Silver Row is probably Falkirk’s best known ‘lost’ street. It completely disappeared in the early 1960s under the ill-fated Callendar Centre, later replaced by the present Callendar Square. The origins of the name Silver Row are obscure but the street seems to date from the mediaeval period and may have been part of the main route through Falkirk from the east port (or gate) of the town to the Parish Church.
At its north end the street rose up from the junction of Bank Street and Manor Street (or Back Row as it was known until around 1900) levelled out at the top of Wormit Hill before descending down to the High Street across from Burnhead Lane. From the 18th to the 20th centuries the north section of the street had a number of public buildings including the Masonic Arms, St Francis Primary School and the Erskine Church. This building, the home of the First Associate Congregation, a breakaway from the Church of Scotland, was built around 1742 and extensively reconstructed in 1816. The congregation, by then part of the United Free Church, moved to the present Erskine building near the Infirmary in 1905 and the old church was sold. It later housed the Electric Theatre and was the Roxy variety theatre until its demolition in the late 1950s.
Silver Row looking south Silver Row looking north
The southern section of the street was mainly given over to private houses and these were mostly demolished in the 1920s as part of a clearance programme aimed at getting rid of homes unfit for human habitation. The land lay empty for decades, a large sand hole surrounded on the High Street and Callendar Riggs sides by large advertising hoardings.
Silver Row Dairy Silver Row – High Street End
In the late 1950s a development programme brought closure and demolition to all of Silver Row and the construction of the 1960s style concrete Callendar shopping centre. One problem facing the developers was the South U.P. Graveyard, the burial ground associated with the old church. In the end this was completely removed and the incumbents were removed to a special communal burial site in Camelon Cemetery. The Callendar Centre was not very popular with shoppers and was demolished in the late 1980s and replaced after more than a few hitches, with the present Callendar Square.
Ian Scott (2005)