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The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Eva Bolander and Glasgow Building Preservation Trust’s Anne McChlery celebrate the award of a grant from the National Lottery for the rejuvenation of the West Boathouse on Glasgow Green. Credit Peter Devlin (file available from:
The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Eva Bolander and Glasgow Building Preservation Trust’s Anne McChlery celebrate the award of a grant from the National Lottery for the rejuvenation of the West Boathouse on Glasgow Green. Credit Peter Devlin (file available from:

Oarsome news as Boathouse secures lottery grant

4 June 2018

The National Lottery has confirmed a grant of £1.37m to Glasgow Building Preservation Trust to redevelop a historic boathouse on Glasgow Green.

The AHF has supported the project since its inception, with our Project Viability Grant of £3,000 in 2015 helping to establish the case for regeneration, which we were then able to follow with a further £13,000 of Project Development Funding in 2016 to help GBPT take the project to the point that it could apply to the major funders like HLF and HES.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Rejuvenation of the West Boathouse project will open up the River Clyde to all by removing barriers in order to enjoy and share the social, physical and psychological benefits of being part of a diverse river community.  The project will redevelop the historic timber structure into a fully shared and accessible facility to enable other groups to utilise the building and access the river Clyde. 

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) has been working with volunteers from two rowing clubs and the project team to develop proposals for the listed building and an activity plan to promote use of the building and the river through a series of events and activities to appeal to wider audience – encouraging everyone to engage with the river and the heritage of the site.

In addition to a HLF award, GBPT has also secured capital funding from Historic Environment Scotland, the Robertson Trust, Glasgow City Council, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Turtleton Charitable Trust and the Mickel Fund.  This follows development funding previously awarded by Architectural Heritage Fund, William Grant Foundation, Glasgow City Council, MyPark Scotland public appeal and the Spirit of Calton Fund.

With total project costs of £2.7m identified, GBPT will spend the next year developing the proposals and raising the remaining funding before starting work in spring 2019, with completion anticipated in 2020.  The clubs will be hosting an open session on Saturday 2nd June between 10am and 12noon so that people can come along and learn more about the project proposals.

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “With the European Rowing Championships coming to Scotland for the first time in its history in eight weeks’ time, the popularity of the sport is on the increase. We’re delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, a building which has great sporting heritage and associations with Glasgow 2018 Ambassador Karen Bennett and Dame Katherine Grainger will be able to open its doors to local people and allow them to enjoy the river on their doorstep.”  

Lord Provost of Glasgow, Eva Bolander, said:   “Glasgow is proud of its rich built heritage and the river from which so much wealth and pride has flowed.  It’s fantastic news that National Lottery players, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, are supporting this unique project to reconnect communities with the Clyde.”

John Entwistle, Chair of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust:  “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund have re-confirmed their long-standing support for this project – from their initial Start-Up Grant to the rowing clubs in 2015, through funding the project development and now this final grant award.  We are grateful to the National Lottery players who, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, have been essential in our work to save historic buildings in Glasgow, such as the West Boathouse.”

Further information:  Please contact Shiona Mackay on 01786 870 638 / 07779 142 890 ( or Jon Williams on 0207 591 6035 (


Glasgow Building Preservation Trust

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) was established in 1982 to rescue, repair, restore and rehabilitate historic buildings of architectural merit which through neglect or abuse may otherwise be lost in Glasgow and the surrounding area. The Trust makes a major contribution to Glasgow's regeneration through the preservation of its built heritage and organises the annual Doors Open Day event: Glasgow’s Built Heritage Festival.  Website:

The Rowing Clubs

Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club was established in 1857 and Clyde Amateur Rowing Club was established in 1865.  Both clubs have occupied either side of the semi-detached West Boathouse since it was built in 1905.

The founder of Clydesdale ARC, James H Rodger, was part of Queen Victoria’s bodyguard when she opened the Loch Katrine waterworks in 1859, was crew of the first eight oared boat race in Scotland.  In later years, James H Rodger became the proprietor of what would become the Rogano restaurant. In keeping with the established Victorian philanthropic tradition of making grand gestures, ideally architectural, monumental and enduring, James H Rodger contributed a significant sum to the costs of building the West Boathouse in 1905.

Over the years there have been numerous sporting achievements and events: the river Clyde hosted the Scottish National Regatta in 1869; the founding members of Rangers Football Club in 1872 were originally rowers who played lacrosse when the river was un-rowable, Clydesdale’s ‘Cronies Crew’ was unbeaten for several years on the Clyde; Clyde’s remarkable Penny Brothers were five brothers who dominated rowing competitions in the 1920s and 30s.  All of these recognise the contribution which rowing has made to the wider sporting heritage of Glasgow Green.

Gordon Simpson, a boy of the Gorbals in the 1950s, was caught throwing stones at the rowers and put in the coxswains seat to ‘see how he’d like it’.  He loved it, became a member, served the committee for over 50 years, winning lifetime service to sport awards, BBC Unsung Hero award and, having once been neighbours with Katherine Grainger’s parents, was the first person to put the future Olympic Champion in a boat – at the West Boathouse.

More recently; 3-time world champion Peter Haining, Sydney 2000 Olympic Silver medallist Gillian Lindsay, London 2012 Olympic Gold medal winner Katherine Grainger, Rio 2016 Olympic Silver medallists Polly Swann and Karen Bennett, Rotterdam 2016 World Champion Imogen Walsh – have all at one time been involved and rowed from the West Boathouse on Glasgow Green.


The Estimated cost for the project is circa £2.7 million

The proposed works will include: replacing the timber piles and substructure with concrete foundations; replacing the non-original external cladding; converting the building from a semi-detached building into a shared boathouse; renewing and repairing the roof, windows and doors; providing better access to the river with a floating pontoon; improving accessibility to the upper floors with lift and accessible facilities; providing flexible, multi-use spaces on the upper floor that will be available for use by other groups.

The broad benefits and activities of the project include:  Activities to support greater use of the river corridor; removal of barriers and supporting wider access to the river; volunteer training, placements and skills development; flexible, multi-functional spaces for use by community groups; improve inclusion, health, well-being, skills and confidence for users; interpretation of the built, sporting and natural heritage of the site; a new lease of life for a historic building; improved access to the built heritage of the boathouse, the sporting heritage of the rowing clubs and the natural heritage of the river corridor; support health benefits with improved access to facilities for informal recreational activity; foster and enhance community enterprise through increased responsibility for the building, encouraging social enterprise and alternative uses;  create a community focussed sporting legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 European Championships for the wider benefit of the people of Glasgow.

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