THE last surviving Virginia Tobacco Merchant's house in Glasgow was

officially reopened yesterday after a #500,000 restoration project which

began last October.

The three-storey A-listed building, known as the Tobacco Lord's House,

at 42 Miller Street in the heart of the Merchant City, had lain derelict

for a decade until the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) began

its renovation.

Glasgow District Council leader Pat Lally performed the opening

ceremony yesterday. The building will be used as a West of Scotland

conservation centre and will house the GBPT's headquarters and offer

accommodation to other heritage associations such as the Scottish Civic


It will also be available for use by the public as a one-stop resource

providing information about historic buildings, their architects,

restoration grants, and traditional craftsmanship.

Built in 1775, the Georgian villa in Palladian style was owned by the

Glasgow merchant family of Robert Findlay and later occupied by various

businesses including a gas company, jewellers, glass importers, cotton

spinners, and printers.

Mr Findlay's great-great grandson, also called Robert, was among those

who attended yesterday's opening and said he was delighted to see the

house restored to its former glory.

After the building was sold to the GBPT by the Virginia Court

Development Company for #1 in 1992, a funding package which included

#230,000 from Historic Scotland was put together, with additional

support and funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Glasgow

Development Agency, Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Regional Council,

and several other organisations.

Speaking at the opening yesterday, GBPT chairman Rob Joiner said

Glasgow City Council in particular had been supportive of conservation

projects and reiterated his hope that such support would continue after

local government reform next April.

The building is the first the GBPT has restored since, as the

Bridgegate Trust, it refurbished the Briggait Centre in Glasgow in the