St Peter in Chains Church

(St Peter ad Vincula)

St Peter in Chains RC Church, Ardrossan
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

St Peter in Chains RC Church, Ardrossan

A grand edifice at the northwest end of South Beach in Ardrossan (North Ayrshire), St Peter in Chains (St Peter ad Vincula) Roman Catholic Church is an A-listed example of the work of Glasgow-based architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, and was dedicated on the 2nd October, 1938 by the Archbishop of Glasgow. Constructed at a cost of approximately £10,000, its influence is Scandinavian with similarities to Stockholm Town Hall.

The site was previously occupied by The Pavilion, the summer residence of the Earls of Eglinton which was bought by the diocese in 1924. Constructed of red facing brick, the church comprises a long aisled nave with a square tower at the southeast corner. A narrow octagonal copper-clad belfry sits on top of the tower. The roof is of sand-faced rustic tiles. The church is said to sit on Irish soil, the ballast from ships from Ireland which was dumped over the years next to Ardrossan harbour.

The entrances are striking in their detail, comprising narrow spine-like keystones in stone at the centre of the expanding brick arch which radiates above the bright-red panelled doors. The keystone above the main entrance is engraved with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, representing the eternity of God, and IHC - the monogram of Christ. The keystone of the side entrance illustrates keys - the symbol of St. Peter - entangled in chains. The interior is large but simple, finished in plaster with woodwork of Austrian oak. It gains natural light from windows in the aisles and at high-level, and has a gallery and organ to the rear. The Altar was constructed from Italian and Swedish marble, while the baptismal font was made of granite.

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