Glasgow’s oldest pub threatened with demolition

The Old College Bar is thought to be the oldest pub in Glasgow. Picture: Wikicommons

The Old College Bar is thought to be the oldest pub in Glasgow. Picture: Wikicommons

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It is one of the last visual reminders of Glasgow’s ancient past and a time when the High Street was the bustling heart of the city.

Now fresh plans have been unveiled to demolish the Old College Bar, thought to be Glasgow’s oldest pub, and replace it with student accommodation.

The unlisted building, parts of which are said to date to the 16th century, was previously threatened with demolition in 2013.

The pub’s name refers to the University of Glasgow, which was based around the High Street from its foundation in 1451 until it moved to its present site at Gilmorehill in 1870.

The departure of the university from the High Street led to the demolition of its 17th century campus to make way for a railway goods yard, a decision described at the time as “cultural vandalism”.

By the late Victorian era the commercial hub of Glasgow had moved west to Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, with the area around High Street and Glasgow Cross entering a long decline.

The University of Strathclyde has in recent years began an expansion programme in the area which has led to many long-standing gap sites being built over.

Private developers now view High Street as a prime location for student lets.

Glasgow-based firm Structured House has submitted an application to demolish the Old College Bar and build a 12-storey, 426 bed student flat development in its place.

Although at least two other bars claim to be the oldest in Glasgow, the distinction is generally awarded to the Old College as it has operated from the same building continuously since 1810.

A decision on the development will be made by Glasgow City Council later this year.

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