Derelict Cochrane Chapel

I recently asked if anybody knew when the former Cochrane Chapel, at Priory Bridge was demolished. There were suggestions from you all that it was 1980s or early 90s.

This newspaper clipping is from 29th December 1989 and helps somewhat. It was by then in ruins, but still standing. It is transcribed as follows:

“Mystery surrounds the ownership of a disused chapel in Blantyre which has fallen into disrepair and is now described as being in a dangerous condition.

Hamilton District Council have already taken steps to secure the fence and gate which surrounds the dilapidated chapel, which is situated between Jura Drive and the River Calder. However, they insist they don’t own the ground. But residents in the nearby Priory Bridge housing estate are demanding prompt action to solve the ownership mystery.

The residents have been trying unsuccessfully for months to discover who owns the chapel. One of the Priory Bridge residents, John Campbell said, “We seem to be going round in circles. We contacted the District Council but they said they don’t own the land. We have tried to find out through the Land Registry in Edinburgh without any luck and we heard the land was owned by British Coal but they say it does not belong to them.”

Mr Campbell added, “The chapel was built as a memorial and there are gravestones surrounding it. Naturally, an old building provides a great attraction to youngsters. However, if something happens to a youngster there because the building is unsafe, then who is responsible?”

“The walls are in a very dangerous condition and the whole building has been badly vandalised. We want the ownership question to be sorted out and the rightful owners to do something about this dangerous building. A plaque on the chapel wall shows that it was built in memory of Pelham Maitland Cochrane who was killed by a train in Calderglen on July 14th 1883 [Corrected here to 1884].

Part of the area was used as a graveyard with interments taking place as late as 1954. Hamilton District Council are continuing legal searches to resolve the ownership issue, although they are sure that the land does NOT belong to them. Their spokesman said, “As soon as we were contacted about the building we carried out an inspection. The surrounding fence and gate were insecure and we immediately took measures to rectify this. Our legal department are continuing to search for the owners of the land.”

Pictured perhaps a few years earlier than the newspaper report during the 1980’s, is a smashing photo of the derelict chapel, exclusively shown here, courtesy of Marion Brownlie. With thanks to Alex Rochead for the quality scan.

The demolition of the chapel did take place in the early 1990’s, the gravestones toppled to be made safe.

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