The original Grand Hall within the City Hall and Bazaar was designed by George Murray in 1840, with construction completed a year later. The Bazaar itself came a few decades earlier in 1817 from a design by J. Clelland. This housed a number of market stalls, selling everything from fruit and veg to dairy produce, books and shoes. From 1842 until 1886, the City Halls and Bazaar came under the supervision of architect John Carrick, who oversaw the addition of a new roof designed by John Baird in 1842, and then four decades later designed a new frontage for the marketplace, which still remains to this day.
During its long history, the City Halls played host to a number of famous names including author Charles Dickens, explorer Dr. David Livingstone, as well as two British Prime Ministers, Benjamin Disraeli and William Ewart Gladstone. Over the decades many more architect firms were involved in extending, redecorating and restoring the fruitmarket and City Halls, including Archibald George Jury who was granted £200,000 in 1967 and emergency powers to restore the City Halls, and short after it received its category A-listed status. Despite these last ditch efforts, the centre fell into decline and closed in 2003.
However, the centre was gifted a £15 million refurbishment by a team from the Glasgow District Council’s Department of Civic Architecture & Design, overseen by Eimear M Kelt. The new centre re-opened in 2006, providing a new home to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The fruitmarket was transformed into The Old Fruitmarket, which retained the markethall aesthetics of the Victorian era while providing a music venue with a capacity of 2000. It has since become renowned for its jazz and traditional music events, and is also used by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for more modern, experimental pieces. Although she lived to see the refurbishment completed, sadly Eimear Kelt passed away the following year.