The Trongate Town Hall has in fact been known by many names including the Tontine Coffee Rooms. It sits on the Trongate opposite Glasgow’s Tron Theater. Much of the building that can be seen today, was completed in 1781 by the architect William Hamilton. Now mainly used as shops, bars, and restaurants. The Tontine Coffee Rooms was one of the favoured meeting places of the rich tobacco and textile merchants in Glasgow. It was built behind the existing frontage of the town hall with its pedimented windows and street-level arcade. The keystones of the arches of the arcade were carved with heads and grotesques known as the “Tontine Heads”. During the 18th and 19th centuries the coffee shop under the piazza was a meeting place for leading figures from the community. The hotel was reputedly the first in the city and was popularly known by Glaswegians as the “Hottle”. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1911 which also destroyed a number of other significant buildings in the area. It is built using blonde sandstone and has facades on both the Trongate and Albion street. It is a fantastic example of a distinctly Scottish style building with crow-stepped gables on the turret for purely decorative reasons. It has had major developments spanning three architectural epochs from 1781 to 1855 through to the post 1911 fire reconstruction.

Dilapidated Grandeur

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The beautiful, urban decay and renewal of the city I love.

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