Welcome to Springburn Parish Church

Sighthill Church

The next oldest church/congregation in Springburn was Sighthill. It began as a missionary outreach from the Tron Free Church; that which William Collins the book publisher had joined after the disruption of' 1843. In the history of Springburn we are aware of the involvement of William Collins in building twenty new churches in Glasgow, intended to take five years. Springburn (Parish) was the last, and completed in 1843. Was it the hope of William Collins that it be secured for the Free Church? It was not to be so, but did he still have his mind set in Springburn at his death? We don't know, and can only guess. It was from his church (Tron Free Church) that the outreach took place, and there was a continuing interest from the Collins family, who installed a stained glass window in his memory. It was his son who laid the foundation stone.
The first meeting of the congregation was held in the Board Room of the Caledonian Railway works at St. Rollox. The first minute extends an appreciation of its use to the Caledonian Railway authorities for giving them hospitality. The congregation worshipped first in a hall belonging to the Caledonian Railway Company, and George Hanson was appointed as Missionary in 1869. It was not long before a hall of their own was built in Mollinsburn Street, and opened in 1870. The cause achieved the status of a congregation in 1871. There must have been a tireless energy and will in those days, for it was only in the following year that the Church itself was built and opened on 8th September 1872, the memorial stone laid in 1871 by William Collins.
In 1872 George Hanson was ordained and became the first minister until 1912, This became known as Sighthill Free Church, later to become Sighthill United Free Church, until the "big" union of 1929.
In 1935, a "great renovation scheme" had been carried out at a cost of £1000. We might laugh at that figure today, but it was able to do a lot in those days, and the fund raising must have taken considerable effort, A new heating system in the hall; an extra heating pipe in the side galleries of the church; painted and decorated; oak chairs on the choir platform; new carpets; silver offering plates; the hall renovated and enlarged; the Session Room made into a stage/platform, and a new floor.
In the previous year, a new hall had been opened and named in memory of William Keir. This new hall was previously a bakery. In 1927 the minister, the Rev. William Keir heard through a local banker that the property, comprising what was Miller's bakery, and the baker's house upstairs, was coming on the market. The property was eventually purchased.
Nothing was done to this during the ministry of the Rev. Henry Aitchison. What its use was is not known, but when the Rev. William Heron became the minister in 1931, steps were taken to clear the debt, provide furnishings for hall, kitchen and church officers house, and was opened on the 24th March 1934.
It seems that beyond the church's neighbours, the Episcopal Church, the congregation owned property, which was a stable, and previously possibly, a byre used by cattle that grazed on Paddy Orr's Park. This was sold, and it seems that it was demolished and a garage/ workshop built on the site. This is still in use. Like most of the other churches, it was eventually burned down in 1981.
© Frank Myers 1997

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