Appeals: The Glasite Meeting House

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The Independent Online
A section through the Glasite Meeting House, in Edinburgh, which is owned by the Cockburn Conservation Trust. An appeal to restore the building has been organised by the Glasite Meeting House Trust, which was formed by the Architectural Heritage Association of Scotland and the Cockburn Association to raise funds and then, once the restoration is completed, to manage the building. The aim is to provide Scotland with a centre for conservation.

The Glasite Meeting House was built in 1835 by Alexander Black on the outskirts of Edinburgh's New Town in Barony Street, near St Andrew Square. Built for the Church of Christ religious community - or Glasites as they were known, after John Glas, who founded the community in the late 18th century - the meeting house has a simple, austere classical design which reflected the Glasites' form of worship. Services in the Main Hall comprised unaccompanied psalms and readings; afterwards the congregation would remove to the Feast Room to share a frugal meal.

In 1989, the only remaining Glasite congregation gave their meeting house to the Cockburn Conservation Trust, which has since carried out vital building repairs: extensive roof repairs, renewal of the wiring, heating and plumbing systems and some alterations for health and safety regulations. The Cockburn Conservation Trust is a building preservation trust, formed by the Cockburn Association, which has a revolving fund scheme to secure the future of threatened historic buildings.

The Glasite Meeting House Trust needs to raise pounds 40,000 to restore the Main Hall, which still retains its pulpit and box pews - and more may be needed, since without erecting scaffolding it has been difficult to assess how far the plasterwork around the cupola has deteroriated.

A further pounds 152,000 is needed to pay back outstanding loans and funds will be needed to complete the final stage of restoring the exterior masonry. The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland now has its headquarters in part of the building, and once the interior restoration is completed revenue can be made by letting out the Main Hall and the Feast Room (renovated with money from the Colin McWilliam Memorial Fund) for events. The building is at present used by the Cockburn Association and the Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration.

For further information, contact: The Glasite Meeting House Trust, 33 Barony Street, Edinburgh EH3 6NX, telephone 031-557 5039.

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