Chapel Mosaics, 1870’s

These incredible mosaics were once on the wall in a little chapel formerly located near the Priory Bridge Housing Estate. As part of the Calderglen Estate, the chapel was erected in the 1880s in memory of Pelham Maitland Cochrane, the son of the Calderglen House owner.

When the chapel became in disrepair, the mosaics were moved to the Burleigh Church. However, in 1974 the smoke damaged mosaics were salvaged form the old Burleigh Church after a fire and taken to Hamiiton Town Hall, cleaned up and mounted on the wall overlooking the main library staircase.

Visiting them a few years ago, I was astounded by the scale of them! The two mosaics have been lovingly restored and are so colourful with the utmost fine craftmanship visible in the detail. Vibrant colours jump out and they are each well over 2.5m tall by 1.2m wide. It looks like the original wood backing was lifted out with them. These photos shared here by Rob Gordon, (the brother of late Blantyre historian Neil Gordon) show the mosaics in all their splendour. Rob recently emailed me excellent high resolution colour copies.

When I visited these mosaics, I felt sad on two counts.

1. Why are the mosaics in Hamilton now and not still somewhere in Blantyre?

2. Why was there no plaque or story beside them.

To any passers by they are just two random mosaics, when in fact they have all this wonderful history attached to them from another town and indeed are in memory of Pelham Cochrane. The history is lost in Hamilton and irrelevant there. In that location they serve only as nice decorations on the library wall. How fitting it would be for one day these mosaics to be returned to Calderglen House.

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  1. John Maxwell Colligan

    I agree. I’d be happy to sign a petition!

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