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229 Woodlands Road, Woodlands Methodist Church (Former Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church) Including Boundary Wall and Gatepiers

A Category B Listed Building in Hillhead, Glasgow

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8708 / 55°52'14"N

Longitude: -4.277 / 4°16'37"W

OS Eastings: 257620

OS Northings: 666524

OS Grid: NS576665

Mapcode National: GBR 0GH.27

Mapcode Global: WH3P2.8PKR

Entry Name: 229 Woodlands Road, Woodlands Methodist Church (Former Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church) Including Boundary Wall and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 9 May 2002

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396040

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48629

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Hillhead

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

H and D Barclay, 1907-9. 2-storey, 5-bay, cruciform-plan, plain gothic gabled church on falling ground with offices to ground floor, high nave to 1st floor. Bull-faced yellow sandstone. Clasping buttresses. Corbelled eaves course, gablet raised skews and cross finials to gables. Yellow ashlar margins and mullions to openings.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: corner tower to outer left bay, advanced, paired gabled bays to centre; 3-light, mullion and transomed window to ground rising to 3-light, pointed-arch traceried window to 1st floor. Slightly advanced gabled entrance porch to centre right; roll-moulded deep reveal to pointed entrance arch, 2-leaf, square-headed modern timber doors, 3-light, mullioned fanlight. 3-light pointed arch window to 1st floor. Advanced bay with lean-to roof to outer right bay, small trefoil window to ground floor, 3-light broad rectangular window to 1st floor.

S (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-bay, advanced gabled block to centre right, gablet to centre terminating in stack, 3-light pointed-arch tracery window to right return. Forestair to rear door to bay to right. Blocked 3-light window to ground floor left, 3-light pointed arch to 1st floor, 2 small blocked windows in bay to far left.

E (SIDE) ELEVATION: 3 large windows to exposed basement of gable end; large 3-light, pointed-arch tracery window to 1st floor. Square-plan corner tower abutting to right; door to ground, narrow rectangular window to 1st floor, plain ashlar parapet, crowstepped caphouse.

W (SIDE) ELEVATION: gable end partially obscured by abutting building.

INTERIOR: timber, balustraded staircase within plain, central lobby, plain offices to left and right, church library to rear centre; timber panelled library with fitted gothicised bookcases on all sides. Carved panels above stone fireplace to E wall depicting the oak and salmon of Glasgow and the Swedish flag. Lintels to panelled doors inscribed with various biblical scripts. Stairs emerge to NW corner of 1st floor nave within gothic carved, glazed canopy. Engaged stone columns supporting double rollmoulded pointed-arches to transepts and semicircular-arched chancel, timber panel arcading to rear of chancel.

Square-pane leaded glass. Non-original concrete roof tiles. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: low, coped, bull-faced wall, plain capped gate piers.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastic building in use as such. An unusual church of particular interest for its history, built for the Swedenborgian or New Jerusalem Church, whose remaining congregations are now scattered world wide. As the name suggests Swedenborgianism came from Sweden in the early 19th century and, as with similar fringe denominations of the period, established a certain following amongst Glasgow's working poor. By the 1960s the Woodlands congregation had declined to a few widows and was absorbed into the Methodist Church. The Swedenborgian church itself lay vacant through the 1970s until it was purchased by the Methodist Church in the early 1980s and the Methodist congregation was transferred to Woodlands Road. The legacy of the Swedenborgians is still evident in various aspects of the church's design. In particular the body of the church itself is elevated to the 1st floor with the ground floor being given over to meeting rooms, offices and most importantly the library. A defining feature of the sect was its talismanic reverence for the written word, more than just a question of literacy, which placed a theological library at the core of the church building. The wood panelled library itself is carved with religious quotes upon the door lintels and bookcases in various scripts including Latin, Greek and Arabic.

Designed by the younger brother of the partnership, David Barclay (1846-1917) the Swedenborgian church was one of his last buildings and is a momentary departure from the practice's typical classical style as seen in their numerous schools for the Glasgow School Board, returning to classicism again by 1908 for Coatbridge High School. The corner bell tower with caphouse is similar in design to St Andrews Parish Church, Muir Street, Motherwell by Alexander Cullen, 1904 (see separate listing).

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