Welcome to Springburn Parish Church

The Present Springburn Church

Negotiations for the possibility of a new church began at the end of 1972 and the beginning of 1973, and conversations were held with the various congregations to consider the proposals by the then Corporation of Glasgow. There was a good strength of feeling on the matter of working together, and the congregations made a firm commitment to the proposed union by 9th March 1973.
On the 11th October 1973 a proposal to the Corporation suggested that the Johnston site be developed by a commercial undertaking to incorporate a church development. In reply, the Corporation suggested that as Sighthill would come under compulsory purchase, the money from Sighthill be used to repair the Johnston building. This was now put before a joint meeting of office-bearers, but this was rejected, with a firm suggestion that the Johnston site be developed with the erection of a new building, with Wellfield and Springburn North Hill offered as a cash adjustment. On the 14th December, the Corporation came with a new proposal that the church consider a new site for a new church at Atlas Street/Springburn Road. By the 15th February 1974 progress had so been made that a draft basis of union was discussed on the understanding that a new building be erected at Atlas Street.
Steps were taken to provide plans for a new church, encouraged by the appropriate departments of the Corporation. The finance was to come from a compulsory purchase order, and a token payment for the remaining buildings, on the understanding that the sum of £40,000 be paid to the Baptist Church to renovate the Wellfield halls. After much negotiation, and anticipation as the plans for the new church developed, word was received on December 18th 1976 that owing to the credit squeeze, the Council were not proceeding with the scheme for the new church and they "apologised for any inconvenience that might have been caused."
Litigation was considered, but it was thought that the delay would not be acceptable, and negotiations were entered with the District Council for compensation. A sum of £360,000 was suggested, but was refused by the office-bearers and fresh negotiations took place. Encouraged by the M.P. for Springburn, Mr. Michael Martin, who made the arrangement, a meeting was held with the Planning Committee of the Council. A deputation, led by the Rev. Frank Myers and the Rev. Dr. Andrew Herron (Presbytery Clerk) met with the Committee, and as a result, an increased sum of £400,000 plus interest on this sum dated back to 20th October 1978. This was accepted by the office- bearers in July 1979. There was a further sum of money which came from the sale of' a piece of ground from Wellfield, and £50,000 from the sale of the Johnston site, further augmented by the sale of fittings from the various buildings.
It was obvious that the original plans were not possible. The provisional estimate for such a building was near to one million pounds. But what was to be done? One idea was to renovate one of' the existing buildings, but which? None of them were in a particularly advantageous position, and Johnston Church had by then, been gutted by fire. It was at the suggestion of an Elder (Mr. James Paterson, whose sister resided in Johnston), that the office-bearers went to St. Andrew's Church, Johnstone to look at a system building by Messrs Stocks of Leeds. What they saw convinced them of the possibilities for Springburn, and negotiations were opened between the congregations, Stocks of Leeds, and the Planning Department of the District Council. The Planning Department were not prepared to accept a "system" building, as the eaves were only 14 feet high, and who were concerned with the appearance of Springburn in relation to the Shopping Centre and the Health Centre. After much negotiation, the Department were prepared to accept a design by Stocks of a building using traditional methods, with eaves 21 feet high. It was accepted that the halls could be built using the "system" building of pre-cast concrete slabs, with a brick facing. The quoted price for this, the shell only, was £355,422.00
The present building is the result, and it is felt that, despite being a modest structure, a building has been erected worthy of the congregation of the Church of Scotland in Springburn. Throughout the whole building period, not only was there the full cooperation with Messrs Stocks, but the generous oversight of the Clerk of Works, Mr. Archie Campbell FICW, MFB, AMRSH who was a member of the congregation. We were also very fortunate to have the services of Mr. Neil Jack ARIBA of Messrs Miller and Black to design the interior.
A building Committee was formed which consisted of Rev. Frank Myers Mr. Archie Campbell Mr. Andrew Watson, Mr. John McKee Miss. Helen Smith Mr. Peter Russell, Mr. Duncan MacColl (Session Clerk)
Never could one wish for a more harmonious and hard working committee, who gave much time and imagination as they carried out their task.
A union of the congregations was effected, and worship was concentrated in the former North Hill Church (the North Church) and the former Sighthill Church (the South Church). Once work was commenced on the new building at Atlas Street, the North Church was then closed down, and worship and activities were concentrated in the South Church.
Saturday the 13th September was a sunny day. It was the day of the stone laying. The Salvation Army Band was good enough to provide music. The Moderator of the Presbytery, the Rev. Sam. Aitkenhead, performed the ceremony of laying the foundation stone.
The day of the opening was also a beautiful day. The Church was overflowing as the Moderator of the General Assembly (Rt. Rev. William Johnston, D.D.) preached the sermon, and who dedicated the building to the Glory of Cod. We were glad to welcome the Lord Provost, and the M.P. for Springburn and other leading members of the community.
A glorious display of flowers were provided, free of charge, by Messrs John Allen of Springburn, whilst a cake to celebrate the event was provided by Allens the Bakers.
The following items of furniture have been included in the building, all of which were selected by the architect who was given a free hand in either using existing furnishings, or buying new. He chose to use that which already existed. The pulpit and pews came Wellfield; the font from Springburn North Mill, along with a silver bowl; the communion table and lectern from Sighthill, and the table in the front vestibule from Johnston; the praise boards from Wellfield. The cross was made by a person known to Mr. Andrew Watson, who was responsible to see that made and placed on the wall. There were a number of stained glass windows available, and the committee made a through investigation, and decided to choose the windows now installed enriching it and providing an 'atmosphere'. The angels were originally placed in a window above the organ, behind the pulpit of Wellfield, and the two windows at the back, from Springburn North Hill. As it was the policy not to have any memorial names in the building, the dedicatory names were removed from these latter two windows.
These were originally a memorial to the Rev. Dugald Clark, and illustrate two episodes in the life of Peter. In one, Peter is seen in the house of Cornelius, and is speaking the words of the text "Of a truth I perceive that Cod is no respecter of persons." The embroidery on Peter's robe represents the Keys of Heaven, and the carving on the pillars behind is a decorative treatment of the Lily, symbolising purity, in the corner on the left is a lighted lantern typifying the Light of the World.
The other window shows Peter and John standing at the Gate Beautiful of the Temple. John looks down pityingly at the lame beggar, and Peter speaks the words of the text "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give thee." The embroidery on Peter's robe is again the Keys of Heaven. On the pillars the carving is the Vine, representing Christ's words "I am the True Vine." in the border on the right are the seven candles, as seen in the vision of St. John.
The Celtic border composed of the thorn, running round both windows, is meant to perpetuate Mr. Clark a memory as a true Celt. The emblems in the four top corners are the signs of the four Evangelists, being from left to right, the Angel of St. Matthew, the Lion of St. Mark, the Bull of St. Luke, and the Eagle of' St. John. The small objects wrought into the border above the arches are from left to right, the Sword and Scales of Justice, the Glasgow Coat of Arms, the flaming torch of Learning, illustrating Mr. Clark s great interest in Education, and the little Church at Glassary, Mr. Clark's first charge. The little panels on either side of the texts are from left to right, the Paisley Coat of arms, Paisley, being his birthplace, the badge of Glaspow High School, where he received part of his education, the Arms of Glasgow University his Alma Mater, and the crest of the Seaforth Highlanders with whom he served as a chaplain. The panels across the base represent the Three Gardens on which Mr Clark had preached from the text "In the place where he was crucified there was a Garden." On the left is the Garden of Eden, and on the extreme right the Garden of Gethsemane. The two central base panels represent the Garden of the Resurrection,
Those two window were created by the well known Glasgow artist, William Sutherland and are fine examples of his earlier work.
The Shepherd and the Lamb in the Lounge was above the front doors of Wellfield, while the text carved in hard wood was in the Memorial Chapel of Springburn North Hill.
Windows from the buildings which were surplus to requirements, were passed to the Peoples Palace for safe keeping.
Sadly, whilst there is furniture from all the original buildings (which was not intentional), there is nothing from Cowlairs. Cowlairs was the first building to be closed after the union, and on the understanding that the new church would have completely new furnishings, the Cowlairs office-bearers decided to dispose of all they had. Expediency and financial considerations overturned that decision, although the architect was given 'carte blanche' to buy either new or use the existing fittings. The architect, looking at what was available either new or existing, realised that the quality that was available, was better than that which could be purchased, and opted to use what he could.
© Frank Myers 1997

15TH MAY 1981
Right Rev. William B. Johnston, M.A., B.D., D.D., D.Litt. Moderator of the General Assembly
Very Rev. Andrew Herron, D.D., LL.D. Former Moderator of the General Assembly Former Presbytery Clerk One time Assistant Minister, Springburn Hill Parish Church.
Rev. Sam. M. Aitkenhead, Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery Minister of New Cathcart Parish Church
Rev. Frank Myers, B.A. Minister of Springburn Parish Church
(The Rev. A. Sheila Blount, Associate, was not able to be present through illness)
Mr. Duncan C. MacColl, Session Clerk
Miss Olive Horsham, Organist.
Rt. Hon. Dr. Michael Kelly Lord Provost of Glasgow
Mr. Michael Martin, Member of Parliament for Springburn
Mr. R. B. Clarke Representative of Stocks Bros. Builder
Mr Archie Campbell F.I.C.W, M.F.B., A.M.R.C.H., Clerk of Works
© Frank Myers 1997

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