Websters is a new name for the former Lansdowne Church on Great Western Road Glasgow. The project is to bring it into use as an arts and local community venue. Our immediate target for Websters is £300,000 of which we have used £225,000 in loans and £50,000 in grants.
So we are trying to raise £25,000. If we are successful in doing this we are confident we will be fully operational by April 2014.
We are FACT THREE, a registered charity (Scottish Charity Registration No. SC038373) and we have taken on Lansdowne Church, a famous landmark along Glasgow's Great Western Road which we are starting to operate as a theatre and community facility. We received a small loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund. Our trustees do have some experience at this having successfully established Cottiers, another venue, also in the West End some thirty years ago.
Our idea is to make one of the most beautiful buildings in Glasgow become one of the most lively in the city for arts and entertainment. We are fortunate in that Websters stands on Glasgowʼs famous Great Western Road right above the River Kelvin and next to Kelvinbridge Underground Station. It is one of the cityʼs best loved landmarks with a slender steeple reputed to be the pointiest in Europe! In the long term we want to restore the building and its wonderful stained glass by Alfred Webster and we want to create a public square at its front entrance with steps down to the river connecting us to the Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Museum but right now we just want to get it going - get the life into it - by running a theatre space and a meeting place with good food and beverages and a hall upstairs for all sorts of healthy community activity.
We need to raise enough money to open properly by Spring 2015 - our funding gap to do this is £25,000. Having taken over the building at the end of 2013 we need to get it fully active within a year and weʼve been making loads of progress. A Crowdfunding platform offers us the chance to raise the funds quickly and make real connections with the many people who love this building and want to see the dream come true. Once the building is operational we can embark on even more ambitious plans - like the restoration of Alf Websterʼs great south window and that public square at the front entrance. This is just the beginning.
The Friends of Glasgow West
The Friends of Glasgow West are delighted to support David Robertson and FACT Three in this bold and excellent Webster’s venture. FACT have already proved their tremendous skill in restoration and new community uses by creating Cottier’s, a high quality and unique venue now fully established in Hyndland.
Webster’s at Kelvinbridge, with its splendid architecture and stained glass, will have a bookable hall upstairs (a rare community asset!), as well as a theatre for both serious drama and family pantomimes.
Without doubt people in Glasgow, both local and citywide, would love a 21st century use like Webster’s Theatre to be established here, and to secure the long-term future of this famous landmark building at Kelvinbridge for everyone’s enjoyment.
Ann Laird, Convener FGW, December 2014
If you pledge funds you will receive a reward in proportion to the amount of your pledge. The minimum pledge is £5. We have a wide range of rewards that reflect the financial pledges. Everyone who makes a pledge also has the opportunity to pick their favourite Alf Webster image from the 25 displayed on the gallery below. Those who pick the most popular image will go forward to the prize draw with pairs of tickets to the celebrations when Websters opens for real to be awarded to ten winners.
Choose your favourite image and remember the number and name of the image you have selected which we will ask you to confirm on the rewards section. Enter our prize draw when you pledge. Everyone gets to enter but only those who pick the most popular image get into the prize draw.
1st The Custodian
2nd Grey Angel Praying
3rd The Avenger
4th The Philosopher
5th The Guardian Angel
6th The Monk
7th The Charger
8th St Paul's Cathedral
9th Websters Theatre
10th Grey Angel Watching
11th Left Hand Sword
12th The Penitents
13th The Bluebird
14th The Child
15th The Lion
16th The Right Hand Sword
17th The Turtle Dove
18th The Damned
19th The Frog
20th The Gamblers
21st The Beer Drinker
22nd The Glasgow Emblem
23rd The Small Boy
24th The Mother
25th The Starry Angel
Why is it called Websters?
The name Websters came from Alf Webster whose deeply moving windows adorn the upper parts of the building. The trustees of Four Acre Charitable Trust who have already restored Dowanhill Parish Church named that building after the stained glass designer Daniel Cottier (1838-91) who originally decorated its interior.
Since the interior of Lansdowne Church has two very wonderful windows by Alf Webster (1883-1915) and one by his son Gordon Webster, Websters was the natural name to give the to the new theatre.
Alf Webster is arguably the most exceptional stained glass artist that Scotland has produced and the country has a very special legacy of stained glass from the period between 1860 and 1920. These two windows are among his crowning achievements.
Sadly also his last because he died of his wounds at Ypres in 1915. The great south transept window was starting to break up when a grant from the Pilgrim Trust was obtained in 2007 to take it down safely and a fighting fund has been started to pay to restore the window. Any extra money raised here will go towards restoring the window, one hundred years after Alf Webster died of his wounds in France.
Why is the organisation called FACT THREE?
Four Acres Charitable Trust (FACT for short) was set up in 1983 to rescue Dowanhill Church now Cottiers. Then in 1986 a trading company was set up wholly owned by the charity and this was called FACT TWO.
Then a long period of time elapsed because the transformation of Dowanhill Church into Cottiers involved the trustees in many phases of work which continue to this day. The point being that the building and the trust have always had to generate income to keep going and that means a lot of time and effort is required to slowly raise and transform what was initially a semi-derelict monument.
The condition of Websters is not nearly as bad as Cottiers was, but the building was becoming too much for its congregation to sustain and a dialogue ensued in 2005 with the trustees of FACT with a view to them taking it into charitable ownership. That is how FACT THREE came into existence as a charity set up to own and restore Websters as a community asset along similar lines to Cottiers.