Victorian building in Glasgow gets a new lease of life

Restoration work is almost complete on a historic building in the Gorbals that forms part of a city-wide urban regeneration project in Glasgow to bring the area back to life.

This landmark project in Glasgow stands today as one of the last remaining Victorian tenement buildings in the area. The former British Linen Bank building was built in 1900 and is of significant architectural importance, and remained largely untouched during the changes to the Gorbals’ landscape in the 1960’s.

Midland Lead, is an innovative lead manufacturer that produce BBA and NHBC approved lead, worked closely with Glenbuild Ltd to create specialist leadwork to ensure that the finishing touches would be as historically accurate as possible, according to the original drawings.

Work to restore this Victorian four-storey building has brought it back to into the heart of the community by providing six apartments on the upper floors and space for a bar/restaurant within the lower floor. This tenement building represents one of the few remaining buildings designed by James Salmon Jr. of Salmon and Gillespie Architects, a contemporary of Mackintosh and celebrated Art Nouveau Glasgow style architect in the 19th Century.

The level of detail and sensitivity that has gone into restoring this iconic building is apparent and Glenbuild carried out much of the work including:

  • Re-slating using reclaimed Scottish Slate to ensure that every detail is as close to the original plans as possible.
  • Restoration of the original and imposing lead-roofed bay window –incorporating the original Art Nouveau ironwork.
  • Rebuilding the prominent bell-tower that has a leadwork feature copied from an old drawing.
  • The main building includes a decorative lead hopper with a ‘salmon’ feature created using traditional sandcasting methods.

Specialist leadwork

During the planning and design phases, period features have been sensitively restored using the original 19th century drawings, including details that were never recorded as having been included in the finished building. One feature includes the prominent cast of a salmon on a hopper, which signatures the original architect James Salmon.

In addition to supplying BBA approved lead sheet for the roofing and bell tower, Glenbuild commissioned Midland Lead to supply the sandcast lead for the hopper to the original specification. Sandcasting this feature ensured that it looked exactly as it would if it was manufactured in 1900 and is a prominent feature of the main building.

George Gargan, project manager at Glenbuild played a major role in this project since its inception early in 2018, he said; “Being involved in the restoration of such a significant listed building, right on my doorstep has been both a privilege and a challenge. I have a real passion for restoring historic features of a building and the Gorbals tenement is a beautiful and rare example of James Salmon’s vision back in the late 19th century.

“Working with Midland Lead has been fantastic and they share the same passion for heritage and restoration as I do and their attention to every detail has made such a big difference. It’s great to work with suppliers who care as much about the project as you do.”

Lynn Street, sales and marketing manager at Midland Lead has been proud to be involved in this restoration project; “Midland Lead is no stranger to working on heritage projects and the Gorbals project was a great challenge. This project also showcases what we do best – working with our customers to ensure that every detail is taken care of, from the original brief to completion. All our products are BBA approved and therefore accepted by the NHBC for use on all house build projects – including restorations.”

Quick Facts about the project

  • Category A-Listed building built in 1900 for the British Linen Bank.
  • This is one of the last remaining tenement buildings within the historic Gorbals area in the heart of Glasgow.
  • Work began on the restoration project to preserve and rebuild the property and sensitively transform into apartments and community facilities.
  • BBA Approved code 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 lead were used. NHBC approves the use of cast lead supplied by Midland Lead.
  • A bespoke sandcast lead hopper was created to better cope with water run-off and this incorporates dates and a decorative salmon feature.

Key Partners

This project has involved a number of organisations, each bringing their own expertise, including;