You may remember a short time ago, I posted about old Robin Downie of Priestfield (pictured). Well, here is some information relating to the Baptist Church and good, solid confirmation of where the High Blantyre Bethany Hall was. Norma Marr who lives in Canada kindly emailed me a few weeks ago to say,
However, the notes added by Jimmie later on the reverse pages may be a little inaccurate…..for Gordon Cook, local historian told me of this, “The Bethany Hall was actually a hut at the corner of Cemetery Road and Main Street, High Blantyre, and was a great centre for evangelistic meetings with many visiting speakers, they used to advertise the meetings in the local press.
The school Lane Hall associated with Walter Wilson was the old school hall, Walter Wilson was a member of the Lanarkshire Christian Union and he was also a member of another Christian fellowship group (can’t quite remember its name), and because of these meetings being held there it became known as the Christian Institute.
Pastor Wilson didn’t have any connection to the Bethany Hall, but he did start out as a Sunday School teacher for the Rev. John Burleigh I think. He taught his class in the Masonic Hall at High Blantyre for a while until they were told the couldn’t use the room any more, and while he was looking for another place for the kids, his father who was a manager in the Auchinraith Colliery, offered the ambulance room there with all the coal they needed and plenty of light.
Walter attended the Anderson church for while, but when he became convinced that adult “believer’s” baptism was the correct mode of baptism (as opposed to infant baptism practised in the Church of Scotland) he left and with about thirteen other like minded folk, they began a baptist meeting in the old school at School Lane. This was in 1896. By 1910 they had about 50 members and paid £100 for a small billiard hall on the Main Street, it had been built by an Italian gentleman some years before. The fellowship from School Lane officially opened it for worship in 1911, and that became the Baptist Church in High Blantyre for the next sixty years, and was known locally as Wattie Wilson’s wee tin kirk. It was taken down and replaced with the present church in 1971.”
On social media: