The History of Craigiebank Parish Church
The Craigiebank housing estate in the east of Dundee was planned in 1918 as a garden suburb of the city, designed by City Architect James Thomson. At the centre of the estate was to be a group of community buildings, including a church, a college, shops and sports facilities.
However, only Craigiebank Parish Church was actually built, being designed in the Romanesque style by City Architect Frank Thomson and opened in September 1938. Now a ‘Category B’ listed building, it consists of a cruciform plan sanctuary with an adjoining rectangular plan church hall (the hall was opened in 1932 and was used for church services prior to the construction of the sanctuary). On the north side of the church hall, there is a triangular footprint extension built in the early 1970s, which houses the kitchen and entrance foyer. The sanctuary houses a fine pipe organ, installed by Rothwell in 1949; this came from a London church bombed in the Blitz, and probably dates from around 1890, although the original maker is not known for certain.
The church sits within quite sizeable grounds with a limited amount of parking space, adjacent to the north entrance, just off Carlochie Place. The congregation has an active membership of approximately 200. Since 2003, the buildings and grounds have been managed by the Craigiebank Association.
The sanctuary has a long history of problems, including numerous unresolved structural issues and water ingress, including a major damp problem in the walls; it is in generally poor condition with an untidy appearance both internally and externally, despite considerable funds having been spent over many years in an attempt to correct the faults. In addition, there are functional problems such as the location of the toilets, the lack of use of the sanctuary, no easy access for people with disabilities and no welcoming entrance at Carlochie Place.
James F. Stephen architects of Glamis were commissioned in January 2007 by Craigiebank Parish Church to undertake a feasibility study into possible improvements to the church building. The brief outlined by the Session of Craigiebank Parish Church and the Board of Directors of the Craigiebank Association was as follows:
- assess the nature and extent of the faults in the sanctuary, and the possibility of repair
- investigate the possibility of demolition
- investigate potential value of the site
- investigate the possibility of conversion of the sanctuary and grounds for commercial use
The architects prepared and presented a number of different options to the Session; each one was carefully analysed and assessed as to its viability, and one option was selected as the basis for future development of the site.