Helensburgh Parish Church, located in Colquhoun Square, is one of the town’s most prominent buildings, but in recent weeks much of it has disappeared under scaffolding.
Owners of older buildings – and particularly in the west of Scotland – face problems in keeping their property in good order, largely because of wet and windy weather. Helensburgh Parish Church has been an example of this, and the time has now come for a restoration of certain parts of the building.
Helensburgh Parish Church is delighted to announce that, thanks to the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of Historic Environment Scotland, the work has already started. Each of these organisations has contributed £94,000 and the Parish Church itself will be contributing a further £100,000, giving a grand total of £288,000. The fact that the Church is a B-listed building has been an important factor in the award of these grants.
The award from the Heritage Lottery Fund was the last piece in the jigsaw. This was approved on 18 March and permission to start was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund on 8 June. This enabled the work to commence just twelve days later on 20 June, and it is scheduled to be finished by 30 September.
As can be seen from the scaffolding around the building, most of this restoration work involves the tower and belfry, and in particular re-pointing of stonework, rectification of any rot and replacement of slates. Work will also be carried out on gutters, downpipes and drains.
Inside the church damaged and uneven stones in the vestibule floor will be replaced and some electrical works will be taking place, as well as works on doors.
A look at the building just now also shows that a number of the stained glass windows have been removed for restoration. Some others have also been restored in recent years.
The church possesses many fine stained-glass windows, and particularly interesting examples are those commemorating former prime minister Bonar Law and television inventor John Logie Baird.
It is now also planned to carry out research into the people who are commemorated in all the stained glass windows in the church – who were they, where did they live, what did they do? It is anticipated that this will shed an interesting light on the social history of Helensburgh.
Once this research is complete, a booklet/leaflet will be produced, the church website will be updated, and an audio-visual installation will be introduced in the Church to make this information easily accessible.
A major rebuild of the church halls was completed earlier this year, and is proving of great benefit not just to the congregation, but also to the wider community. Rev David T Young, minister of Helensburgh Parish Church says that “the restoration work currently taking place, together with the new church halls, will ensure that members of the Church of Scotland in Helensburgh will have an appropriate place for worship for many years to come. The generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of Historic Environment Scotland is making a major contribution towards this.