THE towering scaffolding which has hung over St Joseph’s in Milngavie is finally down - as the church completes the first phase of its renovation.
Parishioners are delighted that the recent refurbishment programme has been completed after they raised a staggering £260,000 to make the 19th century Buchanan Street building wind and water tight.
Despite dating back to 1896, the sandstone church is not listed with Historic Scotland - which meant, apart from a few comparatively modest grants, the congregation had to foot the bill for the total cost of this work.
The unlisted status also meant that over £40,000 in VAT was payable. In the past few years, those attending St Joseph’s have raised nearly a quarter of a million pounds to fund the exterior work.
Four grants were received, totalling £18,000 - and the parish is grateful to Baird Trust Glasgow, The Hugh Fraser Foundation, Allchurches Trust Ltd and the Garfield Weston Foundation for their financial help.
As well as the grants, around 50 parishioners also offered interest free loans to the church, to a total value of £50,000.
A band of hardy souls also went in every week and hauled furniture around and cleaned and tidied to make sure a service could take place every day without any damage and too much dust.
During Phase 1 of the work, which started in May, the church was completely re-roofed.
Stonework was re-pointed and upgraded, and various important repairs of windows, stonework and sorting out damp and rot were undertaken inside.
The building is also now framed at night by dramatic spotlighting.
As we reported recently, a time capsule was discovered inserted in the wall by the original occupants the United Free Church of Scotland. This will be opened in the near future in the company of representatives from other congregations.
Parish priest Father John McGrorry said: “It’s great to be back home again after this large undertaking, and I would like to thank everyone for their patience and generosity.”
Phase two of the project, which will involve internal improvements, will see a thorough consultation with the congregation.