Who We Are

The Scottish Civic Trust was set up in 1967, to help people connect to their built heritage and take a leading role in guiding its development. In its infancy, it successfully campaigned for the restoration of Edinburgh’s New Town and can also claim credit for saving New Lanark and bringing Doors Open Days to the United Kingdom.

Through supporting amenity groups, the Trust’s original objectives were:

  • Well-informed public concern for the environment of town and country
  • High quality in planning and in new architecture
  • The conservation and, where necessary, adaptation for re-use of older buildings of distinction or historic interest
  • Knowledgeable and therefore effective comment in planning matters
  • The elimination of ugliness, whether resulting from social deprivation, bad design or neglect

Broadly speaking, we are still working towards the same objectives today.

We are fortunate to own our own eighteenth century townhouse in Glasgow, where we have maintained our offices since 1995. We have a small staff compliment that works hard to achieve our objectives, working under the guidance of our Board. Everything we do centres around the following core values:

  • We are robust and independent in advocating for Scotland’s places and spaces
  • We are positive about the future of the built environment
  • We lead thinking on Scotland’s civic spaces
  • We collaborate across the heritage sector and beyond to develop ideas that tackle exclusion
  • We support community groups looking after their locality

We are proud to represent Scotland’s civic sector and strive to ensure our amenity groups are active, empowered, and educated to make a difference in their locality.

 

Our Vision

Thriving, beautiful and well cared for places and buildings, which help to support and sustain a high quality of life.

 

Our Mission

To celebrate Scotland’s built environment, take action for its improvement and empower its communities.

 

Find out more about how we achieve our mission by taking a look at What We do below.

 

Structure and Management

We have eleven Trustees at present, who are appointed for two three-year terms, with further eligibility depending on the discretion of other Trustees. The policy of the Trust is to achieve a wide range of relevant experience within the Trustee body. Appointments are reviewed every three years.

The practical work of the Trust is supported and enhanced by the following sub-committees:

  • Strategy and Communications Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Finance and Audit Committee
  • Technical Committee

You can find our annual report here. If you’d like a hard copy, drop us a line: sct@scottishcivictrust.org.uk.

 

What We Do:

Our mission is celebrate Scotland’s built environment, take action for its improvement and empower its communities.

We aim to achieve this through three main strands of activity: Celebrate, Take Action and Advocate.

You can find out more about what we do by looking around our website, and by keeping a close eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. If that seems like a lot of hard work, check back regularly to our News section, where we post about everything we’re up to.

 

Our Staff

The work of the Scottish Civic Trust is carried out by a team of eight people, working out of our offices in the Tobacco Merchant’s House in Glasgow:

Susan O’Connor – Director

Jamie McNamara – Senior Project Officer, My Place Mentoring

Nicola Godsal – Project Officer, Doors Open Days and My Place Photography Competition

Jennifer Novotny – Project Officer, Diverse Heritage

Erin Burke – Communications and Events Officer

Charlotte Porter – Office Administrator

Karen MacLeod – Administration Assistant and PA to the Director

 

Volunteer

Do you have spare time?  Would you like to help our team?  We regularly offer volunteering opportunities at the Scottish Civic Trust’s offices to support our heritage events and activities.  Keep an eye on our news stories to find out if any of our projects are offering volunteer opportunities.  You will be supported through all tasks and will gain experience in a range of tasks associated with heritage.

All volunteer opportunities will be hosted at our office in Glasgow City Centre, unless otherwise stated.  We will reimburse travel expenses within Glasgow. There is limited access for people with mobility issues as there are steps leading up from the pavement, as well as stairs within the property leading to our first floor offices, and second floor toilets.

 

Our building

The Scottish Civic Trust is extremely lucky to own and occupy a beautiful eighteenth century townhouse in central Glasgow. Our Tobacco Merchant’s House has been fully restored and can be visited as part of our annual Doors Open Days programme.

History

The building at 42 Miller Street is the last of the Georgian villas known as the Virginia Tobacco Merchants’ houses to remain standing in Merchant City of Glasgow. The house known as Tobacco Merchants’ House, or Baillie Craig’s House, was originally designed by John Craig in 1775 as his own home, on land previously owned by John Miller, a wealthy Maltman and namesake of the street. Miller decreed strict building regulations on property built on Miller Street. This included the style and design of the building, and the type of businesses that were permitted to use the buildings.

In 1782 John Craig sold the property at 42 Miller Street to the family of Robert Findlay, a leading Glasgow Merchant involved in the Trades House and the Chamber of Commerce. At this time Miller Street was the location of the private homes of a number of prosperous Glasgow merchants. As was custom amongst merchants at that time, the counting house for the family business was based in the family property. The building served as the residence and office of those involved in the Findlay family business until the 1820s.

By 1836 the property was inherited by Misses Brown of Paisley, and become the place of business for the City and Suburban Gas Company until 1866. By the late nineteenth century the Tobacco Merchant’s House was used by a number of different tenants of various professions, such as lawyers, insurance agents, and merchants. New outbuildings were built on to the rear of the building, and the original roof was replaced with a Victorian style mansard roof to provide more space. Throughout the twentieth century, the building continued to serve a variety of business purposes, including jewellers, glass importers and a time as a dress shop. The building’s historical significance was recognised when it was it was Category B-listed in 1970.

From 1989 and 1994, 42 Miller Street was vacant.

Restoration

In 1992 the building was sold to the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust for £1. Following a detailed feasibility study of the building, a funding package was put together to enable the building to regain its original Georgian elegance whilst at the same time contribute to the regeneration of Glasgow’s City Centre.

The restoration saw many of the Victorian additions such as the mansard roof, painted frontage and outbuildings, removed. This resulted in the rediscovery of original features including the natural stone façade.  Internally very little of the original layout remained, but new plasterwork and joinery has seen the layout recreated, although forming modern office spaces rather than private rooms. Upon completion, the project was awarded a Heritage Award from Historic Scotland to mark the completion of a successful grant-aided project.

Current Use

The building was acquired by the Scottish Civic Trust in 1997 with grant assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and generous loan facilities by a private Foundation. Given the Trust’s aims and objectives concerned with the built environment and heritage, 42 Miller Street is the ideal location for us. The building is now fully occupied with The Scottish Civic Trust’s office located on the first floor.