100 Govan Road Glasgow, G51 1AY
1890 -1896, Simpson and Wilson
The Rotundas were originally designed by engineers Simpson and Wilson. Both the North and South Rotundas were built between 1890 and 1896 to cover lift shafts to tunnels under the River Clyde. The Glasgow Harbour Tunnel, as it was officially named, was opened in 1895 and housed three tunnels. One was for pedestrians, while the remaining two carried carts and horse-drawn vehicles. Later cars were also able to use these tunnels. The Rotundas both covered a 24-meter-deep shaft which contained a hydraulic lift (made by the New York Company Otis) and stairs to take users to and from the tunnels. During the Second World War, the lift metalwork was removed for the war effort, and both tunnels closed in 1943 for safety reasons. The pedestrian tunnel opened again in 1947 and continued to stay open until in April 1980. During The Garden Festival in 1988 the South Rotunda was transformed by the famous ice cream maker Nardini and turned into a café. From 1988-2014 the South Rotunda lay empty and had fallen into a state of disrepair. However in 2014 the Rotunda was brought to back to life when the Malin Group bought over the building. With quaysides and docks aplenty on this part of the Clyde, it was important to move the workforce back down to the Clydeside, the home of the shipyards in Glasgow. Much of the original industrial features have been retained to remind the staff of the purpose these buildings once represented. The tunnels are still there to this day however one is now owned by Scottish Water and the other 2 remained closed.
Tours: Sat 12pm, 1.15pm, 2.30pm; 35-40 mins
Booking essential - opens 1st September at 10am.
Meeting point: Reception
Accessibility: Fully Accessible
Facilities: Seating, Toilet, Wheelchair Accessible Toilet
Parking: Car park adjacent