St Peter's Seminary, Cardross College, St Peters College.

OS Ref: NS354774 (approx)
Created: August 2003


Alternative Names: Cardross Seminary; Cardross College; St Peters College.

Architect: : Gillespie Kidd and Coia


On the Web:

View from the High Altar

St Peter’s College was founded in 1874 as a seminary for the Western District at Partickhill, Glasgow, it moved to sites near Cardross and is now back in Glasgow.

The massive concrete husk of St Peters Seminary can be discovered being slowly consumed by vegetation, weather and the local young teams in the woods behind Cardross Village. It is reached after a long walk up a rhododendron lined track that takes you behind the golf course, you might start to wonder if you are ever going to find it or if perhaps its been demolished and you are too late, but persevere and you will round the corner to come face to face with an A-listed architectural masterpiece.

It was commissioned by the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1958 and completed in 1966 serving time as a teaching college for the catholic church before being closed in 1980. It was designed by architects Isi Metzstein and Andy McMillan, who ran Gillespie, Kidd and Coia. It is a modular concrete structure, and is considered to be a good example of collegiate buildings from the 1960s. It was awarded the Riba architecture award in 1967 but as Historic Scotland notes: “It has been systematically vandalised and is now reduced to a ruinous skeleton.”

So far no purchaser has been found and , nor has a scheme been put forward that could give it a new use - it seems set to be slowly eaten away by the elements. One current suggestion is that it should perhaps become the first stabilised and protected 20th-century ruin. Meanwhile it is a mecca for those who love the architecture and for those who merely enjoy the spectacle of a car park like building in the middle of beautiful woodland.

IMAGE GALLERY 1 - 5th June 2003

IMAGE GALLERY 2 - 16th November 2003

View from the High Altar

View towards the High Altar

View from Kilmahew House

Your Memories

I was a student at St Peter's College from August 1965 to November 1967. My first year was spent at the house at Darleth and I entered the new college in 1966 as one of the first students to take possion of the the new college building design as were many Catholic Churches by Mr Coia in the late 50' and early 60's. Even as it was being built , it was already out of date due to the the second vatican council. You can clearly see evidence of this if you descend behind the high alter where you will see a large number of indivdual alters cast in concrete but never finished as the council brought in the idea of concelebration of a mass by all the priests present as a congregation. Coia seems to have had a fixation with underfloor heating ( See St Martins in Castlemilk) but he always buried it so deep under the floor that it was usless. In Cadross the bottom floor used glass as the the wall giving you the impression that you were out while being. In truth in the winter you could not survive within six feet of the glas as it was not double glazed as this area was alwas cold.

If you wish any more detil about Cardross I should be happy to supply you with any detail I can still remenber. Can you tell me if the Japanese gardens laid out in the golry days of Kilmahew House still exist

Charles McLaughlin [29/09/2003]

I studied there in 1967-68.

We were a small Italian group studying Theology there. It is sad to see the current situation of the building.

Giuseppe Spagnolo [08/11/2003]

I was a student in St. Peter's Cardross, from September 1971 - June 1972. It was by far, the strangest building I have ever lived in. Given the nature of its purpose, to train candidates for the Catholic Priesthood, it was the type of place that if you wanted to be a Priest, you were likely to find it okay. If you had difficulties in deciding on a vocation, the building could have an effect on your decision. Some people were quite happy living there.

I remember visiting there, in the summer prior to going there. I wished I had not done that, as I disliked the building immediately.

I think it was supposed to be designed in the shape of a ship, (The Barque of Peter.) Looking at the photgraphs of it now, reminds me of looking at pictures of sunken ships, like the Titanic. At least it landed longer than the Titanic!

I think part of the reason for its size was the hope that it would become a National Major Seminary. It was also designed when vocations to the Priesthood were very high.

Gerry Hendry [26/12/2003]

Your facts are certainly not accurate when you describethe students' rooms as 'cells'. Cells are part of monastic life, whereas Cardross existed to train diocesan clergy.

Graham Bell [30/12/2003]

There can be no excuse for disgraceful state of the altar in the old St Peter's

College. Try explaining to anyone with any intelligence what Catholics believe occurred on that altar - even if Our Lord was made present there even once only - and they'd rightly laugh scornfully.

I see these photos of a derelict and neglected college as truly symbolic of the dire state of the Church in Scotland itself.

St John Ogilve, pray for us.

Patricia McKeever [10/04/2004]

Hi there Patricia!

> There can be no excuse for disgraceful state of the altar in the old St Peter's College.

Why ? It is an abondoned building. It was deconsecrated in accordance with Catholic procedure just before it's doors were locked for the last time.

> Try explaining to anyone with any intelligence what Catholics believe occurred on that altar - even if Our Lord was made present there even once only - and they'd rightly laugh scornfully.

Catholics (To the best of my knowledge) don't place any significance to the altar in particular. Also, point A this site has been de-consecrated and so where is your point ?

> I see these photos of a derelict and neglected college as truly symbolic of the dire state of the Church in Scotland itself.

That would be an ecumenical matter. If the church is in a dire state it may be because people are fed up of beliving in some divine, all powerfull imaginary friend and I don't think the state of repair of a long abandoned building has any bearing, do you ?

Chris... [11/01/2004]

I live in Cardross and not far from the old college.

I moved to Cardross 20 years ago and still there is a feeling about the old place. The place holds fascination to me still and I still go looking around and inside the building.

However I can honestly say that there is ALMOST no where that I have not yet managed to adventure around the old college.

But there is some places still left in the old ruins that even now I will never go near for there is certain dread near these places. How this could have been a place of God I will never know as there is no good feelings left in any of the buildings. I guess there has been too many bad things happening in there.

If anyone would like any new pictures of the old building as it is now please tell me and I will happily take some and forward to you. Even of some of the places that had no good vibes left to worship near.

What is OPUS DEI?

Stephen [15/02/2004]

I lived in Cardross during the Eighties and as a young teenager visited the place occasionally. At that time access to the building was nigh on impossible as all the windows and doors were shuttered or barred, there was also a caretaker. I gained entry on occasion accompanied by some friends under the watchfull eye of the caretaker. It was a trully awesome place. I remember a lot of the little rooms still had papyrus made crosses pinned to their walls. The current state is completely shocking.
As for the previous listed comment I am unsure as to who the author is but I must admit that his descriptions of the "aura" in certain parts of the grounds is not far off the mark.
I would also like to dedicate a small remembrance to a friend whom sadly decided to hang himself in the grounds of the college in the eighties. May he rest in peace, he was known as "nipper".

Andy [01/03/2004]


Does anyone have any information, stories or photographs relating to St Peters? Maybe you worked or studied there - or knew someone who did... We would like to hear from you. Are our facts accurate, please let us know!





All images © 2002

updated: February 2004