St Joseph’s Churches, 1918

What a wonderful, charming photo this is, from an era of bygone Blantyre times. At over 100 years old, this WW1 photo has both the St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road (by then only standing for 13 years) and the older School / Chapel adjacent.

How nice it would have been to see trams trundling by these buildings and I’m sure the priest and congregation must have offered many prayers for the soldiers off fighting when this picture was taken. Here’s an interesting face once told to me from history colleague, Gordon Cook. During the 1887 Blantyre riots, as the miners looted and pillaged the streets and shops, the old chapel stood alone on this site and though used as a school, was commandeered by the police and the hussars (horseback officials) as their base of operations. I can imagine those officers grouping at the building and being deployed throughout the nearby streets attempting to restore law and order!


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  1. Michael Glangevlin McGovern

    My mom Helen Dolan was baptized here in 1914, as were her 4 siblings baptized here. Her parents Thomas Dolan and Helen/Ellen Girvin were married here in 1911. I will be visiting this Church in 2023 from New York, my first time in Blantyre.

  2. I remember the church and standing in envy near the italian icecream shop on the opposite corner, watching the wee girls like me, in their white dresses, gloves and black patent shoes going for their first communion. It was quite a powerful place back then.

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