LOCALS have revealed plans to secure the future of a historic Glasgow graveyard after it was closed off to members of the public due to Covid-19.

Residents in Merchant City and Trongate have announced they will be setting up a ‘Friends of Ramshorn Graveyard’ group in an effort to see the greenspace reopened. 

The cemetery’s gates were locked up more than one year ago in accordance with public health guidelines.

Now, the group believes the spot could be used as a space of wellbeing for residents and visitors while they argue its historical significance could also attract footfall to the area. 

Glasgow Times:

Dr Duncan MacLaren, chairman of the Merchant City and Trongate Community Council, said: “A Friends of the Ramshorn will encourage community participation in securing the graveyard’s future as a place of interest, education, exercise and wellbeing. 

“We could encourage more footfall through tourism and interest in Glasgow’s history by having more information in the graveyard as well as perhaps a website.”

The cemetery dates to the early 17th century with several Lord Provosts, numerous tobacco merchants and the victim in the Madeleine Smith trial buried there.

Dr MacLaren added: “It could be a place to educate both Scots and visitors about our country’s shameful place in the slave trade through focussing on the merchants buried in the graveyard - men whose names are found in many of the streets in the Merchant City. 

“They became rich through the exploitation of thousands of people from Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent and other colonial outposts. This would be a suitable place to highlight that and tell this neglected part of Glaswegian and Scottish history.”

Glasgow Times:

The community council previously called on the local authority to reopen the historic site, warning that locals and tourists were being deprived of the “only” natural space in the area. 

But City Property - who manages the site - said it was “not in a position to open and maintain the graveyard due to budgetary pressures and financial commitments.”

Dr MacLaren said: “Ramshorn Graveyard it is also a place to do gentle walking exercise and to sit and enjoy the trees and flowers when they are in bloom in spring and summer. 

“It has so much potential and a Friends of the Ramshorn group could help pioneer ideas to make it a safe place for Glaswegians and visitors to enjoy. But first, it must be open.”

The community initiative has received backing from local representatives. 

SNP councillor, Angus Millar, said: “The Ramshorn Kirkyard is an important historical site and a great local amenity for Merchant City residents, so it’s fantastic that the community is looking to take forward a “Friends Of” group.

“I am keen to work with the community and the Council to find longer-term solutions to secure access for the public and establishing this Friends of the Ramshorn group is a great way to make clear how important the kirkyard is to the Merchant City.”