Memorial Chapel


The Memorial Chapel, located in the centre of the west wing of the main University building, is dedicated to the memory of the 750 University staff, students and alumni who fell in the Great War. Their names are inscribed on the tablets at the east end of the Chapel, to which have been added the names of the 432 who gave their lives in the Second World War. In 2003, the names of those whose service had only recently come to light were inscribed on additional tablets on the South Wall.

In 1913 the completion of the western quadrangle of the Gilbert Scott Building was conceived with the building of a chapel and an Arts block. Sir John James Burnet designed the building in-keeping with that of Gilbert Scott's. However, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 put a stop to all building projects at the University, and work did not resume until January 1923 on what became a war memorial.

Builders Bruce & Hay began construction work in 1923 and completion, amidst strikes and bad weather, was delayed until early 1929. The funds for the Memorial Chapel were raised entirely by donations and public subscription, and on 4 October 1929, Principal, Sir Donald MacAlister dedicated the chapel "to the unfading memory of the brave men and women who in the Great War gave their lives for us and the freedom of the world [...]."

With the appointment of University Chaplain, Reverend Dr Archibald Craig, in 1930, daily morning services were established and a full University Service held each Sunday during term.

In 1962, Sir Hector Hetherington also acknowledged "the others who in their day were close to the heart of the University, and who have helped us by their works of peace" who were memorialised in the furnishings and adornments of the Chapel. Included in these memorials the figures of Scottish saints, the work of Walter Gilbert (1871-1946), the wood carvings, designed by Archibald Dawson (1892-1938), and the stained glass windows, designed and made by Douglas Strachan (1875-1950). The first of the windows to be commissioned was the Rose Window in the west wall, which was funded by the university chancellor Sir Donald MacAlister on 21 February 1932 as a memorial to the late Rector and Chancellor Lord Rosebery. Strachan only lived to finish nine of the 18 windows he had designed for the Memorial Chapel, the last in 1945. Subsequent windows were worked on in the 1950s by Gordon Webster, in the 60s by Keith New and Lawrence Lee, and in the 70s by Alan Younger.

Various donations and gifts have been made to the Chapel, some in memory to fallen family members: Professor Ritchie Girvan having contributed to commemorate his brother John, and a gift from George MacFeat and his brother Colonel PD MacFeat, to commemorate their late nephew, Professor George MacFeat Wishart.

However, the Chapel is not only a War Memorial, but also a memorial to all those significant moments in the lives of the alumni that have been celebrated there. Many generations of Glasgow University graduates, members of staff, and current students, have used the Chapel for baptisms, funerals, weddings, and more recently civil partnerships. The Memorial Chapel continues to be the hub of worship within the University, welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds.


Memorial Chapel
The University of Glasgow
G12 8QQ
Record last updated: 10th Jun 2015