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City Halls and Old Fruit Market

Occupying a complete block between Candleriggs and Albion Street, at the heart of Glasgow's Merchant City, the City Halls were built in 1841 to hold orchestral concerts and public gatherings. This represents the oldest purpose-built concert hall in the city. Much of the ground floor was occupied by the city's fruit market, which were established here in 1817, with the "dead meat" and cheese markets located nearby. Famous historical figures who have spoken at the halls included Benjamin Disraeli, David Livingstone, Charles Dickens and William Gladstone. Other spaces were added to the original Great Hall and Lesser Hall in 1967-69, when the complex was remodelled as the city's main concert venue.

In 2006, the venue underwent a further £15 million renovation, upgrading has now turned the halls into state of the art venues and also incorporates a home for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Music Centre and a community choir, the 'Merchant Voices'. This music complex also houses top-class rehearsal, recording, broadcasting and webcasting facilities, and offers a programme of public workshops and classes.

A single entrance through the bold Italianate facade on Candleriggs now gives access to both the City Halls and the Fruit Market, which hold 1036 and 1200 people respectively, although the Great Hall had a record audience of 3500 in 1843. The listed interior of the Old Fruitmarket features cast iron columns, supporting a balcony and a high vaulted roof, together with the original greengrocers' name boards. The Fruitmarket is a popular venue for the Celtic Connections festival.

The Scottish Music Centre was founded in 1968 and provides a resource centre for musicians, composers and the public, as well as an archive comprising 30,000 items, including musical scores and recorded sound.


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