Four Acres Charitable Trust was founded in 1983 and acquired Cottiers, then Dowanhill Church, in 1984. The trust works to return important redundant Victorian buildings to meaningful use by the community and restore them in accordance with the highest conservation standards.
In Scotland some of the finest Victorian churches are no longer able to be supported by their congregations and have great art historical and townscape importance. The former Dowanhill Church, built in 1865 by William Leiper (1839-1916), is an internationally important Category ‘A’ listed building due to its decorative scheme designed by Daniel Cottier (1838-1891). The trust has established new uses in the building and now intends to restore the decoration and promote an awareness of Cottier, whose reputation as a designer extended to London and on to USA and Australia. The trust recently collaborated with Historic Scotland to produce a publication about Daniel Cottier.
Over the past five years the trust extended its activities and is working on another two notable buildings in Glasgow, Lansdowne Church and the Lion Chambers. Lansdowne Church, as well as being one of Glasgow’s most notable landmark buildings, contains fantastic stained glass by Alf Webster. In 2007 the trust set up a Fund to secure the restoration of this stained glass and promote artists and designers who worked before and after Charles Rennie Mackintosh and deserve greater recognition including both Cottier and Webster.
The trust also has an interest in another much admired but little known architect Peter MacGregor Chalmers. Using land within its ownership the trust plans to complete the historic terrace of town houses behind Cottiers on Highburgh Road in accordance with the architects original plans.
The trust works in collaboration with a number of other people and organisations including important funders. Links to some of their websites can be found on the Glasgow Heritage website.