*** Please note that cast iron lamps were recently removed to be repainted. They will be reinstated shortly. ***
Works to restore the Govan Road entrance of Elder Park and the K13 Memorial to their former glory are now complete. You can view a timeline of these works here.
Although it would have once been a handsome formal entrance to rival the other Victorian Parks found around Glasgow, the gateway to Elder Park had fallen into desperately poor repair over many years. It was missing all but one fragment of its original wrought and cast iron gates, numerous finials from its flanking railings as well as the original cast iron lamp stands and lanterns that once adorned the gateposts. The six large octagonal sandstone pillars (the central two of which were surmounted by decorative octagonal gas lamps) were in varying states of deteriorating condition: covered in algae and moss, partially coated in cement, cracked in places where integral ironwork had expanded, off-plumb, and with missing and damaged areas of formerly intricate stone carving. The granite-built K13 memorial had been badly displaced on its base, some panels were loosening, and the water supply to the drinking basins no longer functioned.
The works involved a holistic conservation approach. The sandstone blocks of the gate piers were dismantled and gently cleaned to assess the condition of carvings underneath a layer of moss, cement and dirt. Unfortunately, many of the original details such as decorative frieze on one of the octagonal pillars or the fish scales and gargoyle on the pillar cap were beyond repair and had to be replaced by skilled masons and carvers at Naughton masonry. The piers were reassembled on-site and pointed using lime mortar.
The missing cast iron gates and fence finials were re-cast at the Laing’s Foundry from the original pattern preceded by a careful analysis of the original. The existing lamp was not a part of the original design and its condition was too poor to be reinstated. The new lamp standards were developed by Pollock Davies Patternmaker to match the original design based on historic research. Once fed by gas, now electric, the lamps crown the gate posts and shine the way into the park.
The project also created an opportunity to renovate the K13 Memorial that was dismantled, cleaned and rebuilt. Reclaimed setts were also laid to enhance the walking surface upon entry to the park to complement the newly restored gate.
In tandem with the repair works, a community project called “Mrs Elder’s Glorious Gift” (MEGG) was delivered in association with the Friends of Elder Park to enable local residents and enthusiasts to engage in the restoration process, and to discover and share more about fabulous Elder Park’s heritage and future. This project craft bombed, created a kids’ park heritage trail, fabulous digital timelines about Elder Park and the restoration works, and, along with Ian Johnston and Fairfield Heritage, a short film about the K13 submarine disaster. When the Covid pandemic limited everyone’s ability to get out and about, MEGG posted details about the amazing repair works as they happened on the Get into Govan and the Friends of Elder Park media channels, and, with the Portal Arts, produced a film documenting the entire restoration process. Now showing here.
The restoration of Elder Park’s Govan Road Entrance & the K13 Memorial as well as the Mrs Elder’s Glorious Gift project were delivered as part of Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative in collaboration with Glasgow Building Preservation Trust with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow City Council.
Please note we are delighted to announce that six traditional cast iron benches have been purchased to add to the splendour of the Elder Park entranceway.
Status: Works completed
Estimated Cost: £126,000
Timescale: Start January 2021, completion February 2022
Funders: Glasgow City Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland,
Project Team: Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, Fiona Sinclair Architect, Industrial Heritage Consulting Ltd, Glasgow City Council Neighbourhoods Regeneration & Sustainability, Chani Bond (Heritage Engagement Officer).
Contractor and Craftspeople: Covanburn Contracts, Laing’s Foundry, Naughton masonry and Pollock Davies Patternmaker.