The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, a Catholic woman’s society that help the poor, operated a children’s refuge and hostel in Whitevale Street, just north of the school. The parish purchased the land and commissioned a new church be built upon it. It was designed by Jack Antonio Coia, of architecture firm Gillespie, Kidd and Coia. Jack was the son of sculptor Giovanni Coia, who emigrated to Glasgow to join his other family members. Giovanni opened a number of ice-cream shops in Glasgow’s East End, while inspiring his children in art; as well as Jack, his other son Emilio was a famous caricature artist for newspapers. Coai’s design inspired one of the finest Romanesque churches to be built in Glasgow, officially opening on the 17th December, 1933. It features large circular rose window and a curved main hall. Dennistoun’s dense population had boomed in the decades prior to this, so it had room to seat 1,400 people. Later it was decided to divide the parish up, with the establishment of St. Nicolas’s and also Our Lady of Good Counsel. In present day, St Anne’s has become a centre for Glasgow’s Polish community.
Their original church existed on David Street in the Gallowgate area, converting an old stable for tram horses into a presbytery and eventually a primary school. By 1930 the number of parishioners had grown considerably, as had their families, which required the school to be extended. On the advice of Archbishop Donald MacKintosh, Father John Fleming, the Parish’s fourth priest, expanded the school into the church itself, while they sought a new building. This is the current site of St Anne’s Roman Catholic Primary School.
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.