Pollokshields was made a quoad sacra parish on March 5, 1878, and the opening services for the new building were held on Sunday, May 19, 1878, exactly one year after the laying of the memorial stone. The officiating clergy were the Rev. T. B. W. Niven in the morning, the Very Rev. Principal Caird, D. D., of the University of Glasgow in the afternoon and the Rev. John Macleod in the evening. Again admission was by ticket and the church was crowded at all the services. Collections taken for the Building & Endowment Fund realised £660.
The architectural form of the church is Gothic of the transitional period from early English to geometric. There is a centre gable of nearly 60 feet in height, having a carved finial, and with a six-light traceried window. On the east side is an exit door and the staircase leading to a small gallery. At the southwest corner a massive buttressed spire rises to a height of 180 feet. At that time there was a fine-toned bell in the belfry which has windows 60 feet from ground level and is surmounted by the four dials of the clock. The west side of the church is divided by buttresses into five bays, each having two single-light windows with hood-mouldings and carved terminals. The clerestory is divided by five piers, each section having three single-light windows. The main entrance is at 274, Albert Drive by a doorway through the spire. The church and hall are cruciform, the building extending 140 feet along Shields Road.
Inside, the area is divided lengthwise by a centre and two side passages into a nave 90 by 33 feet with aisles 76 by 16 feet. Including the gallery and the area beneath it, colloquially referred to as "The Parlour", there are over 1,000 sittings. At the north end the pulpit stood on a raised platform with the Connacher's organ behind it in a recess under the four-light traceried window. The choir seats were on each side and the Communion Table in front of the pulpit. Octagonal stone bases from which rise polished red granite shafts with carved capitals, support the clerestory walls. The roofs are all open timbered, the principals resting on stone corbels. The cost of the building was in the region of £14,000.
Certain members had undertaken to gift the stained glass windows in the north and west walls and the front gable. The young men of the congregation collected over £172 in the district to provide the illuminated clock which is a familiar landmark. With its white dials, clear figures, and large hands, it made an ideal public clock and as such it was taken over in September 1930 by the Corporation of Glasgow who then assumed responsibility for its maintenance.
The original granite and sandstone baptismal font with alabaster bowl was a gift from the children of the church. It is damaged and no longer in use, having been superseded by the portable carved oak memorial font.
In these early days a great deal of time and thought was given to Church music, which was something of an innovation. In October, 1880, an extract from the Musical Committee’s report states “… After much interchange of opinion and considerable enquiry the Committee ultimately resolved (harmoniously, we hope) to recommend the introduction of the "Scottish Book of Praise" and they venture to think that the high character the intellectual ability, and Christian worth of the Rev. Donald Macleod, its literary editor, and the proved taste and talent of Mr. Lambeth its musical editor" combined with its approbation by the Kirk Session of the Park Parish Church, are the best testimonials that could be given in favour of its adaptability, The committee have examined the volume and heartily endorse the language of its preface which says that every care has been taken in the selection of tunes to exclude those of a florid or secular character and as far as possible to employ purely ecclesiastical music. All music intended for the worship of God should have a character of its own, at once solemn and tuneful on the one hand, avoiding such effects as are allowable in secular minstrelsy, and on the other, undue severity or uninteresting monotony. …” On receipt of this report the Kirk Session and managers decided to leave the matter for further discussion on the legality of introducing the "Scottish Book of Praise".
The first hymn in the third edition of the Church Hymnary as revised in 1973, exhorts us to "sing to the Lord with cheerful voice". This is a fair example of the difference between life during the reign of Queen Victoria and in the days' of our Queen Elizabeth,
Fund-raising is not history, it is an every day necessity, nevertheless the church's first Large-scale effort in that direction, though it may not qualify for the Guinness Book of Records deserves honourable mention in these pages, A three-day Bazaar was held In the Fine Art Institute, more familiar to us as the McLellan Galleries, on December 22, 23 & 24, 1880, being opened anew each day by a different personage. The denizens of Pollokshields must have postponed their Christmas shopping until this great event, thereby helping to raise the net sum of £2, 339, a fortune in those days.
A double event of interest to the residents occurred on April 13, 1893, when the University of Edinburgh conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity on both Mr. Niven and Mr. James Wells, minister of the Free Church of Pollokshields at that time.
The red-Letter day in 1897 was Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty" Coronation was celebrated all over the British Empire and by request of Glasgow Presbytery a Joint Service of Thanksgiving for the congregations of Pollokshields, Strathbungo and Titwood, was held in Pollokshields Parish Church on June 2, 1897, at 6.30 p. m. The officiating ministers were the Rev. Dr. Niven, the Rev. Robert McMillan of Strathbungo, and the Rev. W.H. Rankine. Special Services of Praise were rendered by a joint choir. A collection was taken in aid of the Lord Provost's Fund; (significantly the Lord Provost of the day being a member of Pollokshields Parish). The fund was to be used to reconstruct the older part of the Royal Infirmary. The suggestion to commemorate this unique Diamond Jubilee in such a manner had been put forward by the Lord Provost.
The church was closed during July and August 1899, to carry out structural alterations which entailed converting the church-officer's wash-house to a session-house and building a new wash-house outside. During that period the congregation worshipped in Titwood Church until the reopening services on September 10, 1899. The Rev. J. Rudge Wilson, M. A., of Wilton, Hawick, preached at both services. On December 24 of the same year stained glass windows, the brass eagle lectern and a Pulpit Bible were dedicated.
Following the death of Queen Victoria a Memorial Service was hold in the church on Sunday morning, January 27, 1901, when Dr. Niven preached from the text "Died in a good old age, full of days, riches and honour”. In accordance with the King’s directive the Glasgow Magistrates proclaimed Saturday, February 2, 1901, a day of general mourning. To quote from the Glasgow Herald of Monday, February 4, 1901 - "The national depression of feeling which naturally followed on the death of Queen Victoria brought about a languor in commercial circles, with the result that towards the end of the week the volume of business was not great. In these circumstances the order for an entire suspension of work of every kind coincided with the prevailing spirit and the appearance of the city was eloquent testimony to the memory of her "who wrought her people lasting good". Not within the recollection of even the proverbial oldest inhabitant bas there been such widespread tokens of mourning. Except in the leading thoroughfares an unwonted stillness filled the air, Public Work, and Offices of all kinds, Warehouses and Shops (including even those which seldom close except by Act of Parliament) and Restaurants as will as places of entertainment, were all closed; while the Law and Police Courts were suspended, as was also work at the harbour. The Railway Companies, the Corporation Tramway Department and Post Office Authorities also modified their ordinary arrangements as much as was consistent with the convenience of the public. Mourning draperies were displayed principally in Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street and other principal streets. At the beginning of the period of national mourning preparations in this respect were based on the assumption that black would be the proper colour, but latterly this sombre hue was relieved by the introduction of imperial purple, and numerous fine effects were obtained from the combination of the two. Flags on public buildings and shipping at the harbour remained at half-mast, and will probably continue to hang in that position, in conformity with the desire of the King, until sunset today at least; while at intervals the city bells tolled. In the west end generally blinds were drawn during the day. Many citizens of all classes wore nothing but black, while others in scarf, or hat, or sleeve band gave indication of mourning." Funeral Services were held throughout the land and Dr. Niven officiated at the Service in Pollokshields parish to which the congregation, parishioners, and residents in the district were respectfully invited.
Dr. Niven's semi-jubilee as minister of Pollokshields Parish was celebrated on June 25, 1901, when he was presented with an inscribed silver salver and a purse of sovereigns. Mrs. Niven received a valuable ring from the ladies of the congregation.
In 1906, Dr, Niven was nominated Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland but unfortunately this honour came too late to be shared with his wife who had died in 1905.
The nation again mourned the 1oss of a sovereign in 1910. A joint Service in memory of His Late Majesty, King Edward VII, was held in Pollokshields Parish Church on Friday, May 20. The ministers taking part were the Rev. Professor Cooper, D.D., Litt.D., the Rev. Alexander Brown, East U. F. Church, Pollokshields; the Rev. F. Cairns, Albert Road U.F. Church; and the Rev. Matthew Stewart, M.A., B.A. (Oxon), B.D., Assistant Minister, Pollokshields Parish. The address was by Professor Cooper who referred to the late King as "Edward the Peacemaker".
Dr. Niven's request to be relieved of his active duties early in 1911 was received with deep regret. During his ministry Pollokshields Parish had become one of the most important and influential churches in Glasgow, the missionary zeal and the generosity of its congregation were well-known throughout the West of Scotland. The vacancy was intimated at the morning service on February 26, 1911, by the Rev. John A.C. Mackellar M.A., B.D., Cathcart.
To find a replacement of Dr. Niven's calibre was not easy. In due course the charge was offered to the Rev. Norman Macleod Caie, M. A., B.D., who accepted the call and was inducted as Assistant and Successor to Dr. Niven on Thursday, September 14, 1911. A dinner to mark the occasion was held later on the same date at the St. Enoch Station Hotel, and at a social meeting of the congregation next meeting, Mr. Caie was presented with new pulpit robes from the ladies of the congregation. The Rev. Dr. John Brown of Bellahouston, the interim moderator during the vacancy, received a gift of books.
The early years of Mr. Caie's, ministry were notable for the many presentations to the church. In 1912, the silver alms-dish was gifted in January; the carved oak communion table, in September; the lamps at the doors, in October; and it was in that year that the Pollokshields Parish Church Golf Challenge Cup was presented.
In 1913, the building was closed during the summer to carry out alterations. The church and hall were repainted and relighted; a chancel paved with marble was formed, but the major change was the installation of a new organ. This instrument was erected by Harrison & Harrison in consultation with the organist and the architect; it is divided and enclosed in a carved oak case with the console detached. The organ consisted of three manuals and pedal and had thirty speaking stops and nine couplers giving it a good range of tone and making it suitable for orchestral music. The builders supplied the most up-to-date accessories, the latest system of tubular-pneumatic action was applied to all the mechanism except the manual-to-pedal coupling action, which was mechanical; and the blowing, which was done by electric power. The cost of the organ and case was £1,800, which was gifted, and the remainder of the work amounted to upwards of £1,200 which had been fully subscribed by the church members. During the alterations the congregation again worshipped in Titwood Parish. Pollokshields Parish reopened on September 7, 1913, when the new organ was dedicated during the morning service at which the Rev. John MacGilchrist, B. A. (Oxon), B. D., of Govan officiated. Three chalices were also presented in 1913.
A new memorial pulpit was erected on the west side of the chancel. The panels of this octagonal pulpit are of Skyros marble with the exception of the carved one in the centre front, which is of statuary Carrara marble. The open arcaded pedestal of alabaster rests on a broad moulded and carved base of Iona marble. Eight corbels, carved to represent a variety of leaves, support the upper structure. Iona marble shafts decorate the angles of the panels; the cornice is carved to represent a vine; and the stair is of carved oak. A green velvet pulpit fall was included in the gift which was dedicated on September 13, 1914, by the Rt. Rev. Professor Nicol, D. D., assisted by Mr. Caie.
One would not need to be very observant to notice the fine collection of pulpit and lectern falls with matching book-marks; these have been given over a considerable period and the use of the different colours is determined by the occasion, namely:
WHITE is used at Special Festivals, on Christmas Day, on Easter Day, and at Communion Services.
PURPLE is used for Lent and Advent.
RED is used for Whit Sunday, Remembrance Day, the Sunday after All Saints' Day, and St. Andrew's Day when it falls on a Sunday.
GREEN is used on Trinity Sunday and the Sundays thereafter up to Advent.
BLUE is not a liturgical colour but for practical reasons it is used in place of White on the Sundays after Christmas and Easter and instead of Green for the weeks between Epiphany and Lent.
On March 5, 1916, Mr. Caie unveiled and dedicated a memorial to the Very Rev. Dr. Niven who had died in December 1914. The memorial is in the west vestibule in the form of an inscribed tablet in a frame of Siena marble, surmounted by a small stained glass window.
During the war years Mr. Caie helped enthusiastically in the work of the Red Cross and an outstanding achievement from his efforts was the erection in April 1916 of a Rest Hut in St. Enoch Square for the use of soldiers and sailors. This hut seems to have been presented by the members of Pollokshields Parish Church to the Young Men's Guild of the Church of Scotland. Later in the same year, on September 16, the carved oak stall, to seat three behind the communion table, was gifted.
Mr. Caie was a brilliant preacher and it was not unusual for the church to be crowded with visitors at his evening services. It was a sad day in 1917 when the congregation learned that he had accepted a call to the First Charge in Hamilton. On October 10, 1917, the church’s 42nd Anniversary, a Farewell Meeting was held at which Mr. Caie was presented with an Album containing An Address signed by the members of the Kirk Session, trustees, and committee of management, on behalf of the congregation. Mrs. Caie received a bureau from the Woman's Guild.
On the following anniversary, October 10, 1918, the Rev. S.J. Ramsay Sibbald, M.V.O., B.D., was inducted to the charge. Wartime austerity had caused many changes and there was no junketing in a city hotel, but at a meeting following the service he was presented with pulpit robes from the congregation. At the same time a presentation was made to the Rev. William Rattray, Tron Church, who had been interim moderator during the vacancy. The Rev. Dr. R. H. Fisher of St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, Chaplain-in-Ordinary to the King, preached at the Introductory Service on the following Sunday.
The War Memorial was unveiled on October 30, 1921, by Lt.-Col. Sir John Gilmour, Bart., D. S. O. Every part of the church was packed, many having to stand in the aisles; the Lord Provost, Magistrates, Town Clerk, and City Officials were present; Lt.- Col. Blair, Officers, and a detachment of the 7th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) with whom many of the fallen were connected; and ex-Service Men and Women formed part of the congregation - the names of 180 men and women are recorded on the Pollokshields Parish Church Roll of Service 1914-1918. Mr. Sibbald conducted the service and the sermon was preached by Mr. Caie. The unveiling took place at the end of the service, after which a laurel wreath was placed at the foot of the memorial and the Last Post was sounded by the bugle-sergeant.
This memorial is the granite cross, over 19 feet in height, within the church grounds and honours the memory of the 34 men connected with Pollokshields Parish Church who lost their lives in the Great War. The cross is set on three octagonal steps and the names of the men are carved on the middle step. The memorial also bears the inscription "They Lived Out Their Lives Unto Death".
The emblems of the four great evangelists are shown on the arms of the cross: a man for St. Matthew; a lion for St. Mark; an ox for St. Luke; an eagle for St. John, with the symbol of the Lamb of God carved in the centre. The panels on the shaft represent victory and should be read from the base upwards to follow the Biblical scenes in their chronological sequence. The first is Melchizedek blessing Abram after his victory over the four kings; the second shows Aaron and Hur supporting the arms of Moses as he holds up his hands while Joshua overcomes Amalek; the third is David after slaying Goliath; the fourth portrays our risen Saviour, His hand raised in benediction, as Conqueror over sin and death; the fifth represents St. Michael who fights for God and the Church against evil. The symbolic carving on the sides of the shaft is similar to that on the Ruthwell Cross but the inclusion of the Arms of the City of Glasgow adds an individual touch to the Pollokshields Memorial. As on the cross at Bewcastle, the back has a panel of simple chequer pattern composed of crosses.
In October 1925, Mr. Sibbald was elected Moderator of the Presbytery of Glasgow and in 1926 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. To celebrate the occasion he was presented with the appropriate robes, and Mrs. Sibbald received a gold bangle from the congregation, who, at the same time, gave them a cheque for three hundred guineas to be used for a holiday abroad.
Special services to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the church were held on May 20, 1928. The Rev. Dr. George Duncan of Govan preached in the morning and Dr. Sibbald officiated in the evening. A Jubilee Renovation Scheme was inaugurated and as a result the church was closed for alterations and the congregation worshipped in the hall for the period commencing January 26, 1930, until the reopening service on May 11, 1930. During that time the chancel was restored and rearranged, advantage being taken of the opportunity to make additions and improvements to the organ. The church and hall were repainted, the electric light installation was completed, and two standard lamps were gifted for use in the chancel.
To mark the occasion Dr. Sibbald presented the three 14th century tapestries fitted into the panels behind the communion table and the tapestry falls on the prayer desks. At the reopening service he dedicated the new work and after the evening service, at which the Rev. Dr. Lauchlan MacLean Watt of Glasgow Cathedral preached, there was a short organ recital.
Following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church in 1929, many churches, including Pollokshields Parish, had to alter their designations. Although perfectly happy to be known locally for many years as "Niven's Kirk", the first Established Church of Scotland in Pollokshields regarded the edict to change its title as an act of lese-majesty. With the greatest reluctance and maximum delay it was decided to acknowledge Glasgow's Patron Saint and adopt "St. Kentigern" in May 1931. The name "Pollokshields Parish Church St. Kentigern's" does not seem to have been socially acceptable and it was used rarely unless it was obligatory. Hereafter it will be abbreviated to "St. Kentigern's" to save space.
Another joint meeting for the churches in Pollokshields took place on Tuesday, January 28, 1936, when a Memorial Service for the late King George V was held in St. Kentigern's at 1.15 p. m. to coincide with the Royal Funeral. The service was conducted by Dr. Sibbald assisted by other local ministers. It had been decreed that a two-minutes silence starting at 1.30 p. m. would be observed throughout the United Kingdom. Gone was the crape of the Victorians but most of the citizens showed their respect in the traditional manner, the men with black ties and the women wearing black hats if not full mourning. The church was filled to capacity, but in all that great congregation united in sorrow at the passing of their Sailor King, none would imagine that before another year had passed King Edward VIII would have abdicated. His brother Albert Frederick Arthur George of Windsor, Duke of York, acceded to the throne on December 10, 1936, as King George VI.
The brass table-lectern must have been about the last memorial gift to be dedicated by Dr. Sibbald before the declaration of World War II on September 3, 1939; an event which would bring an inevitable increase in memorials in the years ahead.
Dr. Sibbald's announcement that he intended to retire in 1940, his twenty- second year as minister of the church, marked the end of an era.
The church was 65 years old and during that time had only three ministers, all men of exceptional merit.
When the Rev. David Jamieson, formerly a Congregationalist, was admitted to the Church of Scotland in 1886, church accommodation was scarce in the neighbourhood of Titwood. Acting on the advice of several ministers and other interested parties Mr. Jamieson and his congregation decided to have an iron church erected within the area now bounded by Darnley Road, Nithsdale Road and Kildrostan Street.
The outside of the "Tin church" was very plain but the interior was comfortable and spacious enough to hold a congregation of 500, The Titwood Chapel of Ease was opened for public worship on September 19. 1886. In the morning the Rev. T. B. W. Niven preached and at the close of the service warmly welcomed the minister and congregation, congratulating them on their progress; the Rev. W.P. Ewen of Kinning Park conducted the afternoon service and the Rev. W.W. Tulloch of Maxwell Parish officiated in the evening.
It was intended that the iron building would be used only until such time as the congregation could have a stone church built on a suitable site. In 1888 Sir John Stirling Maxwell, 10th Baronet, let it be known that the Old Farm Home site at the corner of Glencairn Drive and Leslie Road was available for the erection of a church and Titwood took up the feu.
The memorial stone of the new church was laid in l893 by Lord Blythswood and at the cost of around £9,000 a building in the 18th century style of architecture was erected with room for 1,000 sittings. The English system of stugging the face of the stone both outside and inside was adopted, something quite new in the Glasgow area. The exterior was a blue-grey colour and the interior a rich yellow.
The new church was dedicated on Saturday, March 30, 1895, by the Rev. Dr. Macleod assisted by the Rev. Dr. Niven and the Rev. Mr. Jamieson. At the opening services next day the officiating clergy were the Right Rev. Dr. Story in the morning, Dr. Niven in the afternoon and Dr. Macleod in the evening.
The church was disjoined from Govan Parish during the ministry of the Rev. W. Henry Rankine in 1901 at which date it became Titwood Parish Church; after the 1929 Union it became Titwood Church of Scotland.
The Rev, David Preston who succeeded Mr. Rankine in 1918 intimated his wish to retire from active duty in April, 1941, The old order was changing, there were only 423 members on Titwood's Communion Roll and they had to consider seriously whether or not they should join with another local church.
Having given careful thought to the question of combining with another congregation, Titwood kirk-session made tentative overtures to St. Kentigern's regarding' possible union. At that date St. Kentigern's had 706 names on the communion roll, but, in those war racked times no one could foresee what the future might bring. The proposed merger had the advantage of having to fill only one vacancy and running costs would be reduced considerably. St. Kentigern's agreed and the basis of a settlement was reached to the satisfaction of those concerned.
The Rev. Dr. Alfred Brown of Maxwell Parish had been appointed interim moderator to St. Kentigern's with the Rev. John Muir M.A., B.D., as locum tenens. A joint vacancy committee was set up and from that time forward the representatives of the two churches worked together to ensure that each congregation would be fairly represented in the affairs of the united church.
All through the intricacies and formalities involved in the union, this spirit of co-operation was maintained, a state of affairs by no means guaranteed in such negotiations.
The new united charge would be known as "Pollokshields-Titwood Parish Church" 'and the Original Pollokshields Parish Church would be the building used. On Sunday, June 15, 1941, the union was celebrated in the morning at, service in St. Kentigern's conducted by the Rev. William J. Baxter' M.A., of Dowanhill, Moderator, of the Presbytery of Glasgow. In the evening Mr. Muir conducted service in Titwood; and on Monday, June 16, a Service of Intercession was held at 3 p.m. in Pollokshields- Titwood.
Subsequently Titwood Church was dismantled systematically and the fabric removed to Pollok for re- erected. There, in June 1951, both the Original and a new memoria1 stone were laid and the former Titwood rose again as St. James' (Pollok) parish Church.
The Titwood First World War Memorial took the form of a stained glass window above a bronze tablet listing the names of the men connected with the church who died in that holocaust; the victim, numbered 34, the same as from Pollokshields Parish. The tablet also has the inscription "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This". It was not feasible to transfer the widow to Pollokshields- Titwood, but the tablet was taken there and fixed to the east interior wall. An explanatory Plaque was added to the original Wording.
Titwood’s, individual communion Vessels would be used at all communions and the common cups and other communion plate would be used at alternate communions. With two communion Sundays and Easter, each church's, common cups and plate would be used twice one year and once the following year.
The Rev. William T. Smellie, O.B.E., M.A., was translated to the charge as Colleague and Successor to Dr. Sibbald and Mr. Preston. His induction took place on August 1, 1941, and dispensing with the customary Introductory Service, Mr. Smellie "preached himself in" on the following Sunday. To be the first minister of a newly united congregation is on a par with being appointed ambassador extraordinary and Mr. Smellie fulfilled his duties in this respect most efficiently.
In 1946 Mr. Smellie celebrated his semi-jubilee in the ministry on February 17 and his silver wedding anniversary on March 31. The congregation expressed their congratulations by the presentation of gifts.
The Pollokshields - Titwood War Memorial was dedicated on November 28, 1948, by the Very Rev. Dr. Matthew Stewart, erstwhile assistant at Pollokshields Parish and successor to the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod Caie at Hamilton. The memorial is on the west interior wall matching the Titwood one opposite. The bronze tablet is set in a frame of Hopton Wood stone; the names are set out to the right of a Crown above a Cross betokening the text "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." The designer refers to the event ~ "The War of the Four Freedom," and these are symbolised in the corners by: (1) the ears of corn representing freedom from want; (2) the descending dove as freedom from fear; (3) the open book for freedom of thought; and (4) the praying hands indicating freedom of worship. Both interior memorials are surmounted by lamps which, when lit, cast a red glow over the names on the tablets.
The unexpected death of King George VI on F February 6, 1952 corneas a great shook to the nation. On the following Sunday Mr. Smellie preached appropriate sermons and the anthems sung were "Blest are the Departed who in the Lord are Sleeping" in the forenoon and in the evening "Come Unto Me All Ye That Labour". The Royal Funeral took place on February 15, 'and in accordance with the Queen's wish, bells tolled at intervals during the day and, two-minutes silence was observed from 2 p.m. as a token of respect. The Lord Provost of Glasgow issued recommendation that commercial and business premises should close from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. A united service for the district was held in Pollokshields-Titwood Parish Church during the period of the Royal Funeral. Although the outward symbols of mourning were scant in comparison with those at previous similar services there was none present who did not think with sincere sympathy of the widow who had encouraged and sustained His Late Majesty during his reign; and of his elder daughter who at the age of 25 years had the burden of the monarchy laid on her slim shoulders.
In 1954 the organ was overhauled at a cost of £1, 862, a larger sum than the purchase price of the organ and case. That the money was well spent is indicated by an item in the press naming it as one of the mort distinguished instruments in the Glasgow area, as recently as 1972. It was also in the year 1954 that Mr. Smellie was Moderator, of the Presbytery of Glasgow.
The news of Mr. Smellie's very sudden death on December 5, 1955, stunned the congregation of Pollokshields-Titwood Parish Church.
The Rev. A. Allan McArthur M.A., B.D., Ph.D., was inducted to the charge on September 27, 1956. A Welcoming Social was hold in the church hall on September 28, when presentations were made to Dr. & Mrs. McArthur and to the Rev. Hugh Anderson, M.A., B.D., Ph.D., of Trinity Church, Pollokshields, interim moderator during the vacancy. The Rev. George I. Francis, M.A., of Peterhead West Associate Church, preached at the introductory service on the following Sunday morning.
Dr. McArthur had no easy task ahead of him. This was a very difficult period in the history of the suburb. The population of Pollokshields was dwindling steadily and many of the houses were derelict, an asset to land speculators, but a temptation to vandals and an eyesore to all.
On October 13, 1957, Dr. McArthur conducted a special morning service at which the Rev. Professor John Mauchline, D.D., Principal of Trinity College, dedicated an electronic Carillon as a memorial to Mr. Smellie from the congregation. This equipment comprises a keyboard at the organ console, a test reproducer on the organ frame, the electronic device, and four stentorophones in the belfry, to make room for which the old church bell had to be removed. The carillon can produce automatic chimes or tunes as required and is reputed to have a sound range of about 1.5 miles. Inside the lid of the keyboard is a suitably inscribed silver plate. The blue carpet for the chancel steps and the blue quilted curtains for the vestibule doors, gifted as a memorial to Mr. Smellie, were brought into use on the same day.
In 1959 a grand cleaning and decorating operation was undertaken at a cost of £1, 950 which was met by donations from the congregation.
The most outstanding result was the effect of the stained glass windows glowing without their screens of grime.
Dr. McArthur was appointed to the three-year Hastie Lectureship at the University of Glasgow in 1962. On December 9 of the same year he dedicated new choir robes at the start of the morning service. These blue robes blend very pleasantly with their surroundings and add another touch of colour to the chancel.
In 1964 Dr. McArthur was commissioned to act as an observer at the third session of the Second Vatican Council and in 1965 he accepted a call to St. Mary's, Edinburgh.
Dr. McArthur preached his Farewell Service on Whit Sunday, June 6, 1965, to a congregation parting reluctantly with an eminent theologian and a conscientious and sympathetic pastor.
The previous ten years had seen further social and economic changes in the district. Pollokshields-Titwood was living virtually on borrowed time when the Rev. Arthur H. Gray, M. A., was inducted on April 21, 1966.
One item of paramount importance to the church was the demolition of a great number of villas to be replaced by blocks of flats in the St. Andrew's Drive area. As many of the incoming householders had not lived in the parish previously, Mr. Gray and Father Brady of St. Albert's together visited the newcomers to welcome them and extend an invitation to join the appropriate congregation.
Concurrently with the building of the flats, Mr. Gray was struggling to attract more members to the congregation but the lack of facilities for young people was a brake on his efforts. There was not enough space for several activities to be carried on at the same time and there was neither ground nor cash available for building additional premises.
This problem was solved when the house at 523, Shields Road, next to the church hall, came on the market. It was decided that Pollokshields-Titwood would purchase what is now known as Church House, thus acquiring potential accommodation for church activities and for community purposes, also, what the ladies had long yearned for, up-to-date kitchen quarters. Needless to say, the renovation of Church House for its new role was a major and costly operation; and it was not accomplished overnight, nor could it have been done at all, without the band of volunteers who gave their time and talents without stint.
In his first charge, St. Francis-in-the-East, Mr. Gray took over and extended the work begun by his predecessor and Church House there became a Community Centre and Youth Club. The experience so gained was invaluable to Pollokshields-Titwood. Although the troubles of Bridgeton in the 1930s were different from those of Pollokshields in the 1960s, the solutions required the same deep understanding of human nature and human needs. Church House in Shields Road is now well established; its Coffee Break and the Toddlers' Club are accepted as amenities for the community, not just for the church members. It is recognised that Pollokshields-Titwood is a church that cares.
The old hearing aids had become obsolete and on September 3, 1972, a new sound improvement system was dedicated by Mr. Gray and brought into use with very satisfactory results.
Representatives of Pollokshields-Titwood were literally in the picture on Sunday, January 26, 1975, when Mr. Gray with the church organist, choir, and about 120 of the congregation were seen on S. T. V. in "Act of Worship" from the John Ross Memorial Church.
Many of the new residents have joined the congregation and there has been a marked increase in the number of young people attending the Sunday School, Bible Class and Youth Organisations. All are warmly welcomed into the family of Pollokshields-Titwood.
It is thanks to Mr. Gray that the church has survived its period under intensive care to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of that opening service on October 10, 1978, but what of the future? I asked that question of the present minister and, after reflection, he wrote: -
"There are problems and concerns on every side - warfare, inflation, international unrest, huge social changes. Yet for one hundred years this building has looked out on change and warfare and always the changeless needs of human hearts. These years also are rich in mercies, enlightened by Providence, blessed by His promises in the Gospel that do not fail. It is strengthened by these assurances that the congregation of this place must face the future with quiet heart willing to be led by His Spirit through all changes for the continued service of this district and its people. "