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