Discover the Elder Park Gates refurbishment project, which involved William Sugg, heritage lighting specialists, in collaboration with the Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative and Glasgow Building Preservation Trust. This project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, and Glasgow City Council, showcases the importance of preserving historic landmarks.

The customer

This important refurbishment project was a joint effort between the Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, and Glasgow City Council.  Covanburn Contracts, specialist civil engineering, heritage and rail contractor were also involved in bringing the project to life.

William Sugg’s historical knowledge and skilled artisans with proven track record in the restoration of important historical lighting, was approached to support the team with the refurbishment of these much loved pieces of history.

The challenge

It is believed that John Honeyman, from the architectural firm Honeyman & Keppie, designed Elder Park in 1885. The park was a gift from Mrs. Isabella Elder to the Burgh of Govan in memory of her husband, John Elder, who was a renowned shipbuilder and marine engineer. He founded the Govan shipyard, which is located across from the park.

The entrance gateway to Elder Park had been in a state of disrepair for many years. Most of its original wrought and cast iron gates, fence finials, and cast iron lamp stands had been stolen by scrap thieves. 

The sandstone pillars and K13 memorial were also in various states of deterioration, with missing and damaged areas of intricate stone carving. The project required a holistic conservation approach to restore the gateway to its former glory.

The solution/product

The restoration process involved dismantling the sandstone blocks of the gate piers and gently cleaning them to assess the condition of the carvings underneath the layer of moss, cement, and dirt. Skilled masons and carvers at Naughton Masonry replaced the original details such as decorative friezes and fish scales on the pillar cap that were beyond repair. 

The cast iron gates and fence finials were re-cast at Laing’s Foundry from the original pattern. Pollock Davies Pattern maker developed new lamp standards that matched the original design based on historical research. The K13 Memorial was dismantled, cleaned, and rebuilt, and reclaimed setts (small blocks of dressed stone) were laid to enhance the walking surface upon entry to the park.

William Sugg worked diligently to hand make the key feature of the gates – the heritage lanterns!  This lantern restoration involved the restoring the original fittings, manufacturing replica elements, consultation with local stakeholders and installation of the finished lanterns. 

The team provided two replica Octagonal Electric lanterns that would sit pride of place and illuminate the gates proudly during hours of darkness.  The lanterns, which were placed on the Govan Road entrance, stand at a total height of approximately 1585mm and are 500mm wide.

“We commend the expert craftsmanship of the contractors, William Sugg & Co., who manufactured the signature octagonal electric lantern. “

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust conservation architect, Fiona Sinclair, and Heritage Engagement Officer, Chani Bond

The results

The restoration of the Elder Park Gates and K13 Memorial, as well as the Mrs Elder’s Glorious Gift project, were delivered as part of the Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative. 

“The gates and the beautifully statuesque lamps have been lovingly recreated by artisans using traditional methods and materials, and replicate the original cast-iron railings and Saracen foundry gas lamps that once adorned the gateway.   We’re delighted that the Elder Park entrance will once again be lit up as its founder, Isabella Elder, intended, for the delight of the people of Govan.”

Representative from Get In To Govan

The project not only restored the park entrance to its former glory, but also created an opportunity for the community to engage in the restoration process and discover more about the park’s heritage and future. The project also produced a short film documenting the entire restoration process, which can be viewed below.

The Elder Park Gates in the press

The restored gateway is now a handsome formal entrance that shines the way into Elder Park, enhancing the overall visitor experience.

“A real triumph!”

Paul Sweeny, MP

The newly refurbished gates were opened to the public officially in July 2022.

For more information on refurbishment projects such as this, speak to one of William Sugg’s experts today.