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Botanics garage gets listing upgrade

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January 9 2008

Botanics garage gets listing upgrade
A piece of Glasgow’s motoring history has been listed at category A by Historic Scotland.The Arnold Clark Garage, also known as the Botanics Garage, on Vinicombe Street has been upgraded from category B to A in recognition of its national importance. The new listing description further states that the building is: “An exceptionally early and rare surviving example of a public motor garage, … likely to be the earliest surviving example in Scotland. Public garages of this era, which comprise more than one storey are also very rare and this may be the only one of its type in Scotland…. Purpose-built public parking garages, which predate the 1920s, are extremely rare both nationally and internationally…. As one of the first of its type this building was innovative and the use of the distinctive decorative faience is of particular special interest.” The campaign to Save the Botanic Gardens Garage was organised in the summer of 2007 in response to an application by the owners, Arnold Clark, to demolish the garage and replace it with a new 4-storey structure incorporating flats, cottages, retail space, and a restaurant. The campaign received enthusiastic support from both local residents and national bodies concerned with historic buildings, with over 150 letters of objection to the proposed demolition being sent to Glasgow City Council’s Planning Department. Glasgow City Council has recently performed their own survey of the building, which confirmed the campaign group’s original arguments that the building is structurally sound. Arnold Clark eventually withdrew their application to demolish the garage, but they have intimated that they will be submitting a new application in the near future, most likely involving demolition behind a retained façade. The Save the Botanic Gardens Garage group feel that it would be premature to be thinking about just façade retention. “There is much more to the building that is of interest than just the façade, including the utilisation of historically significant engineering techniques and materials, the overall architectural design,” said the trust. Historic Scotland Head of Listing, Dr Deborah Mays, said: “The garage was built in the early 1900s when parking on the street was not allowed. People living in grand Glasgow tenements would have relied on public parking garages like this one. Though existing buildings were converted for use as garages, purpose built multi-storey garages were not common. It is an incredibly rare survival and may well be the earliest one of its type remaining in Scotland.”

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