WHERE IS IT? In the heart of the Merchant City district, where Bell Street meets Candleriggs
Offering one of the best examples of modern refurbishment, Merchant Square, as well the neighbouring City Hall and Old Fruitmarket, have retained the 19th Century façade while allowing the space to redevelop, from an old fruit market into bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues
While the City Hall was originally conceived by George Millar in 1841, the old fruit market’s exterior design and interior roofing is the work of architect John Carrick, who supervised the roof work in the 1850s, before designing the Candleriggs frontage in the 1880s. The fruit market shut its doors in 1998, unable to compete with the spate of supermarkets and the custom-built Forge shopping centre to the east. It was much the same across the entire Merchant City area; this is actually a modern title, the original area was simply known as the Trongate.
Around that time, artists and local entrepreneurs started assimilating the old warehouses and buildings to modern needs. The streets were widened and pedestrianised, while the old fruit market was converted into a series of bars and restaurants linked in the cobbled stone space that is now Merchant Square. The music venue The Old Fruitmarket, hidden from view but right next door also retains some of the character and charm of the building’s former life.
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