The church was recently renovated over the course of two years, with work completed in April 2011, restoring the church to its former glory and bringing a new light to the space, as well as the adjoining cloister garden, which houses a number of sculptures and artwork.
It was primarily built as demand for Roman Catholic places of worship grew with an influx of Irish immigrants during the Industrial Revolution. Although dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, it was also seen as a nod to the Reverend Andrew Scott, whose decision it was to construct the church in its current location. This was a time when the Catholic emancipation was in its infancy, and Catholics were still subject to a tyranny of rules that barred their religious practices. While the church was seen as a symbol of the reintroduction of Catholicism in Glasgow, it was not without its troubles; construction work was delayed by vandalism and sabotage.
WHERE? On a traffic island in the Gorbals district, near the start of Caledonia Road, where Cathcart Road and Laurieston Road diverge.
Standing tall, a proud survivor of the ages, Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s church rests on an odd traffic island that marks the former junction between Caledonia Rd and Cathcart Rd.
Thought to be Thomson’s first stab at designing a church, the building was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1965. Although now a Grade A-listed building, the church has lay derelict and abandoned for half a century, watching as the city around it has changed, but with a certain stubborn Scottish pride serving as a reminder of a grander past.
Across from the church on a small traffic island sits the box-like No.8 Corporation Weigh Office, which acted as a stop point for vehicles to be weighed, back in the days when they were not so frequent on the roads.