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Tontine on fire

People's Palace, Social History File

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Tontine on fire

The fire at the Tontine Building, 1911.

In 1781 a Tontine Society was established to raise money to open a coffee house, society rooms and hotel in Trongate. Named after Lorenzo Tonti, an Italian who devised the method of raising funds for joint ventures, the society consisted of 107 subscribers who bought £50 shares in the Society, raising £5,000. Each subscriber named a person (usually a young child) and during that person's life the subscriber was entitled to a share of the profits the society made. When only one nominee was left alive, the subscriber who had named him or her became the owner of all of the investements and property of the Society.

After the last nominee had died in 1861 and the Society was disbanded, the Tontine building was sold and was converted c 1868 to become the drapery shop of Moore, Taggart & Co. The fire in 1911 gutted the building.

Reference: SP.2000.74.4

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

City Improvement Trust, coffee houses, department stores, drapery shops, fire fighters, firefighting, firemen, fires, Glasgow Fire Brigade, horses and carts, hotels, Moore, Taggart & Co, Tontine Building, Tontine Society, tontines, trams, warehouses

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