Father Gallagher originally named his church St. Peter’s, which was the third oldest Catholic Church in Glasgow, after the mother church, St Andrew’s Cathedral, and St. Mary’s in Calton. It was designed and built by Glasgow architect Charles Gordon O’Neill, shortly before he emigrated to Otago, New Zealand. With the dawn of the 20th century and influx of workers to the area, another church, also known as St. Peter’s, was built in 1903 on Hyndland Street, with the original, smaller building on Partick Bridge Street serving as an extension. During World War II, exiled Polish soldiers needed a church, and so St. Peter’s became known as a Polish Church. Shortly after the end of the war, the Archdiocese split the parishes on Dumbarton Road, and so the original church building was changed to St. Simon’s, the original name of the Apostle Peter.
In 1956, Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein, along with their boss Jack Coia, carried out a number of internal renovations of the church for their firm, Gillespie, Kidd and Coia.
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.