Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13

Chapter One

Buildings, Manses and Halls

Most established United Presbyterian Churches were set up originally as Missions and Kenmure was no exception.
Springburn United Presbyterian Church began in November 1855 in a disused weaver's shop. They called James A. Johnston to be their first minister in 1856 and a few years later built their first church. The Kirk Session was aware that many new houses were being built in the Colston area of Bishopbriggs and decided to open a Home Mission Station there. This was probably in the early 1860s.

Fernbank, High Possil Road (now The Lion Hotel, Colston Road) a large house in over an acre of ground, was built for a member of the Reid family who owned Hydepark Locomotive Works, Springburn.
He sold it to Thomas Keay, a fellow member of the church. Mr. Keay offered the use of one of his outhouses, a disused laundry, and laid the foundation of what became Kenmure Church of Scotland.

The Mission was successful and soon outgrew the premises. It moved to Cleland's Hall, a wooden building that probably was situated on Auchinairn Road where the new Auchinairn Medical Practice now stands and later used as a mission hall by Springfield United Free Church. It was not very accessible for the Colston area as most people walked with only a few having access to a pony and trap. The first person to be baptised there was Mary McAllister Kinniburgh, born 17th December 1866 to founder members James Kinniburgh and his wife, Rose Kennedy the great grandfather and great grandmother of Ian Gray. She died in 1906.

Four generations of this family have been baptised in Kenmure.

Mary McAllister Kinniburgh

The International Order of Good Templars, a temperance organisation, owned a hall in Schoolfield Lane, in the old village of Bishopbriggs, sited between the Low Road and the railway line. Since 1870 it was used by The Herald of Peace, Lodge of Good Templars as a Railway Mission to warn workers of the dangers of taking strong drink, i.e. spirits.

In June 1879 they sold the hall to the Home Committee of the Board of Missions of the United Presbyterian Presbytery of Glasgow. Thomas Keay, (59) Fernbank, a bank agent and William Hamilton, (63) Blackmount Cottage, a printer and publisher bought it for 500 for use by the now Bishopbriggs U.P. Mission and the title deed is dated 17th July 1879. The numbers attending grew. Members included; David Henderson, (29) Ruskin Square, joiner; James Kinniburgh, (33) No. 2 Row, High Kenmure; iron miner, Robert Nisbet, (31) Schoolfield House, joiner; and Robert Steel, (30) Quin's Land, iron miner.

In 1879 a petition was sent signed by members and adherents to the U.P.P. to be made up to a congregation. Permission was given to call a minister and Charles Dick was inducted in October 1879. His stipend was based, as were all ministers of the day, on the price of a chalder (half meal and half barley) about 23 + 20 for communion expenses. He lived in rented accommodation as there was no manse.

There were now 53 members and the U.P.P. appointed Assessors, James Reid, Lenzie and William Hamilton, a music publisher, Bishopbriggs, who oversaw the pro-tem Kirk Session. William Spiers was the first pro-tem session clerk. This situation lasted for several years under the rules of the U.P.P. until they were seen as 'fit' to appoint their own session.

The church has had several names since its inception. Bishopbriggs United Presbyterian Church 1879-1900, then in 1900 the Free Church of Scotland and the United Presbyterian Church came together to form the United Free Church - those not in favour formed the Free Church, known as the 'wee frees'. The name Kenmure was introduced becoming Kenmure United Free Church 1900-1929. In 1929 the United Free reunited with the Church of Scotland and it became Kenmure Church of Scotland.

The parish boundaries of Kenmure Parish were Bishopbriggs Cross, Crowhill Road, Colston Road, Ashgill Road, cross country to the Forth and Clyde Canal, along the burn to Bishopbriggs Golf Course reappearing at Kenmure Drive back to Bishopbriggs Cross.

Kenmure Hall used as Church 1879-1906

New Church at Bishopbriggs 1908

Kenmure United Free Church (once United Presbyterian) from a
hall in a backcourt in the village has moved to Viewfield Avenue.

Kirkintilloch Herald (5th Sept. 1906)

This simple statement disguises eleven years effort by a small congregation of ordinary people whose vision, faith and determination made it possible and who have left us this building as their legacy.

In 1894 the poor state of Kenmure Hall, Schoolfield Lane used as both church and hall from 1879 until 1906 and finally forcefully abandoned through compulsory purchase in 1985, led to the Kirk Session holding a special Congregational Meeting to discuss the possibility of raising funds to find a site and build a sandstone church.

A Building Committee was formed on 20th December 1894 and of those appointed Robert Steel and David Henderson were associated with the original Home Mission of the 1870s and were signatories of the petition to establish Bishopbriggs United Presbyterian Church in 1879.

The other members were Messrs. Scotland, Alexander, Melville, Lawson, Stirling, McLeod and Gilmour.
John Gilmour and David Henderson worked for companies involved in the building of the church, one as a stone mason the other a joiner, and for them it would be a labour of love.

Robert Kinniburgh
He was brought up in the Lodge at the gates of Kenmure House
and served his apprenticeship with Robert Kemp and Sons,
Joiners and Builders eventually becoming foreman joiner. He was
involved in much of the building of Bishopbriggs including the
present church and the extensive repairs out at Cadder Church.
After his marriage to Davina they lived at Hillcroft Terrace with
their two sons and three daughters. He was a founder of Bishopbriggs
Bowling Green in 1906 and was secretary of Bishopbriggs
Horticultural Society. He was also an authority on the history of
Auchinairn and Bishopbriggs. On his retirement he went to live
with his son John and his wife at The Groves, Auchinairn where
he died in 1968.

Fundraising was a major task and one effort was a promise card given to each person who agreed to donate a fixed sum of money per month to the fund. The members were divided into districts with an elder responsible for the collection of donations. The biggest effort was a bazaar, held in Springburn Public Hall for three days in September, 1904 which raised 396.5.9d of the target of 800.

Considering that the sale which was held in Reid Halls, Springburn for the Jubilee in 1927 raised 310, this result, in 1904, was a great achievement.

At the opening of the Bazaar, Councillor Breeze, a member of Glasgow Corporation, presided on Thursday. In his remarks he spoke of the great struggle Mr. Dick had in the beginning as Bishopbriggs was not then a growing district. On Friday ex Baillie, John King, presided and he commented that the Church in general was going through a testing time. On Saturday, Rev. Bruce Meikleham, Rockvilla Church, presided praising the congregation for its efforts.

When all the funds were totalled there was still a shortfall on the amount needed to give the go-ahead to the builders and 'some Christian gentlemen in Glasgow' offered to honour this. It had taken 21 years since the new church was first proposed before the Rev. Dick could make the announcement, in the year in which he retired (1915) that the debt was cleared.

The Site

Like most important events at Kenmure it took a long time between the inception and the reality. Eleven years of fundraising, searching and negotiating. As early as March 1895, Robert Scotland, Clerk to the Board of Management, reported that Rev. Dick, Messrs Alexander, Melville and himself had met with a surveyor and had marked off ground which was 150 feet along and 85 feet back at the public road (Cawder Road later called Kirkintilloch Road). Another possibility was a site offered by the factor of Kenmure Estate. This was close to Kenmure House, now demolished, which stood between the present Brackenbrae House and Bishopbriggs Golf Club. The third site was at the top of Quarry Road, which became Viewfield Road and was close to a quarry. The late Willie Ure, a member of the 182nd BB and an elder of Kenmure, in his book Bishopbriggs - The Golden Years describes it as being a menacing quarry. A second quarry with an island in it was attractive to children because it had a 'beach' and both were dangerous. A third quarry lay behind Viewfield Road and Brackenbrae which was later filled in and the 182nd BB's first football pitch was there.

The members preferred the Estate site as it was nearer the village of Bishopbriggs but the Glasgow North Presbytery Committee felt that the area of greatest growth was closer to Colston. A number of stone villas were built in the Coltpark, Brackenbrae, Viewfield area and along the main road in the late 19th and early 20th century. They recommended that the present site be chosen.

Map of area, circa 1923

Plans had been requested from architects and the firms of Thomson and Sandilands, Turnbull, Petrie, and Hamilton were to the fore. After discussion and a vote Alexander Petries's plan was adopted so long as he would guarantee not to exceed his estimate of 1500. It was not until 1905 that sufficient money was available to instruct the architect that the work could commence and the foundation stone at last be laid.

Alexander Petrie, the architect came from Maryhill. He designed Garbraid Church, Maryhill amongst others and one of the first large buildings to have an elevator in Glasgow, a six storey narrow red sandstone office building at 46-64 St Enoch's Square.

The original contractors were:
Mason: George Collier - Springburn 402.00
Joiner: Robert Kemp - Bishopbriggs 413.35
Slater: James Caldwell - Kirkintilloch 100.75
Plumber: James Johnston & Son - Bishopbriggs 60.00
Plasterer: Alexander Somerville - Kirkintilloch 52.30
Painter: John Orr & Sons - Glasgow 51.00
Heating: James Combe & Son - Glasgow 34.00
Bell (26"): William Bryden & Sons 52.00
Ironwork: Robert Johnstone - Bishopbriggs
Gas Pendants: Charles Henshaw - Edinburgh

The Exterior

Kenmure Church as it appears today

The church is a stone building on Gothic lines, which occupies a corner site at the junction of Viewfield Road and Viewfield Avenue. It is partly enclosed by a stone wall and four foot high iron railings. The gable is surmounted by a stone belfry, having arched openings and finial - an ornament at the top - and a 26" bell.

The belfry

The principal, or entrance of the church, faces north and has an arched doorway flanked by stone buttresses. Above the door there is a window with stone mullions - dividing bars between the window lights.

The windows are filled with tracery (intersecting ribwork) in the uppermost part of the Gothic windows, which are lancet shaped and filled with Cathedral glass.

No Longer in the Dark

In January 1925 a lamp was placed outside the front door, donated (anonymously) by the family of James Robertson, Duncryne, late superintendent of the Sunday School who died in 1924.

. . . the building is adjacent to several large quarry holes and the
lamp has been fixed above the main doorway . . . worshippers will
have to find another excuse for absence from the evening service.

Kirkintilloch Herald, Jan. 1925

At some time in the 1950s, this lamp, which was square, must have been damaged and replaced by the present one as it differs in shape from the original and has an inscription.

The present lamp above the front entrance to the Church

The Interior

The interior of the church is very plain with no stained glass or detailed carvings. The original pulpit was across the back wall and had a scrolled quotation from the Bible above it. 'O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness'. Pews, pulpit and doors are of American red pine. The vestibule has two doors leading to the left and right aisle and there were originally 350 sittings exclusive of choir seats, a vestry (a robing room for the minister), two classrooms upstairs, and a lavatory. The side windows are lancet shaped with cathedral glass. There is an open timber roof with rafters of pitchpine stained and varnished. The roof is tiled with two ventilators fitted. There was a gas central heating system. The interior was lit by gas pendants.

The church was closed for several weeks in August 1925 and met back in Kenmure Hall. A complete redecoration of the church took place after the installation of electric light in September 1925 and at the re-opening service Rev Dr A Scott Pierson of West Kilbride preached the sermon.

1927 view - note the high central pulpit, Charles Dick Memorial on the left hand side
and the new World War One Memorial on the right.

In the early 1920s the pulpit was lowered but in 1927 when a new organ was installed it entailed the building of a larger choir platform and the raising of the pulpit. An additional small dais was placed in the centre of this platform to take the oak Baptismal font.

This was a gift from Robert Graham of Altdessan, Bishopbriggs. It was unveiled by Mrs Graham in November 1927 at the time of the Jubilee. Miss Gilmour, a member of longstanding, donated the baptismal linen. The first baby to be baptised was Jean Irene Bruce Montgomerie, the first child born on the newly built homes on Kenmure Estate.

War Memorial 1914-18

The original War Memorial dedicated to those who fell in 1914-18 was the Fallen Heroes Tablet in the form of a shield designed by Mr Findlay, sculptor, which was unveiled on Sunday 7th September 1919. On Armistice Sunday 1927 a refurbished version was unveiled. It had been enlarged and was mounted on an alabaster plaque which was decorated with roses, thistles and shamrocks surrounded by a copper wreath. The 182nd BB buglers sounded the Last Post.

The plaque which can be seen on the left hand side is the memorial to Rev. Charles Dick. A new organ was also installed but its dedication had to be postponed because of the illness of the minister. In 1929 the vestry was altered and in 1935 was moved upstairs to make way for the Williamson Hall. The Ladies Working Party donated money for new matting throughout the church including the choir platform, pulpit and pulpit stairs.

Communion Table

The present communion table was gifted by a long serving member, the late Miss Jane McBride from money left in her will. It was dedicated on the 7th March 1937. Four new offertory plates to match the table were donated as was the minister's communion chair. The pulpit seat was reupholstered. Vandalism existed in those days too and in 1939 a window in the Session Room had to be renewed and broken windows in the church repaired.

War Memorial 1939-45

The greatest transformation to the church came in 1948. A decision had been taken in 1947 that to commemorate those who had died during the war the memorial should take the form of a new organ and pulpit and a total refurbishment. This was a massive undertaking for such a small congregation. The bulk of the work was done by members and friends saving a lot of money. Since September, 1947 they had worked every Saturday from 7.30am sometimes until 9pm. The minister of Martyrs Church, Townhead, was so impressed with the 1640 hours of voluntary labour given that he based an appeal to his own congregation on it. Many members also donated materials which saved around 500.

There had always been a problem with the roof ventilators and they needed to be reduced by one third. The old pulpit and choir platform had to be removed and a new one built designed to take the weight of the 'new' 4-5 ton organ which was purchased from Buccleuch Parish Church along with their pulpit. They had amalgamated with St Stephen's, Cambridge St., which strangely enough on its demise amalgamated with Springfield and was the means of building a new church in Bishopbriggs - Springfield Cambridge dedicated in 1972. The organ also required a pit. Panelled sides were built and new posts for the platform were adorned with blue chords to harmonise with the colour scheme.

The memorial to Charles Dick was placed where it is today on the left hand wall of the church. Sadly it seems that the 1927 alabaster war memorial was sold for the scrap value of 5. Pews had paint removed to reveal the original grained pine and they were revarnished. The electrics were overhauled at a cost of 1500. The vestibule was renovated and coat pegs provided. Twenty ladies armed with pails, soap and brushes scrubbed the church floor ready for the rededication A new notice board was erected in the church grounds. By 1949 the Organ Fund had raised 1604 from members and friends and it was declared free of debt.

New lights were acquired for the church in 1964 from Cathcart Church, aisle carpet runners were gifted by the Womans Guild and the organ was overhauled. An iron grating at the church door was removed as ladies were complaining that they caught their high heels in it. An anonymous donor gifted money for new railings at the church. In 1966 wire guards were placed on the front windows to prevent vandalism.

On Monday 4th August 1970 there was a break-in at the church and halls. They gained entrance via a window in Viewfield Hall and let off fire extinguishers. Entrance to the church was also made through a window in the Williamson Hall and the King's Colour was torn down and left in the aisle. Some pews were damaged, the Pulpit Bible was taken from the vestry and torn and other Bibles damaged. The Queen's Colour was stolen but was later retrieved. A work party was formed to clean up the mess.

The congregation contributed to a fund in memory of Allan Williamson's long service to Kenmure. This took the form of a memorial clock, which was placed on the right hand side wall in the church and was dedicated in 1974.

A mysterious find of a hidden safe under the pulpit was made and the records found were sent to the Scottish Records Office in Edinburgh. There was a proposal to house the Communion silver in it.

Over the next decade there was a lot of structural work required because of subsidence. On old maps the ground on which Kenmure is built is shown to have mine workings.

A donation of 100 was made by 18 members towards the repair of the northeast corner wall. Refurbishment of the church buildings was also necessary including new gas central heating. Again members volunteered their services saving a lot of money. The sum of 500 was donated towards the 585 needed for the protection from vandalism of the windows facing Viewfield Avenue. The church was also rewired and new lights installed at a cost of 4366. A Fabric Fund Appeal raised 3210 from the congregation.

It was reported in 1997 that with the refurbishment of the upstairs rooms at the church they were 'now in an acceptable condition'.

The car park was resurfaced in 1990 and two years later the church was re-roofed. An induction loop which magnifies sound was installed in 1999 from the legacy of Morris McKinnon. In 2000, to mark the Millennium the legacy of Margaret Millar was used to provide new stainless steel units for the hall kitchen which comply with the latest environmental health provisos.

A list of work which needs to be undertaken was discussed at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 15th March, 2006. This could see the congregation investing in some of the proposals to celebrate the Centenary of the building and to ensure its existence for the future.


The first manse was not bought by the church until 1919. Before this time ministers lived in a variety of rented accommodation. It was in High Possil Rd and was called Ashwell. Up until the 1980s there was a track from Milton across wasteland that came out beside what is now the church car park so no doubt the minister could cycle to the church that way. The old manse needed repairs before it could be sold but 723.7/- was realised in 1928 when 15 Coltpark Avenue was bought at a cost of 1,232.10/-. The removal costs were 8.10/- and a new dresser and fittings in the kitchen cost 23/-. A loan was required for the difference and a member of the congregation kindly paid the interest on a loan of 400.

Coltpark proved to be a costly manse and required a lot of maintenance. Mr Williamson before he retired warned that it was in such a shocking state that the Presbytery could withhold permission for a call for a new minister. In 1962 Mr Heriot recalls that on their first visit to the manse water had been cascading for days from a burst tank and there was mildew everywhere. Mr Penman called for volunteers to scrape the walls to remove the fungus. Coal was bought in quantity and Mr Owen, church officer, drew up a rota of ladies willing to light and tend fires every day so that it would dry out. All the floorboards had been lifted and replaced, new 13 amp sockets installed and members blitzed the garden. Mrs Heriot was invited to select a new cooker. The induction was in June but it was September before the manse was habitable.

In 1972 cracks were appearing in the walls of the kitchen and there was woodworm in the bathroom. There was talk of buying a new manse but it would require funding and none was presently available. A decision was taken to install gas central heating. In 1977 the Fabric Committee reported that the kitchen was very small with only a double sink, cooker and 2 work tops. No floor units, no mid units, no wall units - the pantry could perhaps be removed to make the kitchen larger. The cost of repairs and new units was estimated at 1500 and the Womans Guild gave 200 towards the repairs. It was also noted that 'Mrs Jones forbearance in working uncomplainingly in the existing conditions does her great justice, but we are due no credit for continuing to permit it'. Again it was suggested that a new manse should be bought.

By 1987 subsidence made major repairs necessary to the bay window area and double glazing was put in. It was 1990 before a modern house was chosen at Marchfield to the great relief of the minister and his family.


Kenmure Hall

A brick built building in Schoolfield Lane in the village was erected for the Good Templars around 1870. It served as both church and hall until 1906. From the 1890s there were complaints of a leaking roof and other shortcomings which led to the determination of the congregation to build a 'proper' church. The irony is that it continued in use as one of the church halls until it was bought by Caledonian Estates for 93,000 in 1985 and later demolished when The Triangle Complex was built.

The demise of this hall was forever being prophesised. The loft was declared unsafe in 1965 and required to be emptied. A rat catcher had to be employed in 1968 and on many subsequent occasions. The staircase in 1975 was reported as illegal because it had no handrail and the hall was described in the minutes of the Board of Management as 'tatty but sound'. It was in need of substantial repairs which would cost around 3000 and there was a temptation to borrow from the New Hall Fund. The fireplace and stove were removed. Its life was given as 3 years in 1976 yet despite this it was renovated. Again complaints were made in 1978 that there were no wash hand basins in the toilets.

A public meeting was held in Bishopbriggs High School in September 1978 to discuss redevelopment of the whole of the area around Schoolfield Lane. Richard Dent, Chief Planning Officer, spoke about the Bishopbriggs Local Plan and stated that 'there are a number of buildings in the area which are going to have to be relocated.' Councillor W.P.D. McIntyre pointed out that in an earlier report, in 1972, Kenmure Hall was described as a derelict building. He wished it to be recorded that it was in use every night of the week by the church and several other groups. To supplement its income the Hall had always been rented out when available. In the 1880s and 90s electoral meetings were held.

In the 1920s The Eastern Star and the Loyal Orange Lodge met there. The Parish Council, in 1900, wrote to the managers asking for a written undertaking that the hall would only be used for religious purposes. In the 1970s the Independent Baptist Church rented the hall as did the Dog Training Club, the Old Peoples Club, who required seating for over 100, the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers and the Pigeon Fanciers. By 1985 the income from Strathclyde Regional Council was 2080 per year.

A private person made an offer of 3500 to buy the hall in 1967 and in 1974 the Independent Baptist Church was also interested. The hall was eventually sold to Caledonian Estates in 1985 for 93,000 which provided money towards the New Hall.

It was demolished soon after to make way for The Triangle. Members were sorry to see it go as they had many memories of happy times spent there.

Williamson Hall

It was thought, in the 1930s, that it would be desirable to have a hall attached to the church. Plans for fundraising were put in motion and a decision was taken to move the vestry upstairs and build on the hall on the right hand side at the back of the church. The work began in 1935 and it was dedicated and opened on 9th October 1936 by Mrs Williamson.

Invitation to the Opening. Miss French became Mrs Margaret Gray

It was a popular addition and has been in use for 70 years and has been refurbished on several occasions. In 1991 a joint appeal 'buy-a-slate for 50p' was made to raise 25,000 needed to re-roof the church and the hall.

Viewfield Hall

A member of the congregation donated a timber hut to the church in 1965. It was decided that it would be erected in the grounds at the back of the building. It was a long drawn out process which required permission from the Glasgow Presbytery and it was not in use until December 1968 at a cost of 431 for wiring, fitting a toilet and lining the walls. Unfortunately it was in an isolated position, the church backed onto a factory and fields in those days, and it suffered from vandalism - broken windows and graffiti were common problems. It was put up as a temporary measure but was in use for 18 years.

New Hall

Viewfield Hall did help to relieve congestion but was never considered a solution to the problem. There was a possibility of buying land at the back of the church on which to build a hall but unfortunately this fell through.

From 1965 onwards the congregation set up a New Hall Fund with great enthusiasm.

A committee was appointed and there were car treasure hunts, beetle drives, sales of work, fetes, coffee mornings and all the usual efforts. Waste paper was collected by members of the choir who volunteered one evening per month to cover the members in the Parish and Milton. It was stored in the manse garage. Mrs Curley organised a collection of woollen rags and Robert Lindsay sold ballpoint pens for 1/- each, these were a great success and over several years brought in a good income. Targets were set and organisations were asked to meet these each year. This was not always possible.

By 1966 the sum of 2272 was in the fund and by 1968 this had risen to 4078. An extraordinary meeting of the congregation was held in 1968 to seek permission to borrow 400 from the fund to pay for repairs to Kenmure Hall. In 1970 tea towels printed with a map of Bishopbriggs were popular and added to the funds.

An Exhibition about Kenmure - the Last 100 Years, organised by Mr Burnett, was held in Kenmure Hall and members were asked to promise to donate 5/- per week over 2 years and 24 members signed up bringing in a total of 600. There were plans and an artist's drawing of the proposed hall on show.

Another raid on the fund was successful and at a special meeting in August 1974 permission was granted to borrow the sum of 2000 needed to pay for necessary maintenance at the church and Kenmure Hall from the Fund which by this time stood at 7319. The Glasgow Presbytery would not permit the repairs unless the Kirk Session could guarantee the required sum. The motion was passed by 33 votes for and 3 against and soon after this the New Hall Fund was merged with the Fabric Fund.

Rev Phillip Jones with Mrs Wilson, Rev Dr Andrew Herron, and Jimmy Reid, Church Officer

At last, almost 30 years from being first mooted, there was a final push in 1986 which raised the 9000 which would complete the sum of 121,000 which the hall would now cost. The builders were J. H. Gray, Kilsyth. On Saturday, 28th April, 1987 the hall was dedicated and opened by Mrs Sarah Wilson, a member of Kenmure for 66 years and first Officer in Charge of the Lifeboys in 1928. On this auspicious occasion Janette McDonald, mother of Rev Sandy McDonald who was also present, and Margaret Gray were presented with certificates signed by the Moderator of the General Assembly, Robert Craig, to mark 50 years membership. They were also signed on the back by Dr Herron.

Mrs Sarah Wilson turns the key of the New Hall

Chapter Two

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