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Church authorities attacked over decline of Cardross Seminary

The trust set up in a desperate bid to save Scotland's Grade A-listed Cardross Seminary has written an angry letter to the building's owner, the Archdiocese of Glasgow, over the structure's continuing decline.

The St Peter's Seminary Building Preservation Trust has attacked the way the church authorities have handled the iconic Gillespie, Kidd & Coia seminary, considered by many to be the best post-war building in Scotland.

In a letter to the Archbishop of Glasgow, the trust hit out at the way that the Modernist seminary has been allowed to fall in to a state of disrepair by the church.

'This winter a large section of the roof collapsed,' the letter says. 'Vandals have seriously damaged a major portion of the convent building and the church altar.

'Repeated vandalism, in addition to rain damage, means that the seminary is on its last legs. If nothing is done to the building this year, it will be lost to the nation.

'Since the trust was formed at the beginning of 2004, the expertise it has offered has been ignored and it has been forced to watch as the current estates department in the Church has brought this once beautiful building to its knees.'

The letter goes on to attack the diocese's latest failed planning application, which would have built a housing scheme beside the seminary and turned the building itself into a consolidated ruin.

The letter continues: 'It seems that you are now faced with two options: to wait until the building collapses or to give the site to an organisation such as our trust that wants to save the seminary.

'We have consistently tried to find alternative uses for the building. In 2004 the trust approached the producers of the TV programme Restoration.

'The BBC expressed a clear interesting in the seminary, identifying it as one of the strongest contenders for last year's £3 million prize, but the Archdiocese rejected the Restorationteam's approach to feature the building. We are not sure why.

'Those within the Archdiocese that we have spoken to so far do not understand how pressed we are for time,' the letter adds.

by Ed Dorrell

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