Date of Birth: 1780, reborn 1996.

Building: built as the town pad of tobacco baron William Cunningham, it was converted in 1827 into a stock exchange when architect David Hamilton added a great hall and a portico. Overhauled for pounds 7.2m in 1996, the city council gutted the interior, creating 24,000 sq ft of display space, four levels of galleries - named after the four elements - a shop and a roof-top cafe.

Brief History: the likes of Dickens, Disraeli, Jefferson and the Shah of Persia tucked into banquets here, in the days of the stock exchange. It has also done time as the Royal Bank of Scotland head office, a public library and HQ to a firm of merchants. The present occupants' reign hasn't been exactly stress-free: the art community was shocked to its well-sculpted core when the gallery's director Julian Spalding succeeded in overturning Sir William Burrell's wish that none of his collection could be loaned to foreign galleries (philistine's footnote: Burrell was a rolling-in- it shipping magnate who donated more than 9,000 pieces of art to the city). People went around muttering about betrayal, integrity, grave-robbing, breaches of honour and so on. Spalding argued that lending abroad would make it easier for them to borrow famous pieces - and he was right. Of course. This did not, however, stop one critic from describing the gallery's opening as "the worst-arranged collection of dire purchases I have ever seen".

Current events: Witness to Mortality, Joseph McKenzie's social-documentary photographs of Glasgow, Northern and the Republic of Ireland over the last 30 years. Words like "gritty" come to mind. Admission free.

Where to meet: the cafe, or by the Duke of Wellington statue outside, recognisable from the road cone which seems permanently jammed on its head.

Cost of a glass of wine: pounds 1.50. Bird's-eye view of city, free.

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