"Wake up Glasgow": Mackintosh Society event challenges city to face threats to heritage

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Mackintosh’s Glasgow and Beyond: Building the Case for Preservation will make the case for protecting the city’s built heritage.

Stuart Robertson, the director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, which protects the legacy of Glasgow’s greatest architect and designer, will make the case for protecting this city’s built heritage at a symposium event in June. The programme brings together experts in urban planning, building preservation, architecture and design.

Day One will cover the current restoration work at Mackintosh’s Scotland Street School and The Hill House, the uncertain future of the Lighthouse and Martyrs’ School, plus the stalled work to rebuild the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art. Discussion will also cover major issues and challenges facing the wider heritage of the city.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This will include a presentation from The Alexander Thomson Society on the loss of many major buildings by this exceptional Glasgow architect - including one close to Mackintosh’s Queen's Cross Church - the successful rescue of others; and the ongoing threat to some of those that still exist.

The second day will look at inspiration from other cities like Brussels and Manchester alongside organisations that have managed to buck the trend and have enjoyed success in their heritage led regeneration.

Stuart Robertson says: The Mackintosh Society has done much in its 50 years of existence to champion, preserve and safeguard the work and heritage of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Since the last symposium in 2012, we have seen a growing disregard for our built heritage, through neglect, bad planning and lack of action and investment by councils and government. It is therefore crucial not to repeat the destructive mistakes of the past and take bold action to reverse this decline.

“Glasgow’s heritage is a unique selling point for the city and the importance cannot be overstated; it contributes substantially to prosperity, health, education and civic pride through providing evidence of our collective shared past, a high-quality urban environment and a unique identity for a place. It also sustains neighbourhoods as attractive places in which people wish to live, work and play.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Although Glasgow’s architectural landscape may be unique in Scotland, its challenges are not. Across the UK, policy makers are attempting to strike a balance between preservation of historic buildings and the housing crisis that has engulfed major cities. It is a tension that is unavoidable and we must ensure that it does not lead to unchecked erosion of our past.

“The buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh form a major component in Glasgow’s cultural heritage and are celebrated internationally. Much positive investment has been made over the past years, with notable success, both in safeguarding and conserving the buildings and in enhancing the visitor experience. But, as with all historic properties, circumstances change and needs are ongoing.

“The current situation is worrying, as Martyrs’ School and the Lady Artist’s Club are no longer occupied, and The Lighthouse has remained closed to the public since the pandemic.

“This two-day symposium is time critical in drawing awareness to the plight of our beautiful Heritage. The Mackintosh heritage is small, fragile and precious, and action is needed to ensure this is protected.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“So it is imperative that this internationally important heritage continues to receive the attention it deserves.

“There is hope, as other cities have bucked the trend and rejuvenated their built heritage. Glasgow needs to do the same.

“Mackintosh is a crowd puller and we have seen over the years several high-profile Festivals and Exhibitions in his honour that have attracted visitors from around the world and generated millions for the city.

“Wake up Glasgow, time is ticking.”

Mackintosh’s Glasgow and Beyond: Building the Case for Preservation

Mackintosh Queen’s Cross:  6 & 7 June 2024

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.