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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.

2023 - The congregation is linked with Blawarthill Parish Church under the Rev. G. Melvyn Wood.  Services were already being held at Blawarthill since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

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

St Columba Church Hope Street
St Columba old postcard.png
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