Designating Palacerigg Visitor Centre

Closed 28 Jun 2022

Opened 7 Jun 2022

Feedback updated 6 Oct 2022

We asked

From 7 June to 28 June 2022, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) sought views on our proposal to designate the Palacerigg Visitor Centre as a category B listed building.   

The Visitor Centre at the Palacerigg Country Park, Cumbernauld contains a mural in the foyer by Alasdair Gray (1934⁠–⁠2019). Alasdair Gray painted the mural in 1974 having been commissioned by naturalist and Director of the Country Park, David Stephen. The theme of the mural is natural and human ecology, and it shows Scottish wildlife in an idealised countryside scene.  

Glasgow-born artist and writer Alasdair Gray is a cultural figure of national importance. Best known for his 1981 novel Lanark, he studied design and mural painting at Glasgow School of Art and was commissioned to paint murals in and around Glasgow from the 1950s until the 2010s. The mural at Palacerigg Visitor Centre is amongst the earlier surviving examples of his visual art. 

You said

We received 40 responses to the consultation, all of which were in favour of the listing.  

The majority of responses commented on Gray’s significance as an artist, author and poet and wished to see the mural protected. Many responses noted that other Gray murals had been lost and that this highlighted the increasing rarity and vulnerability of Gray’s surviving murals. Some responses emphasised the significance of the mural work as reflection of the pioneering work of naturalist, Palacerigg Country Park Warden and commissioner of the work, David Stephen. 

We received a number of responses which included personal reflections of visits to Palacerigg Country Park where the mural in the Visitor Centre was admired and appreciated. We also received some responses from individuals who knew or had met Alasdair Gray and recalled aspects of his personality and working style. 

One response raised concerns about the application of the listing to the entire Palacerigg Visitor Centre building and how this might impact future works to the building. 

We did

We considered the responses carefully and we have discussed the proposed designation further with North Lanarkshire Council. We clarified that the listing of the wider Palacerigg Visitor Centre building is intended to protect the mural which is embedded in the fabric of the building. 

We have now listed the Palacerigg Visitor Centre in Cumbernauld as a category B listed building. The listed building record is available on our Heritage Portal, where the final  Report of Handling is also available.   

Our historic environment is always changing. Listing does not prevent change, but it does allow for a structure’s special character to be taken into account when changes are proposed.   

Overview

We are proposing to list the Palacerigg Visitor Centre at the Palacerigg Country Park, Cumbernauld, which contains a mural in the foyer by Alasdair Gray (1934⁠–⁠2019). Alasdair Gray painted the mural in 1974 having been commissioned by naturalist and Director of the Country Park, David Stephen. The theme of the mural is natural and human ecology, and it shows Scottish wildlife in an idealised countryside scene. Gray lived on site at Palacerigg Country Park while painting the mural and included sketches of the surrounding wildlife in the work.

A mural depicting a countryside scene filled with wildlife including a deer

 

Glasgow-born artist and writer Alasdair Gray is a cultural figure of national importance. Best known for his 1981 novel Lanark, he studied design and mural painting at Glasgow School of Art and was commissioned to paint murals in and around Glasgow from the 1950s until the 2010s. The mural at Palacerigg Visitor Centre is amongst the earlier surviving examples of his visual art.

We have launched this public consultation to gather views on listing this building in recognition of the special architectural and historic interest of the mural. Find out more about listed buildings.

Members of the public are encouraged to send in their views and comments. Email your comments about this case or contact us via the Heritage Portal

Find out what comments we consider and what happens next in our consultation guide or watch our designations video on YouTube.