The Archdiocese of Glasgow on Friday, 24 July, 2020 concluded the transfer of ownership of the former St Peter's Seminary and its surrounding estate at Cardross to new owners. A new charity, the Kilmahew Education Trust, will be the new legal owners of the site. They aim to develop it as an asset for the local community while respecting the unique archaeological status of the iconic St Peter's building. No payment was made as the Archdiocese bequeathed the estate and buildings free of charge to the Trust.
Announcing the transfer of ownership, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the Archbishop of Glasgow, said: "This is a good day for the Archdiocese, for the local area, and, I hope, for the wider Scottish community.
"Times were very different when St Peter's Seminary was opened in the late 1960s to wide architectural acclaim. Changing requirements in priestly education, a drop in the number of seminarians and difficulties in maintaining the fabric of the building mean that the seminary had a relatively short lifespan.
"For four decades the Archdiocese has sought a new owner for the site, and finally a solution has been found. I wish the new owners every success as they develop the site and move forward to a new chapter in the history of the seminary and its estate."
Stuart Cotton of the new charitable trust was equally enthusiastic at the news. He said: "The Trust is delighted to take up the many challenges that exist on the Kilmahew Estate and is grateful to the Archdiocese of Glasgow for its outstanding support over the last year in facilitating the transfer of ownership and for trusting us with the honour of becoming the next custodians of this outstanding and unique heritage asset.
"There is no doubting the beauty of the Kilmahew landscape nor the atmospheric presence that surrounds the seminary complex of St Peter's. We simply need to develop a viable vision, with education at its core, and execute the plans that develop from that to the best of our abilities.
"In the build up to the acquisition, our Education Trust has been busy putting together an internationally-renowned team to assist us. We are currently fine-tuning our plans to enhance Kilmahew and these will be made public in due course."
"It goes without saying that the Kilmahew Estate and St Peter's Seminary are of significant historical importance to the Scottish public and we are acutely aware of just how many diverse groups are stakeholders, including the local Cardross community, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government. The next few months will see us developing relationships with these and other stakeholders and presenting our vision for Kilmahew alongside our expert team."
"We believe our vision will provide Kilmahew with a very exciting and vibrant future whilst also respecting its outstanding heritage. We look forward to sharing our initial masterplan in due course and welcoming the public to share our experiences along the way."
The acquisition of Kilmahew marks the end of a 10 year search by the Trustees to identify a suitable site in the UK from which to base their educational programmes which will be aimed at young children and their families. With backgrounds in education consultancy and complex business turnarounds, the Trustees are uniquely placed to deliver a new chapter in the history of Kilmahew and the St Peter's Seminary complex.
The seminary building was designed by the firm of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, and has been described by one international architecture conservation organisation as a "building of world significance."
Brutalist in style and owing a huge debt to Le Corbusier, the seminary is widely considered to be one of the most important examples of modernist architecture in Scotland.
It was completed in 1966 just as the number of candidates entering seminary began to decline. The building never reached its full capacity of around 100 students. In February 1980 it closed. For some years it acted as a drug rehabilitation unit.
SCMO - https://scmo.org/
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