The Category A listed St. John’s Church has been lovingly restored to its former glory in a £200,000 project that was funded by Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Built as the Free Church in 1876 by Robert Bryden, St. John’s Church was patronised by many wealthy 18th century Glasgow industrialists who had settled there after the advent of steamship commuting to Glasgow.
The refurbishment came as part of a £1.3m scheme by Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair nine dilapidated churches across the country. The Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme was established in 2002 and to date the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £40 million to places of worship in Scotland.
The tall French Gothic design of the church includes several fascinating features, including a square tower with corner turrets and an octagonal spire. Internally, the church celebrates a stunning interior with cast iron columns, stained glass windows and an imposing organ.
MAST Architects LLP were appointed to prepare a building repairs study, including a photometric survey and a steeplejacks report. In addition, a detailed examination of the fabric included gaining access to all parts of the roof and roof spaces.
Once the conservation value of the building had been carefully assessed, the information from the surveys was costed and compiled in a report. This report was the main supporting document in application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland for the Repairs Grant for Places of Worship.
Matthew Holloway, MAST Architects LLP, said: “We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with main contractors ESB Construction Limited on this exciting project.
“Our aim was to return St. John’s church to its original condition using traditional materials that are in keeping with the vernacular. We also worked hard to meet the high standards of Historic Scotland.
“Of course the project was not without its challenges: this was a huge project and the existing building was arguably quite complex. In addition, the spire was a challenge to complete – standing at 150 ft high, it proved rather difficult for the main contractors to scaffold.
“However, through careful preparation and an excellent working relationship between all relevant teams, all problems were overcome. Everyone is extremely proud of what we have managed to achieve and hopefully the congregation is just as pleased.”
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish government that is charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament and to date has invested over £16m for the repair and maintenance of over 180 buildings.
Rainbow Glass Studios Ltd
Rainbow Glass Studios Ltd specialises in the restoration and conservation of architectural stained glass windows within historic buildings. Company directors include a PDR accredited conservator and an accredited artist of the Church of Scotland.
All work carried out by Rainbow Glass Studios Ltd is completed to the highest standards by skilled crafts people. The company employs traditional methods in its work and always uses high quality materials.
Currently in its tenth year, the ICON accredited studio believes in minimal intervention to achieve maximum retention of all materials. It has recently experienced a degree of growth, increasing its employees as a result, and has moved to new premises in Prestwick.
On the St. John’s project Rainbow Glass Studios Ltd provided restoration to a number of high level windows. This involved replacing the lead in the windows and removing all previously mismatched repairs. It then installed wire guard protection for the future preservation of the windows.
Rainbow Glass Studios Ltd Company Director Moira Malcolm said: “We recommend to anyone requiring advice on architectural stained glass that they get in touch.
“We cover all areas of Scotland but we always welcome any enquiries from further afield.”