm of the Barras, and from grand department stores like Wylie & Lochhead (AKA Frasers) to the city’s dramatic former market halls, Glasgow’s historic shops are an iconic part of the city landscape. However, we are in danger of losing this part of our heritage. According to a recent government report, high streets of the future will be lined with coffee shops and internet kiosks and 4 out of 10 shops will be forced to close as consumers move to online shopping. Add to this the rise in popularity of out-of-town retail parks and enormous supermarket chains, and the future for Glasgow’s shops looks uncertain. The challenge to support, preserve and protect our historic shopping centre is tougher than ever.
For this project, Glasgow City Heritage Trust teamed up with over 50 pupils from four Glasgow secondary schools to take a closer look at Glasgow’s historic shops. Pupils took part in photographic workshops all over the city, capturing with their cameras the attractive, unusual and distinctive parts of Glasgow’s historic shop design. Their brief was to look at elements such as shopfront details, signage, doors, windows, tiles, lights, sculpture on buildings and the way the shops integrate with both neighbouring businesses and the building above street level (often in Glasgow, homes or offices sit above shops). As well as visiting major retail areas such as Buchanan Street, pupils went out to recently revitalised historic lanes and courtyards including the Hidden Lane in Finnieston and Virginia Court in the Merchant City.
Their pictures highlight how Glasgow’s historic shops have a real impact on the overall look and feel of the city, and creative modern adaptations can work in harmony with the city’s built heritage and keep Glasgow’s shopping areas vibrant, successful and sustainable for the future.
An exhibition of the pupils images is on display from Wednesday Sept 11th- Fri 20th Dec 2013
54 Bell Street Glasgow G1 1LQ