Falkirk Town Mission

Falkirk Town Mission(SMR 1489)

NS 8891 7980

Struthers Memorial Hall

TIMELINE

1852: Established by various congregations in the town to provide spiritual guidance to those down on their luck, particularly the drunk. It was supported by the Earl of Zetland and William Forbes of Callendar. Over the next four decades it hired various premises from which to carry on its evangelical mission, including the Charity School in Pleasance Square and Rankine’s Folly.

1898: New building opened in Dundee Court (later called Mission Brae) in November.  Designed by Alexander Gauld.  A grand bazaar had been held in Falkirk Town Hall the previous September to raise funds. It was so successful that it raised £1,800 – sufficient not only to cover the cost of the building, but also of furnishing it.

The original concept was to have a tower capped by a dome and corner finials. This appears to have been altered a little before building work began due to the need to provide a belfry for the bell from Falkirk Steeple, which had just been donated by the Town Council to the Mission. At the level of what was meant to be the eaves course there is a reinforced concrete collar ring that appears to have been intended to support the dome – instead of which it now supports the bell. Above the string course the tower contains double louvred vents on each side under a pyramid red tile roof.
The building comprises of three elements – the two-storey pedimented facade fronting Mission Lane and originally containing a library and meeting rooms; a squat square tower with the main door at its base; and the auditorium or church to the rear with a horseshoe balcony supported by cast iron columns. The balcony and upper floors are reached by a stair in the tower.
The main facade was of ashlar with three large windows on the first floor over three on the ground floor. The tower protrudes into Dundee Court and like the facade is now harled. The main hall at the back is made of snecked rubble and is not harled, except below a plain string course that incorporates the sills of the ground floor windows, forming a sort of plinth or dado. The windows onto Dundee Court are symmetrically disposed with four square windows on the first floor placed over rectangular windows below.
The interior of the main hall is plain, but well balanced. The panelled gallery is carried on slender Doric columns that extend up and end in Corinthian capitals to support longitudinal roof beams. The ceiling is slightly coffered with roundels for vents. Wooden wainscoting is typical of such buildings and pews cover both tiers. In the south gable is a large Venetian window containing stained glass donated by ex-provost Macpherson at the opening.

1980s: In later years the Dawson Trust provided much of the finance, but numbers attending dwindled and at the end of March 1985 it closed its doors for the last time.

1986: On 12th December 1986 it re-opened as the Struthers Memorial Church. The Falkirk congregation had originally met along with the Glasgow fellowship in public halls in Glasgow in the 1970s and then in public halls and house groups in Falkirk in the 1980s.

2001: On the south (back) side of the hall were single-storey vestry/session rooms, replaced in 2001 by a two-storey cafe known as the Almond tree Book and Coffee Shop.

MANSE

1924: Robert Dollar gifted £400 of the £500 cost of buying 13 Woodlands Crescent.

BELL

1898: Given the old bell from the Steeple.

FITTINGS

The communion table was gifted to the church at the closure of Mossvale Church in Paisley. A plaque reads: “MOSSVALE U.F. CHURCH/ TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND THE MEMORY OF/ WILLIAM REID/ Member of the Session 1884-1924/ PRESENTED BY THE FAMILY, Dec. 1924”. The pews were acquired in 1986 from the Grahams Road Church, which was being demolished at the time.

WINDOW

See separate entry for stained glass.

MISSIONARIES AT FALKIRK TOWN MISSION

1852

McKay, Robert 1859

1859

Brunton 1876

1876

Chalmers 1892

1892

Crawford 1895

1895

MacInnes, D. E. 1904

Feb 1904

Curie, Donald Oct 1931

1931

Brown, Thomas 1958

1958

Mitchell, Andrew 1977

1977

Watters, William March 1985

Jennifer Jack was the minister of Struthers Memorial church for the first three decades.

G.B. Bailey (2019)