When the Maryhill Burgh Halls were opened in 1878, pride of place in the main hall were twenty large stained glass panels, representing the many varied trades and industries of Maryhill.
From boatbuilders to linen bleachers, from joiners to soldiers, from iron moulders to railwaymen, the panels give a fantastic record of what was important to the area in 1878. [You can see all the original panels here]
But modern Maryhill is very different to the Maryhill of 1878 - so we wanted to create some new stained glass windows to record what is important in the area today, and to give the restoration project a lasting legacy.
Artists Alec Galloway and Margo Winning were commissioned to design and produce a new set of stained glass windows for the Maryhill Burgh Halls.
The details of exactly what should be on the windows has been developed thanks to the input and feedback of hundreds of local people. We hope that the new windows will become as much a part of the permanent legacy of the Burgh Halls as the original glass from 1878.
From these consultations, the ten 'themes' of the new windows are...
- Heavy Trades
- Social Heritage
- Space Age
- Sport and Leisure
Each of the individual windows involve one key signature image, and a range of smaller images and details, to create a collage effect, and incorporate as many of the specific suggestions received as possible.
“I have to thank everyone at Maryhill for giving me their time and having faith that I could deliver the ideas that were presented - the key to the project has been the close community involvement and the fact that so much has come directly from the people and imagery of Maryhill itself.
I wanted to create something different from the original 1878 Adam windows, but that would sit along side them and not become overshadowed. They are defined by the screenprinting technique, something that I'd only really done on a few pieces before - this then marks them out as being pretty unique as an architectural glass scheme anywhere in the UK.
“It quickly emerged that the multiple layers of communities that make up Maryhill were very keen to express their thoughts and ideas in a range of ways; including writing, drawings, glass making and in endless interesting discussion and chat. It provided an enormously valuable introduction and connection to the area and community, letting me learn more about the place and people in a few weeks than I otherwise could have in years. It has been a delightful project to be involved in.”
Gordon Barr, Heritage Development Officer for the Trust, said:
“We’re really excited to finally see the results of all the hours of workshops and talks, and the effort put into this, not just from Alec and Margo, but from the literally hundreds of local people who got involved in various ways to have their say, try out some of the techniques involved in making stained glass, and in some cases, have their images actually featured in the glass itself.
The original Adam windows - which thanks to Glasgow Museums will be coming back to be displayed in the building very soon - have lasted over 130 years. Hopefully in another 130 years - around the year 2145 - the descendants of some of the school pupils featured in these new windows will be coming to the Burgh Halls to see just what their great-great grandfather looked like when he was in Primary 7 !”
Key funding for the Windows of Today project came from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:
“In 1878 the most magnificent stained glass windows were unveiled to celebrate the opening of the Burgh Halls. Over a hundred years on, the art of stained glass has inspired the community to come together again to celebrate their rich heritage. With their roots in the past, these new windows are a symbol of the future and the people of Maryhill should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.”
How did the designs develop?
Alec described how he worked up the designs below:
"The ideas that are beginning to crystallise in relation to the project have definitely come from my experiences of speaking to the people of Maryhill.
I have been struck by how vibrant the community is –there seems to be energy in the atmosphere, even when simply walking down Maryhill Road.
Initially my focus was fixed on gathering interesting images of the area, but it became clear that there was a lot of sounds that were every bit as important as the visual elements-conversations, children shouting and playing, noises coming from various shops in the high st, traffic etc.... a real acoustic buzz!
I then started to think about the contrast between the older Adam windows, which are full of industrial imagery, but still seem silent, as though a moment had been captured and photographed.... still quiet images from our past.
I then thought about the differences in mood between the old windows and the designs for the new, concluding that the current windows should not be silent, that they should speak and that the colours sing out.
I have also observed the colour balance and choices between Adams’s original compositions and tried to recognise this in the new panels.
The originals are balanced roughly in a 80/20 ratio
80% Ambers/Browns/Golds /Yellows
I have deliberately changed this ratio to a less one sided balance-roughly - 65% Blues/Greens
35% Warm Ambers/Golds/Yellows
Blue is recognised as an authoritative and assertive colour within the colour spectrum, as well as being a contemporary hue.
I look forward to now capturing the final staged poses featuring local participants in replicating some of the suggested poses outlined in the colour sketches."
Images from some of the hands-on workshops that gave people a chance to try out some of the techniques involved in making stained glass, as well as give feedback & ideas on what the windows should feature, are below.
The community consultation workshops for the Windows of Today project involved over 200 people over several months; here are some highlights from a hands-on workshop with local Primary 6 children, getting experience of painting and cutting glass, handling lead, and coming up with ideas of what should be on the new stained glass windows to represent modern Maryhill...
About the Windows...
The dominant image of Turner Art prize winner Douglas Gordon reminds us that Maryhill has produced an extraordinary amount of ground breaking artists and winners of the same prize in recent years - at least four have links to Maryhill.
Can this be coincidence or is it perhaps something in the makeup of the area that forms their ideas and development as artists, all of whom have achieved global recognition.
The pride that Gordon feels for his connection to Maryhill is clear when we see his tattooed Maryhill necklace.
In the background are words and music from the Lowlands piece performed by another Maryhill Turner-prize winning artist, Susan Philipsz.
Down Maryhill Road
The design features the famous Jaconelli’s café near Queen’s Cross as the prominent image.
This panel, like many in the series of ten, also features a passage from the song Voices by Maryhill singer/songwriter Kevin McDermott - a song written by McDermott reflecting on his own experiences and connections to the area and its people.
The smaller images include an accordion being played and a lady walking - references perhaps to the spirit of
Glasgow’s love of music, entertainment and going out on the town.
Look closely, and you can even see someone’s washing hung out to dry on the back green...
Playing the Game
Sport plays a very important role in the lives of so many people in the area.
Whether one is taking part as a competitor, or simply observing or supporting the local team, the heartbeat of sport runs through the region.
The large image features a member of the Maryhill Harriers - a long established running club in the area which dates back to 1888.
Maryhill once boasted three football teams - Partick Thistle and Maryhill FC (founded 1884) are still going strong, but Maryhill Hibernians (later Maryhill Harp), founded 1923, closed in 1967 when their ground was built over.
The images here focus on both participants and the public watching from the terraces.
A simple walk through the streets of Maryhill highlights the diversity of races now resident in the area.
There has been a huge cultural crossover, which has enriched the neighbourhood, where creeds from nations all across the globe now live together, side by side. Maryhill as an area has always looked outward and abroad, both in terms of the exports from its industries, and in the huge number of Maryhill-born people now living all around the globe.
The panel reflects this in the images, different languages and flags. Like many of the new panels, it incorporates archive maps of the Maryhill area - glimpses of the geography of the past, all helping to set the scene.
A playful collage of school apparatus with a child-like energy—rulers, timetables, even the scratched names of pupils taken from old desks!
There is also a child’s drawing and a portrait of some pupils from the local St Charles' Primary School, who had taken part in one of the stained glass workshops, getting to try out some of the techniques involved in making stained glass, including glass painting and glass fusing.
Here they are reminding us that education and schools can involve fun and laughter as well as the place where we learn - they are showing off Viking helmets made as part of a class project!
The ritual of young people getting ready to go out is captured in the main portrait image.
We have lights, we have music, and we have make up-all set against a lively graffiti style backdrop where the presence of the young is literally written across the streets and geography of Maryhill.
Shakespeare Street Youth Club has been a fixture of the area for decades, giving generations of young people a safe haven.
The map in the background features two former primary schools of the area - St Gregory’s and Wyndford Primary. The latter is now demolished, and the former is now a community hub for the Wyndford area.
These factory workers convey humour and a real sense of togetherness, despite the sometimes-difficult working conditions in many of the factories of the past.
Images here represent the workers who tirelessly toiled in the production of products such as printed and dyed textiles, cotton and even matches - Bryant and May were a major employer in the area, and known for the progressive way it treated its workers.
Other elements include entries from an old post office directory, the turkey-red dyed bandanas once made in the area, and even the original signature of Mary Hill herself at the top, taken from a document she signed in 1753.
Made In Maryhill
This window is a reminder that, although much is long gone, the region was once a hub of heavy industrial activity in Glasgow.
The sounds and sight of metal being cut and formed once filled the air in Maryhill, and here we see images of that activity as the fire god looks on.
One engineering company still based in Maryhill is Craig & Buchanan. They operate from the premises in Lochburn Road that were originally used by the Engineers depicted by Stephen Adam in his stained glass panel of 1878 - helping to provide both a link to the past, and showing that industrial work and manufacturing are still important in modern Maryhill.
Touching the Stars
Maryhill’s influence and reach now extends out into space through the research and meticulous work being undertaken at the Glasgow Science Park.
Currently there is a team of scientists designing and manufacturing components for satellites as part of the technology for space age development. The science park is on the site of Garscube House, a neighboring estate to Gairbraid - the original home of Mrs Mary Hill.
The 2D barcode in the bottom right of this panel helps make it the world’s first interactive stained glass panel! Scan the QR code with the free app on your smartphone, and it will automatically take you to a webpage about the panels.
Yesterday and Today
The dominant image is of the Burgh Hall’s own Corinthian columns, situated at the former main entrance of the building. A diagram of a piece of stone carving also features. The pillars were photographed as the building was being refurbished.
The panel also features a silver key on the left of the composition. This is the original used to officially open the building in 1878. Its presence here - and return to Maryhill - is due to a series of fortunate emails that emerged, beginning with a chance correspondence from Canada! The key, given to Provost Robertson to mark the opening on April 26th 1878, is still in the care of the Robertson family, who kindly allowed it to come back to Maryhill for the re-opening of the restored Halls in 2012.
About the Artists...
Alec Galloway is an Architectural Glass Artist with over 25 years experience working in glass design and fabrication. His designs and installations can be seen across Europe, United States, Australia and the Middle East, as well as closer to home in various locations throughout the UK. He currently works from his studio on the West coast of Scotland, and is also Head of the Architectural Glass programme at Edinburgh College of Art.
Margo Winning is qualified Community Artist, who has worked most recently as part time Artist in Residence with Clackmannanshire Council in the area of cultural regeneration. Her work with youth, disadvantaged and intellectually challenged adult groups has included partnership works for the NHS, the Andy Scott Sculpture Trail, and in cultural regeneration. Margo is passionate about active community consultation and the encouragement of residents’ engagement as a fundamental principle.