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.
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.
The ten themes of the new windows are:
“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.
Sport and Leisure
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 and 20% Blues/Greens
I have deliberately changed this ratio to a less one sided balance-roughly - 65% Blues/Greens and 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.
A video 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. See photos from our events here.
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.