Blantyre German Congregation – 1903


Hamilton Advertiser on 3rd January 1903, reported on an event where a Blantyre minister made German immigrants in Blantyre feel more welcomed at New Year. It says,

“On the 29th December 1902, Pastor Geyer engaged a large saloon carriage to bring all the Germans from Blantyre and Hamilton to the Christmas tree in the German Church, Woodlands Road, Glasgow.

The Rev John Burleigh, who organised this little German congregation, accompanied the party, consisting of parents and children. A warm reception was given at the church to the Blantyre friends. During the evening there were songs, recitation, and speeches in German and English. Pastor Geyer gave an address in German to his people. The Glasgow Norwegian minister spoke also in German having for his subject “Martin Luther.” The Rev. Thomas Pryde followed with an address in English, choosing for his theme “A Christmas tree.”

The Rev. John Burleigh then addressed the gathering, giving a brief account of the origin and history of the German congregation which meets in his church in Blantyre. It was amusing to hear of the way he became the first pastor of the Germans in Blantyre. Finding his task rather difficult, he was delighted to find Pastor Geyer, and to make him his successor, in order that the work might be more efficiently done. Pastor Geyer has got a strong hold on the affections of his fellow countrymen and visits them all over the district, and rides out on his bicycle on Sunday to preach and dispense the ordinance of a Lutheran pastor. The Rev. John Burleigh returned with his large company to Blantyre Station, where he was very heartily thanked by the Germans for all the deep interest he had taken in them, at the same time stating that it had been the happiest night they had had since they left their German homes.” 

Although the first British census dates from 1801, the first which counted immigrants on a nation-wide scale did not occur until 1861. From that time until 1891, Germans formed the largest continental grouping in this country. It is assumed that these German folk, like many other immigrants were pursuing employment in the Blantyre mines. The associated depiction shows the mass emigration from German ports in the late 1870s.

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