Glasgow Fifth Circuit - Whiteinch
Transcription of Article in the Christian Messenger
Although for most purposes Whiteinch comes under the jurisdiction of the Patrick Burgh Commissioners, it really forms part of Greater Glasgow, and is in most intimate touch with all that concerns the life and activities of the “Second City of the Empire.” Whiteinch was originally, as its name implies, and island of the river, and belonged to the Archbishop of Glasgow. In 1603 King James VI. Granted it to Stewart of Rosland, one of his chamber men, the rent to be four lib and sixty threaves of straw, and one hundred stones of hay whenever the king shall lodge within the castle and city of Glasgow for forty days. In the middle of the last century the whole area was raised in level and doubled in value by the Clyde Trustees, who obtained permission to deposit on it the mud dredged from the river bottom.
Splendidly situated on the banks of the Clyde, its growing population finds access to the city a cheap and easy matter. Its four miles – counting from the centre of Glasgow to Whitechurch terminus – can be traversed for the trifling sum of three-halfpence in any of the Corporation cars which run at intervals of about every two minutes or thereabouts. The story of its industrial development reads like a romance. Fourteen ot fifteen years ago green fields and acres of corn and vegetables were to be seen where now there is an endless succession of streets, filled for the most part with houses of the tenement order, three and four storeys high. Thousands of men, young women and boys find employment in the immediate neighbourhood. Platers, riviters, joiners, caulkers can be seen in hundreds going to the ship-yards, where vessels of the largest, as well as the smallest, capacity are built. Early on each week-day morning crowds of girls are to be found crossing the ferry or taking the “subway” to Govan, where employment in the shape of boot-making, paper bag making, biscuit-making, jam-making, is found in the Scottish wholesale co-operative factories. Motor-car factories, iron-works, and other trades offer great opportunities to the workers residing in the neighbourhood. The great sewing-machine manufacturing firm of Singer have their premises about three miles west of Whiteinch, where it is said there are from 8,000 to 10,000 persons employed. One of the most interesting physical features of Whiteinch is the “fossil grove.” Situated in Victoria Park, its wonderful sandstone trees are full of absorbing interest to the geologist and sightseer generally, and lectures are given at intervals by Professors from the adjacent university to those of the students interested in this absorbing branch of study. Immediately adjoining Whiteinch is Scotstoun, a rapidly developing town where self-contained cottages on the English villa plan have been erected in large numbers. These find especial favour with the workman from over the border who has come to reside in this locality. He deems them in every way preferable to the “flats.”
The Whiteinch Church stands on the boundary-line of the two districts named, and so serves the population of each. Its history is one worthy to rank with that of the most romantic of our Churches, proving, as it does, that where there is initiative, daring, faith and energy, primitive Methodism can win its way under any conditions, and render magnificent service in building up the kingdom of God. In the autumn of 1893 the attention of Mr. Geo. Green, one of the most prominent laymen in Scotland, and destined to occupy the Vice-President’s chair, was called to the condition of things in connection with a little wood-built structure in Whiteinch, where meetings of an evangelistic character had for some time been carried on by Councillor C. Jacks, a local lawyer. Great blessing had attended these services. There are many in the district to-day who owe their redemption from drunken-ness and other forms of sin, humanly speaking, to their association with the wooden mission-hall. It was the only place in the locality where an aggressive evangelism was to be found, and as the population was increasing, it was evident that it would be nothing short of a calamity if the services were to be discontinued and the congregation scattered..
In the home of Mr. Green were two English serving-maids, who were in the habit of attending these simple but hearty and effective Gospel meetings. On returning from worship one Sunday evening they informed Mrs. Green that the lawyer, who had carried on the work up to that time, had intimated to the congregation that their meeting-place would, in all probability, in the near future be closed and sold. The illness of his wife made it absolutely necessary that he should remove to some other district, hence the decision that seemed to seal the doom of the only Sabbath evening evangelistic service in the neighbourhood. Providence, however, decreed that not only should the mission-hall not be closed, but that it should enter on a wider sphere of usefulness and be the spiritual birthplace of many more sons of the men. On hearing the news Mr. Green felt that it would be a lasting disgrace if the meetings, which had been productive of such blessing, should be discontinued, and having already formed the acquaintance of Councillor Jacks, an interview was arranged with the idea of saving the work from an inglorious end. Our friend at first suggested that it should be worked under the advice of a local committee, but as that did not seem very practicable, Mr. Green entered into negotiations for the purchase of the hall, and for a sum of £100 the building, capable of seating 350 persons, passed into his hands. Mr. Thos. Robinson, of Paisley, and the Rev. J.J. Lawrence, then in charge of the Paisley Circuit, were invited to inspect the place. They agreed with Mr. Green that it offered a splendid opportunity for establishing a Primitive Methodist Church. Representations were made to the Missionary Committee, with the result that Whiteinch Mission was added to the list of Connexional stations, and placed in charge of the Rev. A. Bage.
One cannot help but call attention to the remarkable fact that in places so widely apart as London and Glasgow a Primitive Methodist local preacher has been used of God to create vigorous primitive Methodist Churches in districts in which we had previously no standing whatever, and it would not be wide of the mark to say that in no instance has the reward been richer or more permanent than in the case of Whiteinch. In the course of twelve-and-a-half years there has been built up a progressive Church with a membership of 200 and a Sunday school with 350 scholars on the roll.
Special mention ought to be made of the yeoman service rendered in this corner of the vineyard by the Rev. W. Glover. As “T.V.E.” pointed out in a recent article in the Primitive Methodist Leader on “Men of the Morning,” Mr. Glover’s term of six years more than justified his appointment. The membership greatly increased, the missionary revenue was more than trebled, and a beautiful new Church was erected at a cost of £2,850, leaving only a debt of £1,000. It is now the intention of the trustees and congregation to reduce the debt as speedily as possible in order that the way may be cleared for further expansion and for the erection of a much-needed Sunday school. The school itself is in a most healthy condition, and much praise is due to the superintendent, Mr. Jamieson, the secretary, Mr. McIntosh, and the devoted staff of teachers, for the energetic and intelligent manner in which they discharge the duties of their respective positions. It is very gratifying to know that of all the schools of all the denominations in the Glasgow union, our own school, in proportion to its size, secures the largest income. Mention, too, should be made of the very vigorous work being carried on in connection with the Young people’s Bible Class, which throughout the greater part of the year has an average attendance of ninety, and which last year distributed prizes, obtained from our own Bookroom, for regular attendance, to the value of £20. In relation to the prospects of the Church work in general, we rejoice to be able to say that they were never brighter. Many tokens of Divine favour have been granted us. The Sunday evening services, always of an evangelistic character, have borne gracious fruit, and during the winter months we have had the joy of harvest. Within the last two months quite a number of young men have publicly confessed their faith in Jesus, and have become ardent supporters of the excellent open-air meetings held every Sunday prior to the evening service. As in other of our Scotch societies, we have been instrumental in leading to the Cross numbers who, Presbyterian by birth and training, have, immediately after their conversion, allied themselves with their own particular Churches.
The annual returns of the Scottish District would be still more striking if we were able to keep all those who, in our own places of worship, experience the “new birth.” By removals and deaths we have lost many of our leading officials and members. The leakage, however, has been more than made up, and we have at least forty of an increase as compared with our numbers two years ago. Financially the Church was never doing better than at present. The tendency is upward in all departments. The average weekly income for the past twelve months has been over £8. The missionary revenue has more than doubled. The last anniversary realised more than £34, the greater part of which was devoted to the “Wm. Glover Fund,” to be used for special work on the Jamestown station. In addition to this, the C.E. Society responded to the appeal of the Connexional C.E. secretary, and sent its mite towards the erection of the Oron Institute. Very great is the hold which the Endeavour movement has secured over the life of the Church. It has never been the writer’s privilege to be identified with a young people’s meeting so thoroughly alive and so intensely spiritual as this. Its meetings are of a bright and attractive order, as may be inferred from the fact that the attendance throughout the summer months has averaged forty per week. Space forbids any extended reference to the loyal band of officials who thoughtfully and prayerfully shape the policy of the Church. Their work generally is of a very high order.
The Circuit is blessed in its stewards. Mr. McIntosh, the Circuit steward and school secretary, does his work in a quiet and reliable manner, which all appreciate. Mr. W.H. Wood worthily discharges the duties of society steward, choirmaster, and organist. Any society possessing an official devoted to duty, ever concerned about spiritual progress, or as fully in sympathy with its young life as is Mr. Wood, is to be counted fortunate indeed. Under his tactful guidance the praise service has become a constant inspiration to both preachers and people. We wish for him many years of such helpful service. Perhaps the feature that most deeply impresses the soul of the Primitive Methodist enthusiast is the magnificent opportunity for extension presented by the geographical position of the Circuit. Right along the Clyde-side to the west of Whiteinch as far as Dumbarton, industrial towns are springing up with mushroom-like rapidity. In Yoker and Clydebank the increase in population last year was over 6,000. In Dalmuir, houses, nearly all tenements four storeys in height, are in preparation for 8,000 people.
This enormous building boom has been created by the new shipyard of William Beardmore and Co., which is ninety acres in extent and fitted up with the most recent appliances for the speedy and effective building of the largest class of vessels. Near to Dumbarton the engineering firm of Kosmoid’s Limited, has acquired fifty acres of ground, where huge workshops are being erected, and in connection with which 5,000 or 6,000 work-people will be employed. For their accommodation it is quite probable that something in the way of a garden city will be built. Plans have already, it is stated, been produced showing a town after the Port Sunlight and Bourneville pattern. When these big schemes have matured it is likely that Dumbarton will be linked by tramways to Glasgow, and then by car and by train it will be an easy matter to superintend mission work from Whiteinch. What are we doing in Glasgow, Motherwell, Hamilton, and Wishaw can be repeated in these new centres to which allusion has just been made. We need but one thing – financial assistance. And given a reasonable outlay of labour, money and time, there would be created, at no distant date, self-supporting Circuits which would support their own ministers and become points from which further conquests could be made. This corner of the vineyard has a bright future. We pray, too, that by God’s blessing the anticipations may be more than realised.
Christian Messenger 1906/301