At the beginning of 1989, the Blantyre Parish Church Halls were to be demolished on Main Street at the corner of Hunthill Road. The building had served its time well and proposal for a modern, new hall were made. Whilst there were some that thought the building could have been saved, necessary improvements and modernisation at this bad junction was necessary, with buses always struggling to turn. The public were full of nostalgia upon seeing the demolition of the hall and this prompted some to write into the local newspapers with their memories. Margaret MacKenzie is the widow of the Rev. Archibald MacKenzie and on 22nd February 1989, she wrote to the Church Session Clerk.
“Dear Tom McLean, I have just received a “cutting” from Hamilton Advertiser with comments and photographs of Blantyre Old Church Hall. Like many I am sad to see it go but for many like me there will be happy memories. The old hall was good for its time and if I recall rightly the people of the parish subscribed 6d a week to build it. Many a time I felt sorry for the ladies, etc. carrying teas and cakes from kitchen to upper hall and up those dreadful stairs. Do hope they won’t have a stair to climb in the new hall.
You won’t know but during the war, I stoked the Old Hall boiler fire to get the hall heated for the Woman’s Guild as there was no one available after the Minister lit it. Changed days now, Ministers wives don’t do anything like I did. Remember the night I called at the Badminton Club to get the players to go and help out at the Glebe Cottage in the Brickie as papers were stored in Refuse Building next door and a fire was blazing. I have so many memories.
Money was scarce in my husband’s ministry but the congregation did what they could and as the years have prospered them, so they have helped the church to prosper too. You must have reasoned with as many different ministers in your 40 years as Session Clerk and be so pleased that so much has been achieved. You have been loyal to the church and to your position as Session Clerk and may you continue to do so and be blessed with good health.
I started the New Manse building fund although I knew I would never occupy it and gladly Women’s Guild (W.G). members supported me. Was sorry I never saw over the new manse but perhaps some day I may see the New Halls. Time is marching on for me on these earthly scenes, I am 84 years young in May, getting a little deaf , but could be worse. Hope May and the family are all well and prosperous. Kindest regards ,Yours faithfully , Margaret M G MacKenzie , P.S. My husband and I planted trees in Manse Drive.”
Letter Courtesy of Blantyre Old Parish Church via Anne Ellis (McLean) October 2009