Heritage, Scotland

The restoration of Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel

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Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel-  Glasgow

The B-listed Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel in Glasgow has been conserved and transformed into a complimentary therapy centre for the charity Cancer Support Scotland after being unoccupied for 13 years.

In 2008 it was decided that the Arts & Crafts Chapel would be the ideal base for Cancer Support Scotland, because of its proximity to the West of Scotland centre for cancer treatment.  After several years of fundraising by the building conservation charity Glasgow Building Preservation Trust work started on site in 2011. The work at the Chapel was completed in October 2012 when it opened its doors to patients and their families.

The chapel was built in 1904, originally created for patients and families of patients within Gartnavel Royal Hospital as a place of worship and friendship but eventually became redundant and a ‘building at risk’. However its restoration has seen it now become a flagship cancer support centre.

Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel-  Glasgow

Within the bespoke Therapy Centre there are modern facilities including two complimentary therapy rooms, two dedicated counselling rooms, a discreet hairdressing and wig fitting salon and disabled facilities.

Many of the original features have been carefully retained such as the bell, stained glass windows, a stone cross, wooden panelling, wood trusses and pews.

One of the most impressive pieces of work within the chapel is the conservation of the five original stained glass windows two of which were designed and made by Robert Anning Bell. Whilst the Anning Bell windows were in very good condition requiring hardly any repairs, the three other stained glass windows had suffered considerable deterioration. Stained glass conservators, Rainbow Glass Studios spent months researching and recreating the detail on the figures in these three windows.

Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel-  Glasgow

The main contractor was Stewart & Shields and the architect was Austin-Smith: Lord.

Stewart & Shields are based in Helensburgh, and have worked on a range of private and public projects, including four major Glasgow churches and the construction of a £4.9 million apartment block.

Austin-Smith: Lord is a multidisciplinary practice that provides architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, interior design and conservation services to a very wide range of clients. Past projects include Liverpool Central Library and The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

David Millar, Head of Conservation at Austin-Smith: Lord Architects said:

“Breathing new life into any derelict historic building is always an enjoyable challenge to be involved with. This project was all the more enjoyable as we have worked closely with Glasgow Building Preservation Trust since 2006 to create the new Calman Cancer Support Centre, now providing yet another superb facility at Gartnavel Royal Hospital”

Gill Stewart, Senior Project Development Officer for the Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel project said:

“This partnership project led by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, together with Cancer Support Scotland, has been 6 years in the making. For GBPT it has been well worth while and illustrates that with care and attention, our treasured heritage can be sympathetically reused for the enjoyment of future generations to come. It gives us extra special pleasure to complete this building in our 30th Anniversary year.”

Funding on the project came from a number of sources including Historic Scotland, Robertson Trust, Glasgow City Council Better Glasgow Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, William Grant & Sons, Landfill Communities Tax Fund, Wolfson Foundation, Architectural Heritage Fund, Barcapel Foundation, Trades House, Glaziers Trust and NHS Endowments.

Cancer Support Scotland Chief Executive, Colin Graham said:

“The new facilities will allow the charity to provide more extensive support for people with cancer and those closest to them at a critical time. The new centre allows our clients to use our services in pleasant surroundings where our staff and volunteers can offer the support they want when they want it.

Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel-  Glasgow

“Moving into these new premises has allowed us to treble our capacity, especially as more people are coming to us for support. The work by GBPT has been fantastic and we would like to thank them for their dedication and expertise.”

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