The group of businessmen included J.B. Fleming, who owned the proposed land, Francis Newbury, the then director of the Glasgow School of Art, and Liberal Unionist MP James Parker Smith. The name St. Bride’s was chosen when the group acquired a small wooden chapel from the grounds of Douglas Castle, whose patron saint was Saint Brigit of Kildare, often known as St. Bride. In 1899, after a falling out with landowner Fleming, the congregation was forced to literally move. Finding a suitable location on Hyndland Road, the church frame was dragged by a traction engine over soaped runners before wheels were attached. Remarkably, the church was reopened the following morning, minus the spire, which had been temporarily removed so it did not damage any telephone wires during the transportation.
With the new location establish, the church was granted permanent status, which required a permanent building. Respected ecclesiastical church architect George Frederick Bodley was commissioned to design the new structure, financed by benefactress Sarah Mackie, whose husband James owned Mackie and Co., makers of White Horse whisky. Sadly, Mrs. Mackie died of a heart attack in 1907, and work on the church ceased. In 1910, a new rector, Reverend Edward Reid, was appointed, his family wealth guaranteeing the debts of the church. Inspections of the church building revealed inferior workmanship, requiring parts to be ripped down before work could commence. Along with his brothers, Reid covered the new construction costs to rebuild and enlarge the church, which they dedicated to the memory of their sister, Elizabeth, who died in 1912. The constructing took place between 1913-1914, with the new church finally consecrated on 1 February, 1915.
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.