Cumbernauld woman pens landmark book

An architecture expert whose interest was shaped by growing up in Cumbernauld has just published a historic guide to a controversial building.

Wednesday, 4th January 2017, 3:42 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:40 pm
Picture Copyright Historic Environnment Scotland

Diane Watters (49) who grew up in Kildrum’s Clouden Road has just penned the history of Scotland’s most famous Modernist ruin – St Peter’s seminary in Cardross – 50 years since the building opened.

The former Cumbernauld High School pupil is an architectural historian at Historic Environment Scotland – and specialises in the built environment of the 20th century.

Diane now lives in a very different ‘new town’ – the historic Edinburgh version – with her husband and two daughters.

Like Sacred Heart Parish church, Cumbernauld College – and Kildrum Primary- another school which Diane attended – the seminary was designed by the cutting edge Glasgow architectural firm Gillespie, Kidd and Coia.

Diane said: “The book traces the way in which religious and architectural change significantly impacted and shaped the story of St Peter’s.”

She believes that her eye become attuned to the finer points of buildings in her midst because of her New Town roots – and the sense of place this engendered.

Diane said: “Looking back at my childhood, I felt strongly that I was growing up in a carefully constructed and safe environment. There was a real spirit of optimism and a strong community ethos in the town.

“My own childhood surroundings were later reinforced in a good way when I went to university to study Modern Movement and architecture and pursue my career as an architectural historian.

“Of course I have positive and negative feelings about the place I grew up in but as a historian, I try to be more dispassionate and examine when why and how things happened.

“Having studied my home town and lived in it, I simply don’t recognise the popular narrative of Cumbernauld as a deprived and failed town.”

The book is available from HES website and bookshops priced £30.