Portals into Rutherglen

By Rhys Williams

An eclectic stained glass panel has been unveiled in what was once a very busy 1920’s chemist, as Arts Rutherglen open’s the latest installment to their ‘Portals into Rutherglen’ project.

Portal number three pays homage to the old chemist at 113 Main St Rutherglen, which first opened in 1926 by Robert James Harvey, who also ran a dental surgery in the backroom. His son, Robert Stewart Harvey, soon took over to allow his father to focus on his dentistry.

Brian and Trish Blackie purchased the shop in 1967, preserving its old world interior of cedar display cases and draws and coloured chemist bottles, where Brian practiced being a ‘bush pharmacist.’ 

Brian watched the fashions of pharmacy come and go while new drugs and new regulations where perpetually introduced, as the fight to preserve the ideals of pharmacy were ongoing.

The shop was handed over to the Miegel family in 2006, who eventually moved the pharmacy across the road.

Chiltern glass artist Hilton Newitt constructed the artwork, titling it ‘mothers little helpers’ – which depicts various unusual drugs that have been used over time along with traditional chemist scales that mirror the original leadlight panels that are still above the main window.

“Arts Rutherglen is so appreciative of Hilton’s skills in stained glass and etching,” Arts Rutherglen public officer, Irena Webster said.

“A bit of fun has been put into the design of this portal and we’re really happy with the end result.”

Portals into Rutherglen is a unique project that’s been brightening up the doors and windows of Main Street with contemporary art that reflects the towns rich history.

Along with the stained glass panel, the project has seen the completion of a sculpture and two murals with two more art works in the pipeline and four on the waiting list.