It was designed by famous English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also designed St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, as well as the main building of Glasgow University. It was while he was working on the latter that the church approached him to design their new building; the previous church, located on the corner of Renfield Street and St. Mary’s Lane, which had housed their congregation since 1825, was deemed too small for their growing membership. Although Scott lived to see the building finished, he passed away in 1878, and so the spire added to the original tower was designed by his son, John Oldrid Scott. During the decades leading up to the 20th Century, five new mission churches were established from St. Mary’s. The Scottish Episcopal Church Diosese of Glasgow and Galloway chose to reward the church’s growing influence by granting it Cathedral status in 1908. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Cathedral was in need of urgent repair work, including repairs to the spire and tower, as well completely reslating the roof.
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.