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College of Extended Learning

Stained Glass Conservation Project

The history

Lord Byng of Vimy laid the cornerstone of Memorial Hall in 1923 dedicating the building to the memory of UNB’s fallen war heroes, those young men who made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country in World War 1.

One of the distinguishing features of Memorial Hall is the stained glass windows that grace the Gothic Revival auditorium. The stained glass windows are exceptional for their craftsmanship, beauty and size.

The windows were installed in stages shortly after Memorial Hall was completed, beginning in 1926 and ending in 1943. Each of the windows is dedicated to an important member of the UNB community and feature family crests and personal insignia, as well as images drawn from poetry, history, and science. The Rankin and Fenwick windows were dedicated by families who lost sons during the war.

The six windows lining the East and West walls of the auditorium were produced by the Robert McCausland Company of Toronto. The studio was highly regarded, known for its expertise and craftsmanship. Its artists were highly trained, many from the British Society of Master Glass Painters. Its glass production was state-of-the art, making use of the innovative technologies developed by the Tiffany Studios just south of the border. The McCausland Company founded in 1865, continues to produce stained glass works to this day.

The large multi-paneled showpiece on the South wall was produced by Clayton and Bell Company of London, England. Formed in 1885 and in business until 1993, the studio was known for the quality of its glass, the beauty of its designs, and its efficient production. They were in high demand to produce stained glass windows for the Gothic Revival churches being constructed at the turn of the 20th century. They were particularly well known for brightly coloured multiple-paneled windows like the one at Memorial Hall.

The windows

The stained glass windows of Memorial Hall are part of the cultural heritage of the city of Fredericton and the province of New Brunswick. They were featured recently in John Leroux’s book Glorious Light published by Gaspereau Press in 2011 and are featured in tourist brochures and in heritage tours of the city.

Click each link to find out more about Memorial Hall's stained glass windows:

The concerns

Over time these windows have become unstable due to the settling of the building and general deterioration from exposure to the elements. More importantly, it is the effects of the intense sunshine on these windows, exacerbated by the unvented exterior glass, that has caused a dramatic change in their condition. This is most noticeable on the east side of the building where the morning sun shines so brightly. As a result, the lead holding the pieces of glass has become unstable, and the great weight of the glass and the resulting lack of support have caused the windows to buckle. In some cases, the glass has fractured and in the case of the Fenwick window, there has been some glass lost. In addition to the stained glass itself, the external glass which protects the stained glass is badly fractured, and the sills, which provide the framework for the windows themselves, have also rotted.

The conservation

The beauty and uniqueness of the windows speak to their own intrinsic value. To that end, the highest quality professionals will be employed to carry out the conservation work. This delicate work requires the rare skills of a specialist and fortunately, Fredericton is currently the home of respected stained glass artist and conservator Ned Bowes. Ned has 37 years experience working on large restoration projects throughout North America and Barbados and has worked on the windows of most of the churches in New Brunswick. Ned has trained in the studios of the English artist Robert Hunt and apprenticed under Marc Chagall in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ned also was a partner in Shades of Light, the firm that executed and installed the Molly Bobak "Encaenia" windows in the Edwin Jacob Chapel of Sir Howard Douglas Hall. Ned has obtained the degree of "Maitre d' Vitraux" from the American Stained Glass Institute.

Made possible by

In 2018, after 2000 hours and over 2 years, the restoration was completed. The UNB Art Centre would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Province of New Brunswick’s Built Heritage Program, the University of New Brunswick, UNB Associated Alumni, the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation, the Alvin J. Shaw Trust, the City of Fredericton and many private donors. This project would not have been possible without the generosity and interest of these donors.

For more information

Marie Maltais, Director
(506) 453-4623
ARTCNTR@unb.ca
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