Bishopton Parish Church was delighted to be able to host a visit of students from the Prince’s Foundation Summer School to the Church Sanctuary.

The students and their leader (Michael Goodger), were engaged in a programme of discussions, as well as practical masonry conservation and lime mortar works on the scaffolding at the rear (North elevation) of the Church Sanctuary building.

The occasion for the visit was part of the training programme set up by the Church in order to meet the requirements of Historic Environment Scotland (HES), as a condition of their grant of approx. £40K towards the third and final, phase of masonry conservation works at the Church.

The Prince’s Foundation is one of the most active and prominent heritage conservation organisations in the UK, and their Summer School programme provides a three-week programme for international professionals engaged in conservation activities to network and improve their skills.
The students were then split into two teams, each taking turns on separate activities.

One session was a practical session on lime mortar works run by The Church’s Principal Contractor Richard Fraser (Limerich Ltd.) that also covered lime washes, and involved skills experience in removing OPC mortars and raking out masonry joints.

The other task the students took part in was an interactive lecture session run by the Church’s Conservation Consultant Nic Boyes ACR, covering general principles of conservation, with specific references to both Rosslyn Chapel and Bishopton Parish Church.

Hard work pays off
The Church has been well commended for its conservation work on the 1815 listed grade B building and was voted a shortlist for the SPAB John Betjeman Award. The Church also previously won The National Church’s Trust award for excellence in Church Maintenance.

The end goal of the three-phase programme is to return the masonry in the Church to as close to an “as-built” condition as possible, which was designed by David Hamilton in 1815 in a neo-Gothic style. The Church was built using stone taken from a nearby quarry as far back as when Bishopton was a small hamlet between Glasgow and Port Glasgow.

The works were carried out by one of Scotland’s leading traditional building specialists in Limerich Limited. Contributions to the work were many, including from the Scottish Communities Landfill fund, as well as The Ferguson Bequest fund. £10,000 was raised in addition from generous contributions from Church congregations.

The second phase of the project that was recently finalised and completed, involved removing old Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), which had caused the masonry to spall. The OPC was removed and replaced with lime mortar, involving altering window dressings, buttresses and previous repairs of coursed rubble.

All the church’s cast iron window frames were also scraped, sealed and re-dressed with mastic high-grade construction adhesive; and a flue, which had originally been inserted in the wall in 1902, was rebuilt.

Bishopton Parish Church has now entered the third and final stage of the project, which is the culmination of many hard years of work on the building. The last phase of the programme will see the Church fully prepared for it’s future moving forward, and lay the groundworks for it to return to it’s use as a thriving hub for the community.