Glencairn House transformation moves forward

Glencairn rear with children's library

November 2021

By Lucy Ashton

A new library and museum in Dumbarton’s historic Glencairn House could be operational as soon as 2024.

Councillors were updated this week on progress with the exciting project to transform the building with a three-floor extension to the rear overlooking the River Leven and with views towards Dumbarton Castle.

Glencairn House would display the finest historical items from the Council’s heritage collection, and include a dedicated children’s space featuring a garden and story-telling tree. There will also be the usual library offer of fiction and non fiction books, as well as public computer use.

The design for the extension at the rear of the building takes inspiration from the town’s glass works industry, and the 1200-year-old Skellat Bell from the Council’s own collection.

In addition to the new library, the existing facility at Strathleven Place would become a community archive and heritage space where the public will be able to engage for the first time with rare and valuable items from the local area.

The combined project was part of the Council’s successful bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund for £19.9m.

The information was shared during an update to the Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development Committee this week. The proposals will form a planning application expected to be submitted early next year. Committee agreed that a procurement exercise for construction can begin once planning permission is secured.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Our plans to transform Glencairn House – Dumbarton’s oldest building – into a new, purpose-built and modern library will give us a great state-of-the-art  facility which attracts people from near and far, and ensure that our town highlights our rich heritage to both residents and visitors alike.

“The proposed plans show a real creative use of space on our high street, which is importantly sympathetic to the history of the site. I am also really encouraged to see the proposal’s connectivity with the River Leven as it is so important that Dumbarton town centre increases its interaction with the riverside. I look forward to seeing it progress in the coming months and years.”

Glencairn House front and rear view looking on to the Leven.

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