Òran Mór are committed to re-instating our North Garden on Great Western Road as well as respecting and enhancing its environs.
Our main objective is to provide the best possible service for all our customers, in this case specifically the many brides who are wed here each year. Restoring our North Garden would allow our wedding parties to be photographed within the grounds of Òran Mór, in keeping with the tradition of the former church.
When Òran Mór purchased the former Kelvinside Parish Church as a derelict building it was in the knowledge that the North and West Gardens had been compulsory purchased for the purpose of creating underpasses to the Botanic Garden Railway Station.
At the time, it is recorded that there was serious disquiet and resistance by the congregation to both the underpass proposal and the compulsory purchase of their grounds.
After the scheme was abandoned the West Garden only was returned to the church and now forms part of our main entrance on Byres Road. Our aim is simply to correct this discrepancy and have the North Garden returned also, thereby bringing the grounds back to their original form.
It has always been the intention of Òran Mór to re-instate the North Garden on Great Western Road back into its original grounds, and discussions to that effect were held with planners during our original proposals.
The trees were always part of the original grounds and of course will not be disturbed or moved in any way. The pavement will be re-instated to its original form which will be wider than the existing Byres Road pavement and also wider than at the busy Kelvinbridge Subway exit pavement.
Colin Beattie of Òran Mór states “The issue at stake here is one of conservationism and reinstating the building back to its original form.
Simply, the former Kelvinside Parish Church was built as a place of gathering and to service the needs of the community at large.
The Gardens were included within its original grounds to enable all manner of outside events to take place ranging from weddings, garden fetes and assemblies of various groups including the 104 Boys Brigade who regularly practised in the grounds before parading in the neighbouring Great Western and Byres Road.
The gardens were also used by parishioners for exchanging views in the fresh air when good weather permitted and of course for carol singing at Christmas.
We at Òran Mór are dismayed as to why our request to bring back the North Garden is meeting with resistance.
The main principle and use of the building is continuing in the same vein as it was originally designed. All Òran Mór is requesting is that the planners and public can be persuaded that on all counts there are only positive and no negative aspects in reinstating the garden.
Thereby closing the circle on the abandoned underpass proposal. Thus allowing today’s public to enjoy the full scope for which the building and grounds were designed.”
In addition “Queues that form on Great Western Road for the many events and productions that Òran Mór provides will be accommodated within the grounds, eliminating overspill into the public realm.
Òran Mór continues in its quest to enhance the building and the facilities it has to offer. The commissioning of the ‘Patter’, a bronze bench with Billy Connolly & Chic Murray in conversation – by the celebrated Scottish sculptor David Annand – is being well received and will be a major feature of the North Garden.”
It would now be correct to acknowledge Òran Mór as a modern place of gathering with similar objectives to the original Kelvinside Parish Church, albeit for the purpose of cultural and entertainment experiences, as opposed to religious ones.
Òran Mór has won many awards in the hospitality and entertainment industry. With regards to the architectural treatment of the former Kelvinside Parish Church our most prized award for architectural endeavour is twofold: The internationally acclaimed LEAF award presented to us in Barcelona and The Glasgow Institute of Architects award given and presented in Òran Mór.
We at Òran Mór would like to think that these awards confirm the integrity in which Òran Mór has approached and succeeded in converting the derelict Kelvinside Parish Church, preserving the legacy of architect JJ Stevenson’s design for future generations.
Mr Beattie continues “We have the utmost regard for the responsibility that goes with owning and maintaining the integrity of this fine ‘B’ listed building and respect the important standing it has on the architectural landscape of not only the West End but the city of Glasgow.”
BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland programme
BBC News Billy Connolly: Will the Big Yin’s statue ever find a home?
Colin Beattie talks to The Herald about his