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.


The Merchants House Building

The Merchants House, the third building of that name, is situated at the corner of George Square and West George Street.

The original Merchants Hall, was built about 1600 as a meeting place for the merchants and also as a “Hospital” in the older sense of the word; that is as an Almshouse for Merchants and their families who had fallen on hard times. After the Almshouse had attracted several endowments the Hall was re-built in the 1650’s to a design by Sir William Bruce of Kinross, architect to Charles Π. It had ground floor lodgings for four old couples, but most of the charity of the House was expended on pensions.

In the 18th Century the hall was a major venue for social events, but latterly the Tontine Hotel became the centre of the “Exchange” and the Trades House, Assembly Rooms and Royal Exchange were built in the Queen Street area. The Merchants House met for a time in the City Chambers, then at the foot of the Saltmarket, and in 1817 the Dean of Guild, James Ewing, proposed that the Hall be moved from the Bridgegate. The building was sold, with provision for the retention of the Steeple, which remains a well known landmark in the City. The briggait steeple was sold to Glasgow City Council in 2009.

As a result of disagreements over a new site it was not until 1843 that the new hall was opened in Hutcheson Street, between the City Chambers and the Sheriff Court House for Lanarkshire. It was here that Chopin gave his only piano recital in Glasgow. In 1870 the building was reluctantly sold to the Town Council to allow for an expanding civic administration. For a time meetings were held in the Chamber of Commerce Hall in Virginia Street.

Since 1813 the Merchants House had been participating in the scheme to develop George Square. In 1877 the new Merchants House building was complete. The design by John Burnet included offices for the Chamber of Commerce. Substantial alterations were made in 1908 by Burnet’s son, also John, when two storeys were added and the building became that seen today.

A copy of the 400 year history of the House is available priced £15  

This grant is fantastic news for Time and Space. 

Before now we’ve never been able to offer our members any kind of art therapy so to be able to offer this puppet class is going to be a great addition to the therapeutic support we already offer. 

Many of our members have had experiences that can be very difficult to talk about, being able to express these difficult experiences in a different way will make a huge difference to them. 


At Kibble we care for some of the most vulnerable young people in the country. This support allows us to teach new skills, offer a wider range of subjects, and work towards qualifications that will lead to employment opportunities. We also want to try and encourage more girls to take up design and technology subjects. 
“I would like to thank the Members of Merchants House Glasgow for their support. Their contribution will make a massive difference to the opportunities available to the young people in our care.” 


We are extremely grateful to The Merchants House of Glasgow for their generous grant of £28,000 for the purchase of this mini bus.

Their long term support of our veterans is so much appreciated.  The bus, which was donated in recognition of our centenary year, will be well used by our residents for outings and days out.


People with lived experience of mental health find it harder to access services, face greater levels of discrimination and self-stigma. The grant from Merchants House will enable us to continue delivering our core service and help us grow our network of self-help groups and self-management training. The groups provide community and friendship for people who are isolated and excluded.  It empowers people who feel powerless and acts as a forum to exchange insights, views and experience of Bipolar. This is an essential part of self-management, helping people keep well and thus reducing hospital admissions.


As a leading social care charity, CrossReach provides care and support to the most vulnerable people in Scotland and it is the support from others, like the Merchants House of Glasgow, which allows us to continue this very valuable work.

The statistics around mental health are stark – every year, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem.  Many find it difficult to get the help they need.

The Tom Allan Centre, based in Glasgow, is a counselling service run by CrossReach. We work with over 1,000 clients per year, helping to improve the mental well being of these individuals, thanks to our generous supporters, like the Merchants House of Glasgow.


The grant provided by the Merchants House of Glasgow will help us to run our integrated dance group Horizons for around twenty young disabled and able-bodied people aged 14 – 25.  The project helps improve confidence, creativity and mental health and physical well being. The money will help to pay for the project to continue for another year.


We are Healthy n Happy, a charity and community owned organisation, governed by the local people of Cambuslang and Rutherglen and all of our work is directed by local priorities. We are delighted to have been awarded £3000 from Merchants House to support children and young people to get the best start in their community through the delivery of our Parent Cafes and The Wee Adventure Club.  Our Parent Cafes have a direct focus on supporting families with young babies/toddlers (0-5) who are affected by hardship and disadvantage and other challenging circumstances.   Following on from the Parent Cafes is The Wee Adventure Club - a weekly meet-up for “wee people from Burnhill“ (5-12) who are looking for BIG adventures in their community, making use of local community assets through play, exploration and nature based activities.  

This funding will:

  • Support parents to have enhanced relationships and bonding with their baby/child
  • Build lasting resilience in children - which is a key indicator of for future development, attainment and other positive life outcomes
  • Increase confidence, self-esteem, social skills and social networks for all participants
  • Develop a strong connection to community for all participants so they actively appreciate and enjoy their local neighbourhood

Thank you so much for helping to ease the many practical and financial difficulties families face throughout their child's treatment.

The support from The Merchants House of Glasgow has been instrumental in the delivery of complementary therapies at the Royal Alexandria Hospital and has become an important part of the charity's work to support cancer patients. This has also formed the model for other complementary therapy projects at a number of NHS facilities across the West of Scotland. 


Your generosity will help to support our Home from Home service in Glasgow, Marion's House.

Our home helps families to stay close to their child throughout treatment; as one parent explains, "It has made a difficult and scary situation less stressful by having a base close to hospital, leaving us to not have to worry about travel costs and long journeys." 


"Glasgow East End Community Carers has been providing support to carers in the east end of the city since 1991. Our new project, the Carers Hub, was launched in May 2016 and aims to provide ongoing preventative support to carers within our local community. It does this by providing carers with a range of services, support groups and activities aimed at improving health and well-being, reducing isolation and stress and increasing capacity and resilience to help carers continue in their caring role. This funding from the Merchants House of Glasgow will allow us to continue to provide this much needed support."