In the Beginning. The original church building in 1858 was in Knightswood Road, but by the turn of the century the Kirk Session had decided to move nearer to most of the congregation.
The New Site. In June 1902 the present location was selected within the then developing suburb of Jordanhill. The corner site on the corner of Woodend Drive and what is now called Munro Road (named after the former Jordanhill Church minister Rev G D R Munro) was feued to the congregation for a peppercorn rent by the local landowner Mrs Emma Parker Smith.
The Architect. The highly-regarded Glasgow architect James Miller was engaged to draw up the plans for the new church building. Miller was also responsible for the design of several other churches in Glasgow, of which Linthouse is the only other one still in regular use.
In a career of over fifty years James Miller left his imprint on Glasgow through a series of buildings of remarkable variety, including public and commercial office buildings, banks, factories, hospitals, schools, churches and private houses. In Glasgow these include the Royal Infirmary, the Royal Scottish Automobile Club (now the Blythswood Hotel), and the headquarters of the Union Bank in St Vincent Street and the Commercial Bank in Bothwell Street.
Miller was also associated with the Central Station, Botanic Gardens Station and the iconic Subway building in St Enoch Square. Elsewhere in Scotland he designed the magnificent Turnberry Hotel, where one of the restaurants was called the James Miller Room, the distinctive Wemyss Bay Station and many of the stations along the West Highland Line.
Construction and Opening. The construction of the new church building began in March 1903, and it is believed that the red sandstone came from a railway cutting near Wemyss Bay Station. The memorial stone was laid on Saturday 8th October 1904 and the service of dedication was on 8th June 1905, with the first morning and evening services of the congregation following three days later.
The Cost. Session records reveal that the total cost of the original building and its furnishings was £4,134 7s 3p, of which the mostly working class congregation raised the astonishing sum of almost £3,000. That is the equivalent of almost £300,000 in today’s money.
The New Building. The church of 1905 was much smaller than it is today. The west aisle was not in the original plans, and available funds did not allow the provision of a gallery. The seating accommodation in the two central sections of pews was estimated to be 460. The pulpit was erected in memory of Rev. Munro, with the bible presented by the Sabbath School children. The harmonium donated to the previous church in 1892 was transferred to the new sanctuary, but although it was in poor condition money was not available to replace it.
The Great War. The period from 1905 to 1914 was one of steady progress, with membership increasing as more houses were built in Woodend and Southbrae Drives. By 1912 plans had been prepared for a further expansion of the church and the provision of proper halls accommodation, but due to the outbreak of war these were postponed. The Roll of Honour contains 66 names of men who served in the war, eight of whom gave their lives.
Memorial Hall. In February 1919 it was resolved that a hall should be built as a memorial to those who had fallen, and this was opened on 8th October 1922. The cost of the new hall was £2,256.
Expansion of Sanctuary. A year later the west aisle of the church and the gallery were finally constructed, with the architectural plans again designed by James Miller. The total cost of the extension was £5,995.
New Organ. At the same time a new organ was installed, having been purchased for £800 from a private owner in Rhu where the organ had been in his home. The total cost, including dismantling, storing and rebuilding came to £1,125.
The dedication service of the aisle, gallery and organ took place on 7th September 1923
Benefit of Improved Facilities. The next fifteen years were a period of steady and sustained growth, with the congregation increasing to over 500 as the housing development in the surrounding neighbourhood was completed, and many youth organisations and adult groups thrived as they enjoyed the benefits of the new hall and improved facilities.
Second World War. The outbreak of war in September 1939 caused severe practical difficulties and disruption to church activities, and the building suffered some bomb damage during the 1941 blitz, as did local houses. The Memorial Hall served as a temporary home for refugees from the Channel Islands, and then became a canteen and recreation centre for the troops stationed in the nearby Jordanhill College School.
Memorial Windows. Once again many of the young men and women of the church left on war service, of whom seven made the ultimate sacrifice. One civilian member also died from enemy action. In April 1946 the memorial windows on the north wall of the Church were unveiled and dedicated, with one of the two on the right for those members who gave their lives and the other in gratitude for those who returned. The centre window is in memory of Rev, Dr. A D Livingstone, and the two on the left are in memory of Rev G.D.R. Munro and of Mrs Parker Smith, the original donor of the site on which the church stands.
Church Bell. In 1949 the church bell was gifted by James Watson, dedicated in memory of his parents James and Christina Watson. The bell was cast in a specialist foundry in Loughborough, Leicestershire, and is 3’2” in diameter and weighs 9.75 cwt. Its note is between G and G#, and is electrically controlled from a switch in the rear vestibule.
Hall Extension. By the time the Church’s centenary was celebrated in 1954 the congregation had risen to 900, and this brought increasing pressure on the accommodation in church and halls. To mark the centenary it was therefore decided to extend the halls, and this was completed by September 1958 at a cost of £9,500.
Major Upgrade of Premises. By the early 1960s the Church’s membership had soared to a record level of 1,167, and there were 343 children on the Sunday School Roll. Once again there was pressure on accommodation and in 1970 there was a major upgrade and extension of the halls and other rooms. All the back premises were substantially re-designed and rebuilt, with five new rooms named after former ministers Munro, Livingstone, Allison, and Cockburn, with the Orr room following later.
More Recent Improvements. In 1989 an intrepid band of volunteers set to work stripping several layers of dark varnish from all the church pews, revealing their original construction of Douglas fir. New red carpeting was laid in the vestibule and aisles and on the chancel, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for a year of special church events during Glasgow’s Year of Culture.
The oil-fuelled central heating system was replaced with a modern gas-operated system, and the control system for the central heating was also modernised.
In 1995 the kitchen was extensively re-designed and fitted with modern equipment, allowing more extensive catering for social events and later for the successful Wednesday Church Cafe. The Memorial Hall was also re-decorated and equipped with new furnishings.
Major repairs and renovation of the church stonework, windows and roof will be carried out over the next two years, partly funded by Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.