The stained glass at the Eric Liddell Centre comprises an interesting and varied collection by a number of important 19th and 20th century artists. The windows were restored in 2008 with help from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Free guided tours
We welcome groups of up to ten people for guided tours of our stained glass windows. These are led by a professionally trained guide. There is no charge for this service. Please contact us to make a booking.
We have a book available with high quality colour photographs of the windows and details of the artists. This is available to buy online. Please visit our online shop to order a copy.
An introduction to the windows
The stained glass at the Eric Liddell Centre comprises an interesting and varied collection. When built the church would probably have been glazed with windows to the pattern of the remaining leaded coloured glass windows. As funds became available, or spaces for memorial windows were required, the original leaded lights, which were often alluded to as “temporary” glazing, were removed and stained and painted glass windows installed. The names of Dickson & Walker, an Edinburgh firm who made leaded windows, appear on the original drawings so it is reasonable to assume that they were responsible for the original glazing.
The individuals who were responsible for commissioning artists have obviously had considerable knowledge and have ensured that the windows harmonised within the building.
There are exceptional windows by William Wilson RSA (1905–1972), one of Scotland’s great artists, whose work (printmaking, painting and stained glass) is increasingly studied and admired. William Wilson suffered from diabetes and sadly went blind. One of the windows was installed as his blindness progressed and although attributed to William Wilson was actually constructed by John Blyth who assisted Wilson at that time. Wilson had been tutored by Herbert Hendrie (1887-1947).
The Centre is also the setting for windows attributed to Hendrie, although the windows are unsigned as was his habit. Herbert Hendrie taught stained glass at Edinburgh College of Art.
Outstanding windows by John Duncan (1866–1945), who constructed windows for Paisley Abbey, are also in evidence. At that time he was doing much work with tempera and subsequently became a Royal Academician. Duncan studied at Dundee School of Art.
There are two sets of clerestory windows on the west side of the Centre by Margaret Chilton (1875–1962), Royal College of Art, London and Marjorie Kemp (1886 – 1975) Glasgow School of Art who were both very competent artists with a colourful palette. Kemp was Chilton’s student in Glasgow and they set up a studio in Edinburgh during 1922.
The Great War memorial windows of 1920 are among the earliest and were created by the London firm of Clayton (John Richard, 1827 – 1913) and Bell (Alfred, 1832 -1895) of Regent Street, London.
The artists of these three windows remain unknown at present.
The Centre interior was very substantially altered and renovated in two phases during 1992 – 2000 (Nicholas Groves-Raines, Architects). The north gallery was removed to accommodate the new internal structure, which now provides reception, offices and multi-purpose community rooms. The large barrel vaulted roof remains above the games hall. A 2004 report (Christian Shaw) indicated that a number of the stained glass windows needed urgent attention and with financial support from Historic Scotland, Heritage Lottery and a number of other trusts phase three of the restoration programme began in November 2005 (Scottish Glass Centre). During 2006 a number of the windows by key artists were completely removed for the full conservation that was required.
The windows in the Centre offer a unique and valuable insight into the establishment and development of Scottish stained glass in the twentieth century and the Centre is committed to ensuring their conservation and care for the enjoyment of future generations. It is hoped that visitors will take full advantage of the galleries that have been created to give eye level access to this wonderful collection.