Monday, 13 September 2010


Yes, most people will have little idea where or what this is. It is a town at the head of Loch Gilp on the West coast of Scotland. Loch Gilp is a branch off the main sea loch of Loch Fyne. These western sea lochs are similar in many ways to the more famous Norwegian fjords. The long fingers of water are surrounded by mountains - in this case, green to the tops. They have both economic - fishing, fish and shell fish farming being the main ones - and recreational - sailing, boating, fishing and walking (on the hills, not the water) - uses.

I was asked to quote on the window aspect of the transformation of the small parish church hall into a larger community hall, while retaining the existing external features of the turn of the century building. On close inspection, a few arts noveau features can be seen, notably the ventilation cowling at the top of the building and in the etched glass on the interior swing doors - yes they have survived!

I was among the sea lochs on one sunny Saturday and decided to visit the site and Lochgilphead, never having been there before. I am glad I did, as it altered my view of the amount of work required. It is also a very pleasant part of the world.

It is not a very impressive building upon initial approach from the street. It has a community aspect to it already with the recycling bins in the front. It is a pretty standard harled wall with stone corner pieces and around the windows and mullions.

To the side of the main frontage and providing the entrance to the whole building is the porch. I provides a little less forbidding aspect to the building.

Around to the right of the building is another set of four windows. These as all the other windows are quarry glazed with what was then relatively standard tinted glass.

Closer inspection of these windows shows some significant repair work will be required. In fact, one window ought to be removed and the bottom section taken apart, re-leaded and new glass inserted where many panes are broken.

The real shock comes when you go into the lane between the Cooperative and the church.

This is the broken down part of the hall. All the windows have had their glass systematically broken, so that only shards hang from the twisted leads. The gutters are broken, the paving stones are uneven and the thick doors bolted tightly.

Even the high level window has most of its glass broken out.

The plan calls for internal secondary double glazing. With this level of vandalism, I think they need external protective glazing too.

How the owners will keep the glass in tact when renewed, is something I don't think the architects have thought about yet. Only how to keep the windows from letting in a lot of cold air. It is also clear that the mastic keeping the glass and stone water tight has failed. If you look closely at the top window facing the street, you will see a plant growing on the INSIDE of the window.

This quotation did not take so long as the Maryhill Burgh Halls application did, but excluding the drive and inspection, a day was required just to gather and organise the information into a form for the Builders. This would be a nice project to work on because of the many little difficulties it presents.

No comments: