The Merchants House of Glasgow, although more ancient in origin, obtained its first recorded constitution in a Letter of Guildry in 1605, later ratified by an Act of the Scots Parliament in 1671.

It is an Elective Incorporation, and one of the most important charitable institutions connected with civic, social, commercial and other interests of the City of Glasgow. Its Regulations are amended from time to time in general meeting as necessary. The Regulations were updated most recently in February 2020. The updated regulations can be found here

The principal charitable objectives of the House are the relief of poverty by payment of benefits to individuals and providing grants to charitable bodies chiefly in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.


The business of the House is managed by the Lord Dean of Guild, the Vice Dean, the three recent ex-Deans, and thirty-six Directors elected in terms of the regulations of the House. Merchants House has substantial assets in the form of property and investments, the latter being reviewed regularly.

The principal charitable objectives of the House are the relief of poverty by payment of benefits to individuals and providing grants to charitable bodies mainly in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

These matters are controlled by two committees of Directors, the Grants Committee, and the Benefits Committee. In addition to committee meetings, there are also four quarterly meetings of Directors when the business of the House is fully reviewed. The House continues to receive Trusts transferred to its administration, and legacies and bequests.

The Directors meet quarterly to review the affairs of the House and additionally, as required. For effective conduct of business of the Charity there are eight committees and one sub-committee

With the exception of the Audit, Investment Sub-Committee and Nominations committees, each committee meets at least four times per year. Committee decisions and recommendations are reviewed by the full Board at quarterly meetings.A report from the Lord Dean and from each committee Chairperson are presented to each Quarterly Directors meeting. The Chairperson of each committee is invited to provide a committee report for consideration at the Board meeting.


The day to day running of The Merchants House is delegated to the General Manager Collector and his staff. Contact details roles are noted below-

Paul Martin

General Manager and Collector [email protected]

Nancy Braid 

Events Manager 

[email protected]

Vacant  Admin and Social Media Officer 
Patricia Walker Finance Assistant

[email protected]

Ian Campbell Facilities Officer

Raymond McShane Facilities Officer 


The Merchants House website provides wide range of information relating to the House activities. The following pages are worth visiting:


  • Grant Stories- this page highlights the impact of grant awards. The stories are direct feedback from the volunteers and staff involved with the charity. A copy of our social impact report can be found here
  • Events- details of upcoming events area provided on this page. All events can be booked online
  • Membership- Directors are encouraged to raise awareness of our charitable activities and introduce potential new members to the House. An application for membership form can be found here
  • Shop- our online shop is a great way support our charitable activity. You are able to purchase a book on the history of Merchants, members ties and ladies scarves.
  • Directors area- the Directors area is a private area of the website for Directors only. This area includes contact details for Directors, committee meeting dates and information regarding good governance. There a resources library for documents that will assist you in your role as a trustee.


All the unrestricted funds of the House are governed, controlled, and administered directly by the Directors of the House. The House’s grant making activities are delegated by the Directors generally to the Grants Committee or, in the case of three funds (viz the Stephen Bicentenary Trust Fund, the Commercial Travellers of Scotland Benevolent Fund for Widows and Orphans and the Corn Trades Fund) the Beneficiaries Committees.

Payment of Grants, other than any Grant in excess of £10,000, is made immediately following their award by the relevant committee and their award is reported to the Directors at the next following Quarterly Meeting. A Grant in excess of £10,000 can only be made with the prior approval of the Directors.

Please follow this link for the Charitable Grants Aide Memoire  page. This page provides  an overview of the charitable funds of the House and of the regulations, guidelines and other provisions (of trust deeds and other constitutional documents) relating to these funds and, thereby, to provide assistance to the Directors and Committees of the House in its charitable grant making activity.


The Merchants House provides support to individuals who have fallen upon hard times. The House provides financial support with regular quarterly payments as well as a Christmas Gift and annual Heating Allowance. In addition to our own beneficiaries we also continue to support people from various funds passed to us namely: The Glasgow Corn Trade Benevolent Association; Commercial Travellers of Scotland Benevolent Fund; The Stephen Bi-centenary and The Ure Elder Trust.

As part of an administrative change we have also added many beneficiaries who are paid small amounts through the Inverclyde Bequest. We receive a fee for providing administrative and accountancy services for the charities 'The Royal Incorporation of Hutchesons' Hospital in the City of Glasgow Charity and The Glasgow Educational and Marshall Trust


The magnificent Merchants House building on the west side of George Square was completed in 1877 one year before the City Chambers. The building’s outstanding architectural form makes a statement about the Merchants and the part they played in Glasgow facing the City Chambers across George Square. Those who commissioned a far bigger building than was required by the Merchants Charity had the vision to create lettable space to attract premium rental income to support their ongoing work. The success of the venture was immediate, and three floors were added in 1909.

The building today has 6 floors plus basement producing an annual rental income of £341,000 from 12 tenants. Ship Venture Ltd, is a company owned by the Merchants House, which undertakes the management of the property and is VAT registered. Speirs Gumley Property Management Ltd manage the property on behalf of Ship Venture Ltd. Additional professional consultancy advice is provided when necessary by: Lapsley McManus (Property Consultants) deal with letting and negotiating leases; Kerr Baxter Associates (Building Surveyors), administer refurbishment works; Mitchells Roberton (Solicitors) are responsible for preparing and adjusting leases.