Police appeal after fire rips through Old College Bar building

Crews were met with what was described as a 'well-developed' blaze and worked through the early hours to extinguish it.

Police appeal after fire rips through Old College Bar building Google MapsGerard McSheaffrey

Police are appealing for anyone who saw “suspicious behaviour” to come forward after Glasgow’s Old College Bar building was devastated by a fire.

Nine fire appliances were dispatched to the derelict premises on High Street at around 1.35am on Tuesday.

Crews were met with what was described as a “well-developed” blaze and worked through the early hours to extinguish it.

Roads in the area were closed while emergency services dealt with the incident.

The building, once home to one of the city’s oldest pubs, has suffered significant damage with firefighters remaining on the scene through Tuesday afternoon to monitor for any hotspots.

Nobody was injured as a result of the fire but police are appealing witnesses to help in their investigation.

The site is currently the subject of a proposed city centre development featuring an 11-storey apartment block. The plans would require a number of the unlisted buildings in the conservation area to be demolished.

The Old College Bar on High Street in August 2019.

The application made by Structured House (Merchant Point) Ltd is currently being considered by Glasgow City Council.

The Merchant City and Trongate Community Council objected to the planned demolition of the building.

The objection, written by community council member Peter Hayman, read: “This organic mix of buildings from the mid-19th century are a rare, apt successor of a much earlier densely packed area, going back to the earliest evolution of Glasgow.

“The potential of the buildings refurbished could offer the very sort of mixed accommodation with
small scale businesses and local services that the community would like to see.”

A visualisation of the development submitted as part of design statement (CarsonSall)

A report on the structural condition of the property, submitted as part of the planning application, found the building to be in a poor condition, dilapidated and without any long-term works in place to prevent further deterioration.

A design statement read: “Today, the Old College Bar sits small and largely insignificant within the urban landscape. Alongside the building it adjoins, it detracts from the streetscape, sitting semi-derelict at the edge of the busy High Street.

“Elements of the existing Old College Bar interior will be salvaged and reused to create an improved setting for the bar’s continued operation.”

Detective constable Neil Bonsor, of Stewart Street CID, said: “Our enquiries are ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“The blaze has caused significant damage to the building’s structure.

“We would urge anyone who was in the area around the time of the incident, and who saw any suspicious behaviour to contact us.

“Anyone with information that could assist our investigation should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 0119 of May 4. Alternatively a report can be made to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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