British Linen Bank

British Linen Bank_Team 8B

The first visit to British Linen Bank on 18th of September. We can see the isolated and neglected building.

The front of British Linen Bank









Window Frames of British Linen Bank













Bricks on the backside of the British Linen Bank

September 18th 9:57 am

The people of High Street – Team 8C

In an attempt to have our project assist in making a better High Street we decided to talk to the local shop owners in order to get their opinions on the contemporary situation in the street. This then turned into a set of informal interviews which would form the backbone of our video.

Earlier in the project we had found a video made by a group of shop owners with goal of bringing attention to the problems plaguing High Street. In the first video the shop owners were eager to fight back against what they saw as unjust behaviour towards them, however when we talked to them for our interview many of them seemed to have turned more pessimistic, sounding defeated.


“A graveyard of TO LET signs”

– Description of High Street from the original video


September 18th 5:02 pm

Constant urban renewal and identity – Team 8C

With High Street’s history we looked into the idea of identity, comparing the area’s constant urban renewal with the way cells in the body are replaced every 7 to 10 years. This idea somewhat reminded us of the paradox of the Ship of Theseus;

The story follows a ship stored in a museum and was once owned by Theseus, a mighty king after which it was named. Over time the planks of the ship would rot and decay, being substituted for new planks until almost the whole ship had been entirely replaced. After this discovery an argument was brought up that asked if the ship was still the same ship Theseus had once sailed in or if the new parts that now made up the ship had robbed it of its identity.

We found this quite similar to the situation in High Street, with many buildings now having been demolished, replaced or lie derelict. Has the street lost the identity it once had? Has it developed a new identity?

Human cells regenerate over time, however brain cells do not. We found that this fact related quite well to how High Street’s memory remains despite many physical changes occurring. Yet while the street’s past remains, it seems that the large number of new developments on High Street have turned this history into an “irrelevant” feature of the area, dooming it to be forgotten.

While the idea of constant urban renewal and the effect it has on High Street’s identity was very interesting to research and discuss, in the end we didn’t find an effective way of working it into a project that could support High Street and the people that live within its locale.

Comparison of satellite pictures of the site in 2002 and 2017 highlighting the changes made in 15 years

September 18th 5:01 pm

Murals – Team 8C

A very striking feature of the locale are the two large murals at the gable ends of a row of tenements along the upper part of Hight Street. They were both painted by an artist named Smug and are modern depictions of St Enoch and St Mungo, two of Glasgow’s saints.

St Mungo Mural by Smug

An early concept we came up with was the idea of adding a mural to the side of the Linen Bank in order to draw attention to it, as we noticed it was visible from the Trongate crossing but due to the materials used would be difficult to distinguish from its surrounding. We also hoped that a mural would help the area tie in with the rest of the city as it would be an addition to the mural trails that guides people across the city. This idea was eventually put aside when we decided to concentrate more on the locale as a whole; High Street.

St Enoch Mural by Smug

September 18th 4:59 pm

Site visit – Team 8C

Crossing between George St, Duke St and High St

When we visited the site we quite quickly decided to move away from the Linen Bank and rather pay more attention to it surroundings, focusing primarily on High Street as a whole. We began by walking down High Street to (and past) Trongate until we reached the River Clyde, after which we walked back up High Street towards the Glasgow Cathedral and finally the Necropolis. We did this in order to gain a better understanding of the context of the site and its locale. This led us to discover a feature of High Street that is unfortunately painfully obvious, being that a large portion of the street lies vacant.

High St from Trongate Crossing

High St leading up to Glasgow Cathedral

September 18th 4:58 pm

Initial observations and research – Team 8C

British Linen Bank building front façade

The building was built in 1895 and originally housed a branch of the British Linen Company Bank. After that the bank housed a fruit merchant on the ground floor which had been converted to a store. It isn’t clear if any other businesses were housed in the building in-between, but the building is now occupied by Civic Room (a non-profit gallery that is currently in the process of restructuring itself, leaving the building’s ground floor empty). There are also flats located on the upper floors of the building. A plague on the side of the building commemorates Scottish poet Thomas Campbell who once lived on the site.

Poet Thomas Campbell commemorative plaque

The building lies on High Street which was medieval Glasgow’s primary street connecting Trongate and the Clyde, with the Cathedral. However, as Glasgow grew its center moved, and High Street now lies on the edges of the East End with a large portion of its old shop buildings replaced by newer editions, and more being constructed.

September 18th 4:55 pm

Assimilating Footage and Ideas | Team 8D

Fragmenting and Dissolving into Memory

Site visits for our team have been primarily concerned with taking an ‘inside-out’ view of the locale. This involved interviewing Local business owners with a set of questions to ascertain what each of their stances are on the fragile community they are part of. This process was particularly helpful in focussing the scope of our project’s investigation. One business owner would direct us to another who is also directly affected by the negative changes taking place on their High Street, but with a slightly different perception of what is really at risk to them.

When we asked Gordon the electrical appliance store owner how the disappearance of the Linen Bank building would affect him, his answer confirmed our opinion that it would be detrimental to the city’s cultural heritage, but we found it would not impact him directly. On the other hand, Samantha of 23 Enigma was of the opinion that it would directly impact her. Both individuals have different viewpoints and relationships to their community. Transcending these differences is the common appreciation and attachment to the local memory, what the High Street used to be.

Memory has thus become the focal point of our project – an unveiling of how this vital aspect forms the substance of the High Street’s identity, yet is being increasingly obscured, a reality which is embodied in the form of the British Linen Bank – a monument in stasis.





September 18th 12:13 pm

First Visit to the British Linen Bank | Team 8D

View from the South, with the High Street in the background

The British Linen Bank is a Frayed end of a once continuous ribbon of tenements and shopfronts, leading one’s eye up the city’s historic – not so well preserved – High Street.Now it stands precariously amongst looming giants such as the nearly completed “Moxy” hotel adjacent to it on the street.

Interviewing local business owners on this street brought the consequences which these high rise developments are having on the local community into startling relief. Community is fading away, under the oppressive shadow of corporate developments.

The building stands on the divide between the quickly modernising South end of the street, and the North end which clings lovingly onto fragments of the once closely knit community. It became apparent to our team on the first site visit that this was the most vulnerable character of the locale. The British Linen Bank is neither stuck in history or brought into the status quo. It is a petrified memory, and one which must be treated with sensitivity if the current trend of its locale is to be stopped.



September 18th 6:06 pm