What Do We Support:


The original financiers of the foundation had a keen interest in our heritage, specifying that one of the foundations aims was “the preservation and beautification of historic properties”. The foundation continues to support the built environment and will support our literary and artistic heritage as well as architectural.

The Built Environment

The phrase “built environment” refers to the manmade surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from the large-scale civic surroundings to the personal places. As well as the substantial donations to the National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Civic Trust in Barcapel’s history the trustees continue to support smaller, but no less important projects.

Cultural Heritage

It is more important than ever to support our literary heritage in an increasingly digital age. As well as acknowledging the importance of literary figures, for example Robert Burns in a Scottish context, the foundation recognises that all forms of historical literature from poetry to prose and plays is vital in influencing and educating future generations, and as such need to be preserved and promoted. Barcapel’s annual funding of a scholarship for the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama reflects this interest.

Barcapel also supports the preservation of our artistic heritage, not only by donating to established galleries and other organisations which display the arts of a previous age, but also to more contemporary artistic endeavours with a view to ensuring their longevity. An example is our enthusiastic support for the Little Sparta Trust, a unique display of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art.

Case Study – Heritage

  • The Scottish Civic Trust The Scottish Civic Trust was founded in 1967 and is Scotland’s only voluntary organisation working to raise the quality of the whole built environment. They encourage excellence in the conservation of the past, in contemporary architecture and planning and in effective public education and participation in all these concerns.

    The Trust operates from its headquarters, the A-listed Tobacco Merchants House, the last surviving tobacco laird’s house left standing in the Merchant City of Glasgow. It required extensive renovation and restoration in 1997 and the Barcapel Foundation loaned the Scottish Civic Trust £100,000 in order to get this work underway.

    Whilst it is unusual for Barcapel to make a loan rather than award a donation, in this instance it was deemed appropriate. The loan was interest free which alleviated the SCT’s financing costs, and the commitment of £100,000 in place encouraged other trusts and charitable foundations to donate, ultimately culminating in the award of a substantial lottery grant.

    The trustees decision was based on:

    • The SCT’s commitment to enabling everybody to have a say in decisions affecting their physical surroundings
    • The historical importance of the Merchant’s House as part of Glasgow’s Merchant City
    • The desire to lead the funding, encouraging other bodies to follow
    • The SCT’s willingness to accept alternative sources of funding – in this case a loan