Glasgow & West Scotland

Willow Tearoom's future secured by charity trust move

Willow Tea Room
Image caption The tearoom on Sauchiehall Street was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

The world-famous Willow Tearoom in Glasgow has had its future secured after a new charitable trust took over the building.

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed building on Sauchiehall Street needs renovation work.

The trust plans to restore both the building and the tearoom to their former glory.

This is the first time for decades that the building has been in Scottish ownership.

The new trust has been established by commercial property entrepreneur Celia Sinclair, who is also a Trustee of Glasgow Art Club and an admirer of Mackintosh's work.

Heritage preservation

The plan is that the trust will generate the funds needed to safeguard the building for the future. The building will be gifted to the city of Glasgow.

The building and interiors were designed and built in 1903 for Kate Cranston, who ran several tearooms in the city.

Image caption The renovation work has been given extra impetus by the recent Art School fire

They have been under threat as erosion to the roof and structure of the building means that it requires significant renovation work.

Conservation reports on the building state that to properly repair and make the building fully wind and watertight will require a minimum investment of over £400,000.

Celia Sinclair said: "The Willow Tea Rooms is an iconic building and I couldn't simply stand by and watch it deteriorate. I'm a proud Glaswegian and I want to see its heritage preserved for the generations to come.

"I started this project over a year ago. The recent tragic fire at the Glasgow School of Art has underlined to me, and others, that we really do need to act to safeguard what remains of Mackintosh's work."

She added: "Above all, we intend that this project will be sustainable and have a legacy. The Trust will ensure that after the renovation work the building will be financially secure and that due care and attention will be given to the building forever."

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