Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s A-listed masterpiece, the Egyptian Halls, has been shortlisted by the pan-European heritage organisation, Europa Nostra, for its Seven Most Endangered programme.
The former warehouse on Union Street, Glasgow has now been empty for 40 years, and this magnificent building has fallen into decay. The The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) collaborated with the Alexander Thomson Society on the application for Egyptian Halls to be shortlisted by Europa Nostra, as the window to save one of Glasgow’s most significant buildings is rapidly closing.
Completed in 1872, Egyptian Halls hosted public gatherings, musical performances and over 50 stalls selling goods from around the world. The five-story building was built in a Classical style with an unusual combination of Greek, Egyptian and Assyrian detailing.
The condition of the building is deteriorating rapidly. Much of Thomson’s original interior has been lost, but currently the building’s principal facade remains almost intact. Planning permission has been granted on several occasions to convert the building into a hotel, but these have stalled due to a lack of available public funding.
The SPAB has nominated the site with the support of the Alexander Thomson Society, who support research into finding a realistic alternative use for the building.
The final list of seven most endangered heritage sites in Europe will be announced in March 2020. To demonstrate public backing for the building to be saved, an online petition has been set up: http://chng.it/KXKpZCsbDt
• The Alexander Thomson Society, in partnership with the SPAB, will be running a mini conference in Glasgow in spring 2020 centered on the re-use of old buildings. There will be an opportunity for a guided tour of the site, in addition to an exhibition showcasing the submissions for the ‘Reimagining Egyptian Halls’ competition.
• The SPAB is Britain’s oldest building conservation charity. It was set up by William Morris in 1877 to oppose the destructive restorations of the Victorian era. www.spab.org.uk