Tontine Rooms

William Hamilton, 1781

Tontine Building, Tolbooth and Tolbooth Steeple, 1880s.

The Tontine rooms, were located in what is now the Trongate. ‘The Tontine Society’ of Glasgow was formed in 1782. Various prominent Glasgow merchants were amongst the original subscribers to what was, in effect, the forerunner of the later Royal Exchange. They included John Glassford (1715-83) and George Bogle of Daldowie (1700-84). These rooms, which included a hotel, coffee room and assembly hall, became the social and commercial headquarters of Glasgow at a time when this area was fashionable and affluent.

Postcard of Tontine Hotel, c. 1905.

The famous Tontine heads were located above ten arches on the Tontine, and survive to this day (in the garden at Provand’s Lordship). The Tobacco Lords were said to stroll around the Tontine Piazza, resplendent in their scarlet cloaks and gold tipped canes. Citizens of lesser standing moved out of their way.

Tontine Head, Provand’s Lordship, 2009.