History of the Congregation -

Duncan Mitchell's brief History of the Gaelic Church of St Columba

1770 - First church building opened on 18th February - see map below.

map of Glasgow with original church



1836 - Our minister, Norman MacLeod, the Moderator of the General Assembly, raised over two hundred thousand pounds for famine relief in the Highlands and Islands.


1837 - Ingram Street Church sold to the British Linen Bank.  Proceeds built the new church.


1839 - Second church building, in Hope Street, opened on 14th July.  See map below.


1843 - Free Church formed but St. Columba stayed in the Church of Scotland.  It was described as a "stronghold of moderatism".  Our minister, Dr. MacLeod, prevailed upon Parliament to insert in the Bill for the Division of Parishes a special clause giving churches created for the benefit of highlanders in cities, a legal jurisdiction over every district which required the services of a Gaelic minister.


1851 - Special constitution granted by the General Assembly.






1899 - Notice from railway company.  Compensation used to build new church.


1900 - Last services held in Hope Street church 21st May.  Congregation moved to Waterloo Rooms.


1904 - Third church building, in St Vincent Street, opened 17th September.


1948 - Our minister, Alexander MacDonald, becomes Moderator of the General Assembly.


1970 - 200th Anniversary


1981 - Terminable Appointment


1986 - Presbytery Buildings and Mission Category 1 (special case) granted - "Presbytery regard retention of these buildings as a priority for mission".


1987 - Restored to full status.


1998 Glasgow City Council commitment to our "Building of Regional importance".


2004 - Centenary of St Vincent Street building.


2007 - Presbytery Plan proposes union with Gardner Street church in Partick.


2009 - Presbytery Buildings Plan Category 4 "Buildings about which Presbytery is unable to reach a decision".  Awaiting the union with Gardner Street.


2011 - Gardner Street church dissolves, meaning that St Columba (with a Gaelic service every Sunday morning) is the only Gaelic-language provision in any church of any denomination in Glasgow, and well beyond.

2016 - The congregation constructs a Mission Plan following its successful appeal against closure of the building.

2017 - The General Trustees instruct a major buildings survey to determine whether full restoration is viable.

2021 - The Presbytery of Glasgow receives a report that highlights serious safety issues in the building and the congregation is prohibited from holding further services there.  A task group is formed to explore how new Gaelic ministry initiatives can be developed.

Hope Street before Central Station was extended.  The church can clearly be seen.

St Columba Church Hope Street
St Columba old postcard.png