The Tenement House – the last gaslight in Glasgow

A flat from the last century has been preserved in the centre of Glasgow. The Tenement House opens a window into the past and tells the story of its special inhabitant.

The entrance to the Tenement House is one of many in the street. What lies behind it, however, is unique.

The first floor smells of gas. What would normally be a reason to call the fire brigade is part of everyday life here in Tenement House in Glasgow. Because there are still gas lights here – just as it was normal around the year 1900.

This is the charm of the Tenement House: today’s museum consists of a flat in which time has stood still: a wooden bathroom, toilet with cistern and chain, old chairs, beds and kitchen utensils. Light from the gas pipe, coals in the fireplace for heating.

Eine alte Küche mit Holzregalen und alten Küchengeräten. Ein Fenster erhellt die Küche.
The kitchen in the Tenement House

However, the Tenement House is not a reconstruction that has found a place here by chance. The story sounds much more exciting. It began with a death. When Agnes Toward died in a nursing home in 1975, she left no heirs. She had therefore promised some chairs to her lawyer. When he and his niece entered Miss Toward’s flat, they thought they had stepped back in time.

The flat in Buccleuch Street was full to bursting. Miss Toward had kept everything and thrown nothing away. From newspaper cuttings and cake recipes to beds from the 19th century – everything was still there. The lawyer’s niece, Anna Davidson, recognised immediately that this was something special. She contacted museums to preserve this flat for posterity.

Ein Toilettentisch aus dem 19. Jahrhundert mit Bürsten und Kämmen darauf und einem Spiegel
Agnes Toward got ready to go out at this table

She was successful. Today, the National Trust for Scotland runs the two-storey museum. On the lower floor, visitors can read interesting details from the past, find out how the size and layout of the flats in the building have changed, who brought the coal and what the gas light was all about. There are also small exhibits such as old catalogues that try to sell the trip to the Clyde or the Isle of Bute.

Ein Katalog in den Farben Gelb und Rot, der die westliche Region bei Glasgow anzeigt. Er war Werbung für Ausflüge auf die Inseln.
An old catalogue

A special highlight is an old wedding dress, which is protected behind glass. Equipped with this information, we climb the stairs to the first floor. Up into the world of Agnes Toward.

Ein Treppenhaus mit Holzreling führt nach oben
The stairs to the top

At the top, your eyes first have to get used to the dim light in the flat. The smell of gas explains why the lamps only sparsely illuminate the surroundings. These lamps are the last of their kind – and it was not easy to convince the fire protection authorities of this special feature.

ein altes Gaslicht mit einem durchsichtigen Glasschirm
Old gas light in the Tenement House

Agnes Toward was neither rich nor poor. She made a good living and had a good flat for the time. What that meant, how she lived and what was needed, is explained by several guides up here in the flat who know their way around. Whether it’s about the humidity in the kitchen or the “hierarchy” in the wash house in the courtyard, the stories of history in a suitable setting take you back in time.

Ein runder, mit Teegeschirr gedeckter Tisch mit Decke und vier alten Stühlen vor einem Fenster
The round table in the living room

Everything is set up as if a visitor is about to arrive. The laid table with the old chairs in the living room awaits the participants at the tea party. The dress for the occasion is on the bed, the bathroom is ready, the kitchen is waiting for the lady of the house.

Ein altes Bett mit Metallrahmen und einem Kleid darauf
The bed in the flat

It’s the details that can be fascinating. Beautiful old tiles, printed wallpaper, books on the shelves, the washing set in front of the dressing mirror … Visitors can lose themselves in the flat.

There are plenty of palaces and castles to visit in Scotland. But the life of a woman in a flat in the centre of Glasgow around 1900 is something special. The Tenement House in Glasgow offers these marvellous insights.

How to get there

It’s difficult to find a car park here. That’s why it’s worth taking the underground to Cowcaddens and then walking down Buccleuch Street for around 10 minutes. If you still want to drive, you can find the address here:

145 Buccleuch Street
Glasgow G3 6QN

The Tenement House Infos

What it isAn old flat in Glasgow from the 19th and 20th centuries that has been preserved and can be visited today.

Opening hoursdaily: 10:00-17:00
(last admission 16.30)

Entry feesAdults: 8.50 pounds
Reduced: 6.00 pounds
Family: 20.50 pounds
Family (1 adult): 14.00 Pound
(as of 2023)

Mapcode for TomTom0HJ.V4
» Was ist das?

Postcode for Satnav145 Buccleuch Street
Glasgow, G3 6QN

Webpageclick here

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