ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT
A CENTENARY BOOKLET might be expected to begin with the year 1866, but it will help us to realise our great tradition if we sketch briefly the earlier history of the church.
SECESSION TO ASSOCIATE PRESBYTERY
MANY Of the congregation were so enraged that they seceded to the Associate Presbytery. Together with the Seceders of Paisley, Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan, Largs, Inverkip and Greenock, the Seceders froin Port Glasgow were formed into the Correspondence of Kilmacolm. The meeting place was in the open air on the farm of Killochries-two miles south of Kilmacolm. After six years of meeting in fields, the Correspondence of Kilmacolm was felt to be too large. It was arranged that while remaining under the care of one Session, it should be divided into two sections. The members from Greenock and Port Glasgow formed one section with a meeting-place at Crawford's Dyke (the present Cartsdyke) while the other moved to Bianchell in the parish of Kilbarchan. A service was conducted at the two places on alternate Sundays. This arrangement continued until 1752, when the Correspondence was divided into two distinct congregations each with its own minister.
Princes Street Church
ON 13th June, 1865 Mr. Lauder laid the foundation stone of the present church, and it was opened on the second Sunday in March, 1866 by Rev. Dr. John Eadie. The initial cost was £2.927. There were later extensive alterations and improvements, which gave us the beautiful church, and comfortable place of worship, which it now is. Home mission work was undertaken by the congregation in the cast end of the town in 1876. At the beginning of 1878 the mission was erected by the Presbytery into a regular charge, under the name of Clune Park Church. On 7th August, 1883 Rev. W. W. Beveridge was ordained as Colleague and Successor to Rev. William Lauder. In November, 1891 the members celebrated the centenary of the congregation, the jubilee of Mr. Lauder, and the semi-jubilee of the church. From 1847 the name was Princes Street United Presbyterian Church.
The Princes Street church is no longer standing and in it's place are some small retails units. The Church can clearly be seen in some of the old photographs on the site and it was these photographs which promoted one person to get in touch with details of the church and it's congregation. The details here are taken from a booklet which was printed in 1966 to celebrate the Centenary of the church.
THE FIRST CHURCH
ON 20th October, 1790 the members met in the house of Duncan Ritchie at Barr's Braefoot. Only male members attended this meeting, females having no place in church affairs at that time. At the meeting it was resolved to build a place of worship, and to petition the Presbytery of Glasgow for supply of preaching. The petition was granted and supply given for the first time in May, 1791. The meeting-place was completed and ready for occupation in August of the same year. Like the majority of these Associate Churches it was a plain unpretentious building. A common question with which to pelt a Seceder was "What barn is that?" pointing to the building. A question to which at least on one occasion there came the witty answer, " Oh, that's the barn they thrash the Established Kirk in."
A NEW NAME
ON 30th October, 1900 the United Presbyterian and the Free Church of Scotland united to form the United Free Church. Princes Street congregation entered heartily into the union for it enabled them to claim the privileges of a large church, while at the same time retaining their existing rights in the possession and control of their property. It was now Princes Street United Free Church.
NOW A PARISH CHURCH
IN October, 1929 the union of the Established Church and the United Free Church was consummated, and the name now became Princes Street Church of Scotland. Some years later the General Assembly ordained that delimitation of all areas must be carried out so making each congregation responsible for an agreed 'parish'-thus all churches became Parish Churches.
In 1956 the charge of Old Port Glasgow fell vacant. Approaches were made to Princes Street and Hamilton churches to unite, but this proved unsuccessful.
The Presbytery of Greenock gave notice to the congregations of Princes Street and Hamilton Churches, that the question would be raised again if a vacancy occurred in any of the three churches. In June, 1958 the charge of Hamilton Church fell vacant, and after negotations was transported to the new area, and opened as Hamilton Bardrainney Church on 14th November, 1958.
Rev J L Sidney Smith who was in charge of the church at the time of writting the centenary booklet in 1966, pictured here outside his home 68 Lillybank Road.
The Church closed in Spring/Summer 1972 I think - we were married 20 October 1972. The last minister Rev Sydney Smith's appointment was to be the last one in that Church. Princes Street, along with Newark, West Church, Clune Park,
Hope this is of some help to you. I was not living in Port Glasgow at the time of the closure and was broken hearted when I saw the Church being used as a Dunbar's Store - it was such a beautiful Church.
Mrs Morrison recalls the closure of the church...........
This page last modified on Friday, April 02, 2010
Rev David Inglis
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