(JHE) — The disused Langside synagogue in Glasgow, which won Grade-C listing last year following vocal local and international lobbying, goes up for auction February 25 — with the real estate company advertising it as a prime site for residential or commercial development.
The Rightmove web site lists the guide price as £650,000. It calls it an “incredible development opportunity,” describing the building, located on Niddrie Road, as “ideal for conversion into Residential Development with plans prepared for: 17 Executive Flats [or…. ] Serviced offices / restaurant / Children’s play centre / Large Retail Premises / Nightclub Entertainment Venue.”
The synagogue was designed in modernist style by the firm Waddell & Young and built in 1926-1927. It was closed in 2014 because the dwindling congregation. You can take a virtual tour of the empty building on the real estate web site.
As we reported last year, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) designated the synagogue a Grade-C listed building in September 2020. It had opened a public consultation about it, following a campaign by a renewed, non-traditional and LGBTQ-friendly Jewish community in the neighborhood to reopen the synagogue for their use.
HES said “the level of interest shown [during the consultation] both locally and internationally for this building and Scotland’s Jewish heritage was unprecedented.”
According the HES, Grade C listing means “Buildings of special architectural or historic interest which are representative examples of a period, style or building type.”
Designation as a Grade-C category listed building does not prevent development of the structure, but provides more protection regarding what can be done.
HES states that developers need “listed building consent to make changes to a listed building that [the] planning authority deems will affect its character. […] Listing isn’t intended to prevent development. It simply signals a special interest that should be taken into account in the planning process.”
It’s not clear what this will mean for the former synagogue.
The sale listing notes several times that the former synagogue is a Grade-C building, and it also notes that any development or conversion would be subject to planning permissions.
The synagogue was notable for its rare interior features by a Lithuanian-born cabinetmaker named Harris Berkovitch (c. 1876–1956), who was a member of the Langside Hebrew congregation.
They were the only known example in Scotland of East European folk-art style synagogue arrangement and ornamentation. With the closure of the synagogue, the the wooden Ark and bimah were removed. Some original decoration remains, including stained glass windows.