Tributes pour in for Cumbernauld town artist Brian Miller

Brian Miller
Brian Miller

TRIBUTES are being paid to the man who brought an artist’s touch to the New Town - and made a massive contribution to the cultural life of Cumbernauld.

Brian Miller who was employed as town artist by Cumbernauld Development Corporation passed away last Thursday in Strathcarron Hospice after a short illness. He was 76.

Although Brian brought a host of individualistic sculptures and murals to the town, his talents extended beyond them.

He was a prolific writer who wrote more than 30 plays which were performed at Cumbernauld Theatre. He was a founding member of its earliest incarnation, the Cottage Theatre - and even helped to construct the the venue himself.

The Riddrie-born man who had worked as a technical illustrator for Rolls Royce before coming to Cumbernauld had a passion for abstract art, science fiction, cinema and jazz.

He was THE go-to source on the history of the town and provided an insight on this to millions when he appeared on Channel 4’s Demolition programme, along with his wife of 54 years, Mae. The News and Chronicle has received a number of tributes to Brian - whose legacy of art, sculpture and the written word will always live on in Cumbernauld.

The Artistic director of Cumbernauld Theatre Ed Robson said: “Brian was an extraordinary man, a wonderful artist, a generous spirit, an intelligent and perceptive mind, a caring and gentle family man. His passing is a cause of great sadness to all who knew him and his contribution to Cumbernauld Theatre has been immense.

“Since the early 1960s, when Brian and other volunteers literally built this theatre - carrying the very stones with which to repair the cottage theatre walls, fixing slates to roofs, and fitting carpets which meant our town could actually have a theatre. His contribution to the arts in Cumbernauld has been one of fierce passion and absolute devotion,” he said.

Environmental artist Neville Rae, who hails from Cumbernauld but is now based in Edinburgh, said that Brian proved to be a huge help to him in his own work - which has often put the focus on Cumbernauld.

“As a young student at Glasgow School of Art, Brian gave me so much energy and belief in what I was trying to achieve. Up until the last few months he was also sending interesting emails and would always be delighted to help with any odd requests I had.

“From his brightly coloured murals to his concrete reliefs, Brian played a huge part in shaping the creative and cultural fabric of Cumbernauld. “

Neville added: “The town has lost one of his great characters. He will be sadly missed.”

Local MP Gregg McClymont said that he had many happy memories of Brian’s creations.

“As a new town boy growing up in Cumbernauld in the 1980s I was fascinated by the weird and wonderful murals and sculptures which I saw all around me and which made Cumbernauld unique,” he said.

“Only later did I found out that the man responsible for so much of this art was Brian Miller. The Cumbernauld I grew up in owes Brian Miller a great debt and I’m very sorry to hear of his death,” he added.

Brian is survived by Mae, son Kevin, daughter Kirsty and three grandchildren, Vigo, Mondo and Gus.

His funeral service will take place next Tuesday (August 23) at Falkirk Crematorium at 11am.