A PROJECT that began with an aim to preserve the history of Glasgow's built environment is hoping to exhibit later this year after the pandemic scuppered plans.

Those who live in or have visited tenement flats across Glasgow will know that many have their own stylings of tiles and other fixtures in their shared spaces.

The Tenement Tiles online archive (also known as TnmntTiles on social media) looks to preserve the beauty of tenement life and the online archive has grown to include finds from Scotland and beyond.

It began with a love of Scottish historic design and has since grown to a worldwide presence. 

After a year and a half of Covid restrictions, the archive looks to take years of findings to an in-person exhibition at the Tenement House in Glasgow.

The project documents the ceramics, stain glass, ironwork and woodwork found within tenements across the city and has displayed a lot of the unique artwork present in these places already for an online exhibition.

Zan Phee curates the archive and told The National that the idea for it came out of a time of change in her life back in 2015 and "a need to be pro-active during a time of unemployment".

The National:

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She said: "I was living in less than ideal circumstance, after the end of a long-term relationship. I found myself living in the southside of Glasgow after years in the east. I took myself for daily walks, to get to know the local area better & to force myself out of the house. I’ve always had a keen interest in past fashions, be it wardrobe or interior design.

"During my wanders, I found myself photographing porch tiles of tenements, & sharing them through my personal social page. After spamming Twitter for a day or so, I saw there was an interest, and decided to begin a separate account for my finds. Six years on we now have Instagram and Facebook pages too, each with their own mix of content & community.

"Our main goals are to be inclusive to those of any background, who wish to enjoy & protect our historic built environment. You don’t need to be an architect, historian, or expert in Scottish culture … I’m certainly not."

Before the pandemic, Phee received a grant from Glasgow City Heritage Trust (GCHT) that allowed for the creation of an exhibition of Tenement Tiles' findings.

However, restrictions meant that the in-person exhibition had to be postponed from summer of 2020 and there are now plans for it to go ahead later this year.

However, Phee was keen to display the work from six years of online archiving and changed pace to create an online exhibition that ran from October to November last year. She was also able to draw hundreds of people to a launch event that was hosted via Zoom.

The National:

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GCHT provided the initial funding to create the exhibition through their community grant scheme that helps projects that promote the community.

The grant funding meant that Phee was able to create prints of her work documenting Glasgow tenements in preparation for the exhibition.

Silvia Scopa of the trust said: "Glasgow City Heritage Trust is looking forward to visiting the TnmntTiles exhibition at the Tenement House!

"TnmntTiles was offered a Community Grant back in 2019. Since then, Zan Phee has managed to overcome multiple challenges relating to the Covid pandemic, which resulted in the project having to move online. This included a very popular exhibition that GCHT was proud to host on its website. 

"The exhibition was open to the public from October 5 until November 30, 2020, and during that time, was visited by more than 1500 people. We're delighted to hear that the original plans for a physical exhibition have now come to fruition. 

"As a project with the appreciation of our living built heritage at its core, we believe that TnmntTiles will continue to grow in popularity and we can’t wait to see where it will land next."

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The aim of the exhibition is to have it in place over the course of November and December this year.

The exhibition will be located in the Tenement House that takes people back in time to explore a time capsule of Glasgow and is operated by the National Trust for Scotland.

To follow Tenement Tiles' online archive, you can head to the Twitter page which is where it all started and can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.