St Paul's Church mission hall and beadle's house

M112 St Paul's Church mission hall and beadle's house

Address: 16-22, Shuttle Street, Glasgow
Date: 1895–6
Client: Rev. James Paton and St Paul's Kirk Session
Authorship: Authorship category 2 (Mackintosh and Office) (Mackintosh and Office)

B/W photograph of truss at St Paul's Church Mission Hall during demolition c. 1977

St Paul's Church Mission seems to have been converted from the former St Paul's Parish School, first listed at this address in the Post Office Glasgow Directory of 1871–2. In the 1888–9 directory it is named 'St Paul's Parish Mission' for the first time. It is identified as a 'mission hall' on the O.S. plan revised in 1893 and published in 1895. 1 A simple, two-storey, oblong building abutting the pavement, it had a central gable with a bellcote, and matching entrances at each end. In 1895–6, John Honeyman & Keppie added a new hall at the back. The addition was larger than the original building, and attached to its N.E. corner was a three-storey, tower-like structure, with male and female toilets on the ground floor and living accommodation for the beadle (a church officer) on the two upper floors. Both the original mission building and the addition were demolished in 1979.

Built of brick, the new hall was lit from above by areas of Pennycook's patent glazing in its open timber roof. There was a platform at the S. end and a shallow gallery supported on cast-iron columns at the N. John Honeyman & Keppie's drawings show seating for 423, including 53 in the gallery. Not surprisingly for a church hall in one of the poorest parts of the city, it was a plain building, the only unusual feature being the roof. On the sectional drawing approved by the Glagow Dean of Guild Court, the central posts of the trusses swell outwards in the middle, where a circular opening is punched through to reveal a vertical iron tie rod. The executed design was a more subtle variation on this: there was the same swelling form, but the opening was changed to an inverted teardrop, split in two. 2

Colour photograph of roof truss from 1895 drawing approved by Glasgow Dean of Guild CourtB/W photograph of truss at St Paul's Church Mission Hall during demolition c. 1977

This has parallels elsewhere in Mackintosh's work of around the same date: there are similarities with the contemporary trusses over the central hall of Martyrs Public School, which are decorated with a bulbous swelling in the same position, and with the piercing of the staircase balustrades at Ruchill Free Church Halls and the Glasgow School of Art. However, to judge from a photograph taken during demolition in 1979, the St Paul's trusses were heavier and less elegant than those at the Glasgow School of Art and Queen's Cross Church hall. When the building was demolished, similar trusses were recorded in the former school, suggesting that John Honeyman & Keppie did some re-roofing here when they added the new hall. The job-book entry bears this out, with its references to payments for a 'new roof in Hall' and 'jobbing in old building'. Following demolition of the mission hall, the trusses are said to have been transferred to Bishop's Mills, Old Dumbarton Road, Partick, to be reused in the residential conversion of this mid 19th-century industrial building. 3

The payment dates in the job book are not consistent with the dates given in press reports and in the records of inspections carried out by the Glasgow Dean of Guild Court during construction. It seems likely that the date 1897 at the top of the job-book page where payments are recorded is incorrect.

Notes:

1: Post Office Glasgow Directory 1888–9; O.S., Lanarkshire: Glasgow and its environs, revised 1893, published 1895, sheet VI.11.12.

2: Stuart Eydmann, 'St Paul's Church Mission Hall, Glasgow: an early glazed roof design by Mackintosh?', Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, 33, Autumn 1982, pp. 3–4.

3: Stuart Eydmann, 'St Paul's Church Mission Hall, Glasgow: an early glazed roof design by Mackintosh?', Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, 33, Autumn 1982, p. 4.