Guild of Aid

Client

The Guild of Aid was founded by Reverend Edward Balvaird Hewett, mission priest at St Margaret's Episcopal Mission, Gorbals, and his wife, Mrs Mary Hewett, in 1887. Initially Reverend Hewett purchased a small hall in South Coburg Street from the Salvation Army for the Guild. After his resignation from St Margaret's in 1895, a larger hall and mission church were built in South Coburg Street in 1898–9. 1 The hall boasted a roof garden and colourful enamelled stoneware panels made by Doulton & Co. on the exterior of the building. 2

The Guild of Aid provided a wide variety of social welfare and health services to one of the poorest communities in Glasgow and was supported financially by successful businessmen with origins in the Gorbals, notably Sir William Raeburn, shipowner and a chairman of the Clyde Trust. The constitution of the Guild 'encouraged thrift, self-help and self-respect by philanthropic and social work, conducted on absolutely non-sectarian lines' and as a result 'thrift clubs for rent, clothing and groceries', mothers' clubs, sewing and cookery classes and one of Glasgow's earliest day nurseries for working mothers were established. Day trips to the seaside and countryside and other social activities for all age groups were also organised. 3

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a committee member and Honorary Architect of the Guild of Aid in 1907 and would have undoubtedly supervised the improvement works to the hall carried out by Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh between 1906 and 1911. 4 The Guild of Aid continued to support and serve its community long into the era of the Welfare State: the hall was demolished in 1973 to make way for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Gorbals.

Notes:

1: Marald D. Grant, My Gorbals Story. The Guild of Aid: Reflections and Reminiscences, 1887 – 1973, Glasgow: The Guild of Aid, 1973, p. 11; Glasgow City Archives Collection: Dean of Guild plans, B4/11/1/1/6442.

2: The opening of the new hall was reported in the Glasgow Herald, 5 October 1899.

3: Marald D. Grant, My Gorbals Story. The Guild of Aid: Reflections and Reminiscences, 1887 – 1973, Glasgow: The Guild of Aid, 1973.

4: Glasgow City Archives Collection: Parish of Glasgow Collection of Prints, T-PAR 1.11, vol. 23, p. 45–90. See also the Guild of Aid job-book entries.