The Merchants House of Glasgow is one of the oldest and most important bodies in the City of Glasgow. It was already a long established Institution, when in 1605 it first received a written Constitution. This was the Letter of Guildry which still forms the basic constitution of the Merchants House, as of the Trades House of Glasgow and the former Dean of Guild Court in Glasgow, prior to the latter’s abolition by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

Under this Constitution, subject to such alterations as were made by regulations passed from time to time, the House continued to be governed until the passing of the Burgh Reform Act in 1833. Subsequently, resolutions have been passed with a view to conforming its Regulations to the circumstances of the day.

The early history of the House is closely linked with that of civic government and over the centuries the House has always been connected with the Local Authority, the Dean of Guild being ex officio a member of the Town Council until the 16th May, 1975. Although the 1973 Act abolished all non-elected posts, the part played by the Lord Dean and the House in the governance of the City of Glasgow over the centuries has been recognised in that the then City of Glasgow District Council invited the Lord Dean to attend meetings of the Council in an honorary non-voting capacity, which he does regularly, thus keeping the House in touch with civic affairs.

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