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Calman Cancer Support Centre, Gartnavel, Glasgow

Calman Cancer Support Centre, Gartnavel, Glasgow

Sensitive restoration of Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel to provide a support centre for those affected by cancer


Calman Cancer Support Centre (named for Sir Kenneth Calman, founder of Cancer Support Scotland) features counselling rooms, contemporary therapy suites, offices, hairdressing and wig salon and an information centre, library and sensory garden. It is located in the restored Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel, a B listed Arts and Crafts style building.

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) raised £1.5 million from 13 funding sources to enable the restoration after the chapel fell out of use, was boarded up and eventually added to the Buildings at Risk Register in 2007.


Calman Cancer Support Centre © Kelvin Yong


Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel was designed in 1904 by Sir JJ Burnet, a leading Scottish architect of the time. It is in the arts and crafts style and is constructed of timber and red brick, with render to the upper walls and slate roof. The building has detailed entrances, deep eaves, bell tower and original stained glass windows.

Once the chapel fell out of use, it became derelict, was boarded up and eventually was added to the Buildings at Risk Register. Following this, GBPT undertook an options appraisal study and then spent three years raising the necessary £1.5 million for the restoration project.  

The restoration work included elements of repair, but conservation was adopted where possible including of the stained glass, wooden panelling and choir stalls.

A new build extension was also constructed to provide necessary additional space.

Students from City of Glasgow College were involved in the project, contributing designs for the interior, including a scale model, and hand-carved stone waymarkers for new tranquillity walks in the hospital grounds.


The result of the project is a contemporary tranquil interior with adjoining garden space, officially opened in 2012. The building provides much needed care and support for those affected by cancer.

The project won a ‘Friends of Glasgow West Gold Award’ for sensitive conservation and restoration, a Commendation in the Building Conservation category at the ‘RICS Awards’ and was the ‘Best Heritage Project 2013’ at the ‘National Lottery Awards Good Causes’ awards.



“This [project] has been an exemplar of turning a building with a historic caring mission as a place of workshop into a new space with a new type of care and service delivery relevant in 2013.” Andrew Robertson, Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS


The project also provided the opportunity for community engagement, with the development of children’s activity packs, heritage trails and interpretation panels to educate local people about the building’s heritage. An apprenticeship in stone masonry was also provided as part of the project.

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