Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Eric Liddell Centre - another helping of glass

Where Bruntfield meets Morningside in Edinburgh, there's a bit of a hot spot for churches known locally as Holy Corner. One of these is no longer a church and is called the Eric Liddell Centre. It's used by a charity of the same name and is named after Eric Liddell who is probably the most famous person to go to church there. He is best known as a runner and won a gold and bronze medal in the 1924 Olympics - he famously withdrew from the 100m, his best event, because it would have meant running on a Sunday (all you film buffs out there will realise that this is the event that  became Chariots of Fire on the big screen). He also played rugby for Scotland and I'm sure he would probably want to be remembered most for his missionary work.  
I came in to look at its stained glass, installed, naturally, when it was still the Morningside North Parish Church. I was quite surprised that a large number of offices and rooms had been built within the church almost in the form of a building within a building. It looks quite a pleasant place to work actually, certainly with much finer glazing than your average offices. It does mean that it's difficult to see the larger windows as they were intended (you just can't get far enough away) but on the other hand, on the higher floors, you get to see some of the windows from a much closer range than you ever would have done when it was a church.
It was interesting to come here after my trip to Brechin Cathedral as there is a good bit of glass in here by William Wilson who did many of the windows in Brechin. The above window is now the window of a small room.

The biggest window in the church at the North end is also by William Wilson. You can't get far enough away to see it all in a oner but you'd have had to be a pigeon to see it from this angle before.

The next two windows are attributed to Herbert Hendrie who also appears in my Brechin Cathedral blog.

The artist for this window is unknown but there is quite a resemblance in the cloth to the previous two - faces are quite different I think.

There was another unknown artist window in the building. It was mostly obscured and this is the only picture of it I could find on the net. Comparing the picture of it in my guide book to the window I saw of Herbert Hendrie in Brechin I would put a small sum on it that this is his too. I don't have my own pictures of this one as it was mostly obscured by a notice and only the top quarter or so was visible.
My favourite windows in the building were a number by the Scottish artist, John Duncan. He is best known for his painting but seems to have done pretty well when he's turned his hand to glazing.

This one is only attributed to John Duncan.

The quality of the face doesn't really show up in the photo of the entire window but it's much clearer in this close up. It's rather marvellous

Across the road from the Eric Liddell Centre is the Morningside United Church (it used to be the Morningside North Parish church in a previous incarnation) and it's thought that Mr Liddell may have gone to church here too. The lady at reception in the Eric Liddell Centre told me that they have a brand new window this year dedicated to Eric Liddell. It's not routinely open during the week but we rang the office doorbell and were enthusiastically invited in to view it (most appreciated). It was made by Christian Shaw and, according to the churches web page, it was being finished in October,


Laoch of Chicago said...


Long ago when I went to Chartres and saw the Chagall stained glass I was stunned at how beautiful it was.

The Glebe Blog said...

Very colourful Sandy. I've only ever driven through Morningside. Looks an interesting area to explore.
It brings to mind a song called 'Morningtown Ride' by the Seekers.

Sandy's witterings said...

Laoch, the internet is a great thing (or it would be if I had better down load speeds). So I looked up Mr Chagall - great use of colour (not managed to find an image that will let me have a great look at the detail but will look later when time permits.

Jim, I like Morningside area - I was a student for some time in the ajoining Bruntsfield. A small investigate tells me that Morningtown Ride is a bit older than the Seekers - it was written by a lady called Malvina Reynolds in 1957. She also wrote Little Boxes which I thought was by pete Seeger.

Linda said...

The 4th and 5th pictures remind me of the illustrations of Charles Keeping, who illustrated many of the novels of Rosemary Sutcliff. They were very powerful, and made a huge impression on me as a child in visually starved (apart from nature, of course!) rural Moray.

It is good to see the stained glass medium continuing to evolve.

Sandy's witterings said...

Linda, it's funny how we see something in a picture that reminds us of somebody elses. Good old internet quickly provided me with a big pile of Charles Keeping (quite unfamiliar to me) and I can see exactly where you're coming from - it's all in the faces I think.

Shundo said...

That close-up face was breath-taking; lovely stuff. I imagine you don't often get elephants in your local stained glass.