Jan 30 2009 by Marc McLean, Lennox Herald (main ed)
Provost calls for town jewel to sparkle for all
THE oldest building in West Dunbartonshire is being eyed up as a future visitor attraction.
Glencairn House in Dumbarton High Street, which dates back to 1623, is a jewel in the town’s crown, according to Provost Denis Agnew.
Youth charity The Tullochan Trust rents two floors of the building at the moment, however Provost Agnew revealed he would like to see a long term plan developed to transform the house into a tourist facility.
Provost Agnew said: “I feel that our heritage has been neglected in West Dunbartonshire, and I would like to see buildings such as Glencairn House in the High Street opened up to the people of Dumbarton and visitors.
“Robert Burns received his freemanship there and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a hugely important building.
“It’s also our oldest building in West Dunbartonshire.
“Glencairn needs some attention and I realise it is being rented just now, but I would like to see a long-term plan developed and the council applying for money to help transform it into a visitor centre.
“It would invigorate the High Street, and West Dunbartonshire Council is committed to increasing our tourist numbers. But, to do that, we need to improve our historical areas of importance and assistance from Historic Scotland and the government could help bring our sites up to a high standard.”
Social work staff occupied Glencairn House until 2006, when they relocated to more suitable accommodation in Bridge Street.
The Tullochan Trust, which offers a range of educational projects for eight to 18-year-olds, opened offices in the building in May last year.
Provost Agnew, who takes a keen interest in local cultural and historical issues, also suggests the opening of museums to celebrate the area’s rich local heritage.
He said: “We have many landmark buildings in the area and we should be aware of our heritage. I’ve been championing any effort that can bring resources and funding to these sites.
“I’d like to see a museum opened up in Dumbarton and also possibly a smaller one in Renton or Alexandria featuring local artefacts and information which local people can be proud of.”