Who we are
The Trades House of Glasgow was created at the time of reform of Glasgow's local government in 1605. At that time the electorate was essentially divided into two groups: the Merchants and the Craftsmen. The Craft Incorporations were led by the Deacon Convener who was given a council seat which is retained to this day, but no longer has speaking or voting rights.
Trades House was established to help protect and support the Crafts people of the City. Over the centuries it housed the Trades Free School for boys and girls, worked closely with educational establishments within the City to support initiatives when appropriate and used Funds built up following donations from generous benefactors to assist those in need.
Trades House is a charity focusing on both Educational Initiatives and supporting people in need. We give donations of more than £750,000 annually to deserving causes and individuals.
To achieve this we have built strong relationships with establishments from nurseries to universities working to motivate and assist those in learning from pre-schoolers to apprentices. We also work closely with third sector groups to ensure the donations and funds we distribute are given to worthwhile causes and the individuals that will benefit the most.
The Trades House still meets in the Trades Hall in Glassford Street, which, apart from the medieval cathedral, is the oldest building in Glasgow used for its original purpose.
The Platform is the group of people who shape and direct Trades House from year to year, similar to a company’s ‘Board’ of Directors. The House is the Governing Body and the members of the Platform are elected by that Body.
Seven people sit on the Platform, each carrying out the seven consecutive roles for one year each. A new member is elected onto the Platform each year, which means it benefits from the experience of those that have sat on it for some time but are invigorated with fresh ideas from the new members.
The Platform is headed by the ‘Deacon Convener’, a position which each Platform member holds during the middle of their term on the Platform. The title ‘Deacon Convener’ was coined because s/he ‘convenes’ the House Trustees. The Deacon Convener is supported by the rest of the Platform, in particular the Collector (who originally would have ‘collected’ subscriptions etc).
Members of The Platform
Deacon Convener – Bruce Reidford
Bruce Reidford recently retired from Tunnocks Ltd after spending 30 years as Company Secretary, responsible for all legal and financial matters within the company.
He is immersed in civic duty and charitable work having been an Elder in the Church of Scotland for 35 years, an Ambassador for ‘Glasgow the Caring city’ and carrying out voluntary work for Alzheimer’s Scotland.
Bruce is an Ex Deacon of the Incorporation of Bakers and served on the House Finance Committee, the Charities Committee and Trades House Burns Festival Committee.
Collector – John McKnight
John McKnight recently retired as a former Technical Director and latterly Associate with Aecom one of the largest technically staffed, multi-disciplinary Professional Services organisation in the world with some 100,000 staff in over 150 countries. As an Associate with the Infrastructure and Environmental Section, John was responsible for the management and technical delivery of major infrastructure projects. John joined the Incorporation of Hammermen in 2004 and served on the Master Court from 2011 becoming Deacon in 2016. John is an active and committed member of the House serving on the Commonweal, School Craft, Education and Heritage Committees.
John is also a member of the Incorporation of Fleshers, The North Parish Washing Green Society and the Weavers Society of Anderston.
Late Deacon Convener – Tom McInally
Tom McInally became involved in Trades House as a member of the Incorporation of Coopers in 2006, helping to run many of its charity initiatives and sitting on various committees.
He started his career as a professional apprentice with the Corporation of the City of Glasgow, and since then has been a practicing town planner in Glasgow’s public and private sectors. He helped with planning for the redevelopment of the Gorbals, Darnley, Glasgow Harbour and Central Govan (for which his work was awarded ‘The Silver Jubilee Cup’ in 2014 – the UK’s top planning award).
Late Collector – Ken Dalgleish
Ken Dalgleish is a Chartered Accountant and Managing Director of Aspen People Ltd, which specialises in executive recruitment.
He is heavily involved in the Glasgow Modern Apprentice Awards at Trades House and has a particular interest in the Education Festival. Ken believes young people have a key role in developing the economic success of Glasgow in the future.
Ex-Deacon Convener - Dr Alistair Dorward
Dr Alistair Dorward was a consultant physician with an interest in respiratory medicine at Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley from 1985 to September 2015.
Professionally he has had a wide variety of roles within the Scottish Health Service. He was Clinical Director of Medicine for 17 years and Lead Clinician for Clyde for 5 years.
Alistair has been an integral part of Trades House’s Kinship Care Initiative and various other projects.
This led him during his year as DC to have “Looking After Glasgow” as his vision.
Ex Deacon Convener – Keith Brown OBE
Keith Brown OBE is a former Managing Director of Morgan Stanley and Head of its European Research in the 1990’s. He also served as a Board Member of BAe Systems and Board Member of London Regional Transport where he was instrumental in introducing improvements for travel with disabilities. He is a former Chairman of the Racecourse Association.
As Deacon Convener his theme was ‘Reaching Out’ not just to the City of Glasgow but also to develop relationships with London Livery Companies and similar institutions in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Collector Elect – Billy Birse-Stewart
Billy Birse-Stewart retired earlier in 2019 as MD of Wine Importers, having worked in the industry for over 25 years. He is an Ex-Visitor of the Maltmen, and recently organised a successful industry event in Trades Hall, encouraging students and apprentices to look at career opportunities in the hospitality industry. Billy is a member of the Charities Committee.