The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Scottish post-war gem threatened by commercial scheme: Another Gillespie Kidd and Coia on the verge of destruction

The Twentieth Century Society is deeply concerned about a current planning application for the Grade A-listed St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Scotland. After decades of decay and failed planning applications, the building’s owner, the Archdiocese, has made another effort to draw up a scheme viable for the site. The agents for the application, Glasgow-based firm Classical House, propose to strip St Peter’s back to its concrete frame in order to render the ruin safe. This would mean the loss of all remaining external cladding, window frames vaults and other soft surfaces and would leave the building as a mere skeleton. The proposal also includes a housing development close to the listed Seminary comprising of 28 design and built dwellings which would create a small revenue for the overgrown park, its crumbling Victorian bridge and the ruinous Seminary buildings. The future management of the park is thought to be split between the local Cardross Trust who would take over the park and the St Peter Building Preservation Trust which would manage the ruin. However the latter has clearly expressed its unwillingness to be responsible for buildings were they stripped back.

We are extremely worried that one of the most important twentieth century Scottish building complexes could be lost; currently St Peter’s still has dramatic spatial qualities and has retained much of the character that once made it one of the UK’s most exciting pieces of 60s architecture. Clearly the site needs to be cleaned up and managed; the buildings have been vandalised, the roofs have collapsed in places and gaping holes create safety issues. But the current scheme would lead to the loss of the building rather then preparing it for a future use or preserving it as a safe but beautiful ruin. We strongly encourage the local planning authority to reject the scheme as it stands and ask for a more creative proposal.

For further information please call: Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker, The Twentieth Century Society , tel 020 7250 3857, or email Cordula.Zeidler(at)

Notes for editors:

St Peter’s Seminary (1962-8) was built to designs by Gillespie Kidd and Coia with Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan as design architects. It was in its original use only until 1979. From 1983-7 it was used as a drug rehabilitation centre and since has been empty.

Risky Buildings: St Peter’s Seminary