Alexander Elder Memorial Chapel

Description

The Alexander Elder Memorial Chapel is dedicated to the memory of the doctors and nurses who died during both World Wars. It is named after Alexander Elder who bequeathed £50,000 to the Western Infirmary. In addition to the Chapel, the bequest was also used to provide an extension for the Nurses Home and a lecture room. The Chapel is a category B building and was listed on 15 December, 1970.

The Chapel is located to the west of the Infirmary’s G Block building and was designed by Sir John James Burnet who also donated the beautiful communion table in memory of his father, John Burnet Sr, the Infirmary’s first architect. The Chapel was opened Sunday, 8 November, 1925, the service being conducted by the Very Rev. Professor George Milligan, DD, DCL.

The Alexander Elder Memorial Chapel is built in masonry with lancet windows and crow-stepped gables. The interior was conceived as a whole and is largely designed without alteration including herringbone timber floors, open timber roof with painted rafters and purlins, timber carved relief panels in oak, decorative inscriptions, and memorial plaques (some of which were added later). The Chapel also possesses an exceptional organ, which, during the early days of broadcasting, was used on occasion for recitals aired by the BBC.

Some of the most striking features of the Chapel are the beautiful stained glass windows designed by Robert Anning Bell, RA. The windows were created on the theme of healing and feature scenes from the bible. Three of the windows are dedicated to the memory of Lieut. Donald Mackintosh, VC. Lieut. Mackintosh was killed at the Battle of Arras during the First World War and received a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery under fire. Two of these windows, located behind the communion table, were provided by the members of the Western Infirmary Nurses’ League as an acknowledgement of the work done for the nursing profession by Lieut. Mackintosh’s father, Colonel Mackintosh, the Infirmary’s Medical Superintendent. They were unveiled by Miss Gregory Smith together with the memorial table to Sister Ella M. Bond and Staff Nurse Margaret S. Dewar who also died on service during The Great War. Dewar died in March, 1917 after refusing to leave her patients when her field hospital was bombed. The three windows at the opposite end and a plaque were presented by the members of the Western Infirmary Residents Club in memory of the 22 Western Infirmary doctors and surgeons who gave their lives during the war and were unveiled by Lieut. General Sir Matthew Fell, Director General of the Army Medical Services.

The remaining windows were donated by others in appreciation of the Infirmary and its work. In 1949 a plaque was erected in memory of Grace Logan, Nell McMillan and Agnes Sim, all members of the Colonial Nursing Service, and Minnie McCay, QAIMNS who gave their lives during the Second World War. Agnes Sim and Grace Logan escaped on one of the last British ships out of Singapore in 1942, the SS Kuala. The ship was bombed by Japanese planes. Sister Logan managed to make it to shore but died later that day while it is believed that Sister Sim went down with the ship.

Summary

Alexander Elder Memorial Chapel
62 Church Street
10C Dumbarton Road
Western Infirmary
Glasgow
Record last updated: 9th Jul 2015

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