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Looking Back

Friday May 6

looking back: a gallant congregation

Published in May 1946, an appeal for a congregation that lost its church during the Clydebank Blitz.

 

THEY STILL HAVE ONLY A RUINED CHURCH

The Rev A. D. EUNSON, Old Kilpatrick, describes the aftermath of war in the Clydebank area.

WOULD you like to live for five years among the ruins? Would you like to pass your church every day and see only a ruined, roofless shell? On Sundays, would you like to climb a long, dark, steep stair, to find yourself in a low-roofed converted room and kitchen?

This is what membership of Ross Memorial Church, Dalmuir, means. It is the fellowship of the “church of the upper room” – but without the romance, and with only the unutterable drabness of it all for inspiration.

Such is the consequence of war. In March, 1941, the weight of the German Air Force, concentrated against six miles of Clydeside between Yoker and Old Kilpatrick, rendered 60,000 people homeless; destroyed or damaged 15 parishes of Dumbarton Presbytery; obliterated whole areas, and caused material damaged beyond computation. In this attack Ross Memorial, a lovely red sandstone building, was badly damaged, while its halls and manse were totally destroyed.

As the parish was largely a ruin, the minister was released for work elsewhere. By 1942, however, some homes had been repaired, and some of the congregation had returned. Naturally they wanted their church.

Undaunted by the lack of accommodation, they obtained a converted house in a tenement property used by the Spiritualist Church. For months the services were conducted by the Elders; the Woman’s Guild met when it could; a school classroom eventually was obtained for youth work.

No Return!

Words cannot convey the grimness of the scene of this venture – on all sides ruin and dereliction. But they kept their faith and waited.

In time they applied to have their church repaired. The application was refused. Clydebank Town Council intimated their need of the site for industrial development.

There followed three years of negotiations between Presbytery and Council. Eventually the Church was offered a guarantee of undisturbed tenure of their site for ten years. Thereafter, at one year’s notice, the church must be removed at its own expense, and without compensation. As this would involved eventual heavy loss, another site has been sought – so far without success.

Of the whole unhappy situation, the site is the most tragic part. One the main road, bounded on the west by a new housing scheme of several hundred houses, containing many of their own members, this Church has a unique opportunity of fulfilling its historic parochial mission, if it is allowed to remain.

Help, however, is now on the way. A hut has been purchased, and a site cleared for it beside the ruined church. A Parish Sister has commenced work in the new area. Permission to call a minister has been given.

And so they face the unknown. For this gallant congregation a solution must be found, which only the united voice of the whole Church can obtain.

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From Wikipedia: “A replacement [church] was built in Kimberley Street in Mountblow in the early 1950s and renamed Dalmuir Overtoun. It united with Dalmuir Parish Church in 1976 .... Dalmuir Overtoun then united with the Old Kilpatrick Barclay in 1990 to become Dalmuir Barclay Church and a new church was built close to the site of the original Ross Memorial on Dumbarton Road, now at 1 Durban Avenue.”

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