Chapter 110 – The Tontine Hotel

Trongate’s Tontine Hotel, constructed in 1781 by William Hamilton, is one of my favourite Glasgow institutions. Sitting in this beautiful cafe, I explain to Robert how a Tontine is an investment scheme for raising capital and devised in 1653 by a Neapolitan Banker, Lorenzo Tonti. Each investor buys a share and rewarded with an annual dividend. Where one of the investors dies, their share of the fund is allocated to the remaining investors.

In our sumptuous surroundings, we discuss the tramline map’s progress and his design ideas, including drawing more buildings onto the map. This will give perspective and detailed landmarks to better understand the city’s geography.

“I have studied Robert Barker’s ‘The panorama of Edinburgh from Calton Hill’, which has provided intriguing ideas to improve this map”, Robert explains with enthusiasm.

I smile at my apprentice, ”You have made excellent progress. When will you be finished?”

“I will finish by the start of July. The line is expected to open in late August and I am working closely with Alexander Campbell to prepare the printworks.”

Lunch is concluded with a toast to the company’s health and Robert heads back to the office.

I head for the Trades Hall, where I have an appointment to convince them to add cartography to its list of guilds. A prized idea of mine.

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