Day 206: Dumbarton to Helensburgh – St Peter’s Seminary

13 comments
Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Clyde, Lomond & Leven Court, Dumbarton, Scotland.

Dumbarton Castle, Dumbarton, Scotland.

Private prayer chapels and the teaching block, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Refectory I, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Stairway to the teaching block, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Main block, with terraces of student rooms, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Main block from upper level, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Sanctuary I, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Private prayer chapels, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Stairs in the Halll, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Refectory II, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Library & teaching block, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Mid level aspect of the main Chapel from the refectory, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Stairs from the Hall, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Main chapel, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Student rooms, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Handrail, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Above the Hall, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Convent, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Former bridge between student rooms, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Private prayer chapel, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Sanctuary II, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Above the main chapel, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

Sanctuary III, St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, Scotland.

MV Captayannis: a wrecked Sugar Boat that sank in 1974 in fierce storms, near Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

Last light, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

Glad I’ve been cutting back on the cooked breakfasts recently!

Plan of St Peter’s Seminary. Designed by architects, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia and completed in 1966.

 

 

 

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British Architectural & Landscape Photographer.

13 thoughts on “Day 206: Dumbarton to Helensburgh – St Peter’s Seminary”

    • Thank you. I was moved how profoundly good this building is and how strongly that comes across even in its ruined state, so I’m glad the photos convey how I felt being there. Fingers crossed for a miracle to bring it back to life.

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  1. petejohnstone says:

    A bit geeky, but what lens did you use for the stills shots of St Peter’s

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    • Canon 16-35mm f4 L distortion and perspective corrected in Lightroom. If I wasn’t on this trek I’d use a Canon 17mm tilt shift lens in preference.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. David James says:

    I’ve tried to find photos online of the seminary when it was still thriving; the few I’ve found give a glimpse of how great the natural lighting was in the various spaces. Honestly pinterest is making all old photos harder to find online these days. There are many, many more photos of the place in a ruined state. It must have been magnificent in its prime. – D. James

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    • Yes I agree both about the magnificence and Pinterest. Those I’ve found seem to be in the Glasgow School of art archive. I do like the open grid feeling of the ruin though, is like an idea of a building.

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    • Joseph Proskauer says:

      Brief history with photos (including overview — scroll down): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-38884020
      GSA archive (22 photos): http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsalib/sets/72157619481264162 .
      Random photos at http://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/557390891366583429/?lp=true
      Royal Geographic Society walking guide through the surrounding area, with photos (St. Peter’s near the end): https://gsaarchivesandcollections.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/kilmahew-walk-booklet.pdf

      * * * *

      Murray Grigor made two films — “Space and Light” (22 mins., 1972) and “Space and Light Revisited” (a shot-for-shot parallel, 2009) — focusing on the building as organism, in life and decay (or metamorphic dormancy?*) These were shown (in simultneous projections, with Frank Spedding’s music performed live between them) in a Glasgow premiere and at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale; they’re on line — in a split screen format — here: https://vimeo.com/130985792 .

      * * * *

      There’s another 7-minute video on line, combining scenes from “Space and Light” with recent footage (Luke Alexander, also 2009?): https://vimeo.com/7130995 .

      * * * *

      Historical treasure — a 20 minute film from the earliest days of St. Peter’s: http://movingimage.nls.uk/film/3961 (Lawrence Russell, Scottish Catholic Institute). This includes snippets of construction, architecture, and activity: cleaning, cooking, candle-lighting, and what feels like an ancient ritual (the consecration?) — in full ceremonial regalia — procession, prayer (facing the congregation — a recent innovation?), and communion . . . (Can anyone identify any dignitaries? Bishops, priests, civic officials . . . architects, perhaps? **)

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      • Joseph Proskauer says:

        ** Isi Israel Metzstein and Andy MacMillan met as students at Glasgow School of Art, where Macmillan was later head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture: “The mantle of Charles Rennie Mackintosh descended upon his shoulders” — Sir Colin St John [Sandy] Wilson. Metzstein founded the Macallan club [after his favourite whisky], for architects of buildings “demolished or mutilated without the involvement of its designer” who, “the victims of brutal, premature ‘scrap-heaping’, are witnesses to the fragility of permanence which characterises [the] century.” BBC radio profile of these two and their innovative work, “The Concrete and the Divine: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rqnf3 .)

        * * * *

        Murray Grigor (director of “Space and Light”):
        “At the consecration of St Peter’s in 1966 the entire hierarchy of the Scottish Catholic Church assembled . . . Fourteen years later few returned for the heartbreaking, bleak ceremony of its de-consecration. Despite ‘A’ listing St Peter’s as an outstanding building of national importance, Historic Scotland, Bute and Argyle Council and the Church itself have allowed this modernist masterpiece to be constantly sacked by vandals. The profanity of such passive neglect is no different from the active Dissolution of the Monasteries by the iconoclasts of the 16th century.”

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  3. Joseph Proskauer says:

    Thank you for awakening us to this remarkable place.
    Skeletal structure of organic grandeur . . . (a bit like what lived here?)
    I also like it in its present state.

    * * * *

    * Is it on the way to fulfilling its mission — as centre for the mutual renewal of community, culture, and nature?

    Artists NVA (nacionale vita activa) have received grants toward purchasing and making the structure safe – simultaneously restoring and transforming its relationship to the world, while keeping the feel of an open relic. Among the initial events:
    Sessions of The Invisible College, exploring possibilities: http://www.theinvisiblecollege.org.uk
    Hinterland (2016) – a dramatic evening of woodland, architectural relic, light , and sound: http://nva.org.uk/artwork/hinterland ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-35880826 ; http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/architecture/st-peters-seminary-from-modernist-marvel-and-drug-rehab-centre-to-hinterland-sound-and-light-a6930901.html

    * * * *

    “Caterpillar dun’ become butterfly – caterpillar die so butterfly can be. A new thing. We all must let ourselves die to be what we will be. But we cling to what we know.” (Ryan Winfield, “The Park Service”)

    And John 12:24

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  4. Joseph Proskauer says:

    St. Peter’s grandfather survives and thrives:
    Rudolf Steiner’s Second Goetheanum (1924-28), the first large-scale building to employ reinforced concrete for sculptural forms. Organic metamorphosis (richly explored by Goethe) in architecture: harmonizing with the local topography (Swiss Jura), ‘each element bears an inner relation to the whole, and the whole flows organically into its single elements.’
    Here, too (though with more integrated harmony than at St. Peter’s) colour is even now slowly filling concrete walls . . . just maturing?
    http://novembremagazine.com/goetheanum-by-nicolas-coulomb
    https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/goetheanum-second-building
    http://www.metalocus.es/en/news/edge-expressionism-rudolf-steiner-ii

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