Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Historic glass and glazing conservation

Learn about the physical nature of historic glass and glazing, its significance in Scotland's historic buildings and how it interacts with these structures.



Download a prospectus for more information on the diploma and short courses.

Temp prospectus link

Study time

Taught:19.5 hours

Self-study:28.5 hours


As a stand-alone short course:£405

A historic, stained glass window

Explore a range of issues associated with the manufacture, use and conservation of plain and decorative glass and traditional glazing systems in Scotland’s historic built environment.

What you'll learn

Get a historic overview of these materials, for their early beginnings in the Roman period and early glass making industries dating in early 17th century Scottish towns, to technological advancements and innovation in their manufacture today.

Study the science of glass manufacture, its composition - silica, lime and soda - and its physical properties. Learn how to carry out archival research in order to identify the artist, craftsman or studio responsible for the original work and establish the cultural significance of the work or site.

Learn current conservation repair principles and how to undertake appropriate repairs including:

  • initial survey and documentation
  • assessment of fabric condition
  • diagnosis of the causes of defects, deterioration or mechanical failure
  • specification
  • procurement
  • on-site repair of existing or installation of new material

Everything you learn on this course will be in the context of current principles of conservation best practice.

Topics covered

  • History and development of historic glass and glazing
  • Value of historic glass and glazing
  • Range of uses
  • Types of glass and glazing
  • Glassmaking process
  • Characteristics and properties
  • Decay mechanisms
  • Repaire and conservation techniques
  • Replacing elements
  • Health and safety and site practice

Course content

Hands-on workshop/lab activities

This course is taught by national and international experts, through a mixture of lectures, hands-on experience, and site visits.

Potential site visits

  • Lansdowne Parish Church
  • Cottier Theatre, Glasgow
  • Scottish National War Memorial
  • St Mary’s Chapel (Edinburgh Castle)
  • Newhailes House
  • Musselburgh
  • Hall of Heroes
  • Wallace Monument
  • Alloa Glass Cone


Short courses are not formally assessed. Students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course. Anyone looking for a formal qualification can study our full diploma course or separate units.

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