How I saved the Rotunda
I WAS delighted to see your article and Leader Comment regarding the South Rotunda (“City’s rotunda monument is brought back from the brink” and “Firm provides light at end of the tunnel for Rotunda”, The Herald, January 5) and I am pleased thatithasnowausefullife.
Just over 30 years ago, after campaigning to save them from being demolished, I managed to buy both the North and South Rotundas for £1 and set about restoring them.
The North, because of its proximity to the SECC, became a restaurant complex where I formed a company with the well-known restaurater Mario Romano and his business partner Renato Paladini. Mario had revolutionised eateries in Glasgow with the Vesuvio, Sorento and L ‘Ariosto, to name but a few, in the late 1960s/early 70s. We ran it for several years then managed to obtain a casino licence, thereafter sold to Gala.
I had also produced and had obtained consent for the South to make into two large bars – there was nothing at that time between the King George V Bridge and Ibrox – with a large open space on the ground floor with a revolving upper floor themed on Clydeside and the Blitz with Spitfires and barrage balloons and so on. However just then the city had been given the City of Culture award and I handed it back to become part of the Garden Festival.
With the North, I also wanted to convert the Finnieston Crane adjacent into a rather special eaterie and negotiations went a long way but in the end proved to be too difficult. Niall Campbell, Rowallan Castle, Kilmaurs, Ayrshire.