North Rotunda

North Rotunda, Glasgow
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

North Rotunda, Glasgow

A distinctive circular building on Tunnel Street, to the north of Finnieston Quay in W Central Glasgow, the North Rotunda represents the former northern entrance to the Clyde Harbour Tunnel. The tunnel complex finally closed in 1980 and the North Rotunda, which was B-listed in 1986, now serves as a restaurant. The South Rotunda lies on the opposite bank of the River Clyde. The rotunda once provided access to a 22-m (71-foot) deep vertical shaft which descended to a single pedestrian and twin vehicle tunnels running under the Clyde. Hydraulic lifts, supplied by Otis Elevator Company of New York, moved passengers and vehicles (originally horse-drawn carts) up and down these shafts. The Clyde Harbour Tunnel was built as a private enterprise between 1890 and 1895 but proved expensive to maintain and closed in 1907. It re-opened in 1912 but, with losses continuing, was subsidised by Glasgow Corporation from 1915 and eventually purchased by the Corporation for £100,000 in 1926. The vehicle tunnels closed in 1943 and were eventually filled-in in 1986. The pedestrian tunnel was used until 1980, but now lies abandoned and in poor condition. The North Rotunda was converted for alternative use in the late 1980s, and has served both as a casino and a restaurant.

The St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel in Hamburg (Germany) was modelled on the Clyde Harbour Tunnel. This opened in 1911 and subsequently formed an atmospheric location within the film The Odessa File (1974).

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