In July of last year, staff from Northlight Heritage undertook a rapid standing building survey of two rooms at the Fyfe and Mcgrouther building, 280 Kennedy Street, Glasgow. The work was undertaken on behalf of Glasgow Museums, following the discovery of a section of unusual relief decorated cast iron cornicing in two rooms on the first floor of the building. It was clear that the decorated cast iron cornicing dated to the latter half of the 19th century, when the building was the Sun Foundry, constructed in 1871.
The cast iron work used as cornicing comprised three sections. The upper trim consisted of a long rectangular section of cast iron with grooved and flower decoration. This section was bolted to the wooden beams in the ceiling. The main central concave section of cornicing slotted into this piece and was bolted in place. The acanthus leaf motif found on the main panel was cast separately and bolted on to the main section. The lower wall trim consisted of rectangular sections of cast iron with a bossed motif and upper and lower roll. Similar to the upper trim, it was bolted to the wooden frame of the wall and the main section of decorative cast iron slotted into the upper edge of the trim and was bolted into place. The main weight was thus distributed down through the wall.
During the course of historical research conducted in relation to the survey, it became clear the sections of cast iron work were from a Sun Foundry design and cast of a bandstand facia, rather than having been purposefully made as cornicing. The 'cornice' found mounted around the ceiling of the former foundry was identified by Dr David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Scotland, as the facia for 'Bandstand 1', one of around ten bandstand 'patterns' designed by the foundry. The best known and best preserved example of Bandstand 1 can be found in Hamilton Park, Bermuda. The bandstand was commissioned by the Town Council of Bermuda to celebrate the 1887 Jubilee and was shipped to the island in prefabricated pieces in 1887 with construction work being completed the following year.
Although the metal pieces were galvanised, prolonged exposure to the salt water air of the islands took its toll and by the twenty-first century the bandstand was corroded and in need of urgent repair. The bandstand was surveyed by conservation experts in 2007 and then dismantled and shipped back to Scotland for conservation at Charles Laing & Sons foundry in Edinburgh before being re-erected and rededicated in 2011.
Following the survey, sections of the cast iron cornicing was recovered by Glasgow Museums, and will be retained at the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre at Nitshill.