Case Study: Mackintosh at the Willow

Address: 215-217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
Type of project: Comprehensive Building Repair
Grantee: Mackintosh at the Willow
GCHT Grant offered: £200,000
Total project costs: £7,659,700

In 2016-17 GCHT grant-aided the advanced phase of external repairs to the Willow Tea Rooms. One of Glasgow’s best known landmarks, the Willow Tea Rooms was fully restored for the 150th Anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth. The Trust has been assisting with external repairs to both the Willow Tea Rooms and the neighbouring Victorian tenement which is to become a visitors centre.

The repairs included an overhaul of the roof and rebuilding of chimneys, stonework repairs including indenting of stone, renewal of the historic hard render, repair of the windows including the magnificent Salon de Luxe stained glass bow window and reinstatement of Mackintosh’s shopfront. Getting up close and personal with the building was an illuminating experience for what it revealed of the subtlety of Mackintosh’s idiosyncratic detailing with delicate use of colour and silvered highlights.

In addition to this GCHT also administered an Historic Environment Scotland grant for the structural works required to turn the existing tenement at 215 Sauchiehall Street into the new visitors centre.

Despite a very tight deadline, the main phase was opened in time for Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 150th Birthday on 7 June 2018 and resulted in the refurbished tea rooms winning both a 2019 RIAS Award, the Scottish Government Scotland’s Client of the Year Award and a nomination for a Doolan Award – a significant achievement and tribute to Mackintosh at the Willow’s efforts.