Prior to 1905, the Methodist congregation had been for many years worshipping in Dixon’s Halls just off Stonefield Road and for a long time had been feeling that accommodation was not sufficient for their needs. Year after year, especially as the 1890’s progressed to 1900, the congregation had been steadily growing and this was an important factor in the decision for them to build their own dedicated church.
With this in mind, a site was chosen on the north side of Glasgow Road in 1903, in a vacant spot between Joanna Terrace and the former Alexandra Place.
A start was made on the new church on 1st April 1905 with turf cut, levelling and the commencement of foundation trenches, and it took until a fortnight later on Saturday 15th April 1905 for an official foundation laying ceremony to be held.
The Ceremony of laying the memorial foundation stones was conducted under exceedingly good weather. Warm, dry and strong Springtime sunshine were the order of the day. It took place before a large gathering of the public, estimated to be 1,000 people.
On a platform erected within the proposed building footprint were a large gathering of ministers belonging to the Methodist body and a number of local gentlemen and other individuals. The ceremony was presided over by Rev Oliphant Hirst of Shettleston, commencing with a hymn entitled, “And While the Great Eternal God” which was followed by a prayer from the Rev J.F Sainty, a former pastor.
Another hymn was sung, then an address was given by Rev S Horton of Edinburgh who ably gave an account of the history of the congregation from its commencement and brought forward reasons why the congregation had now to build their own church.
As the sunshine continued, a crane was put into motion and up stepped ,local celebrity Mr William Rae, the famous bonesetter who lived only a matter of yards away at the top of nearby Station Road. The Rev Mr Stott of Wishaw introduced Mr Rae who then laid the first stone using the help of the crane. The Rev took great delight in telling Mr Rae, he was glad to see him taking an interest in men’s souls as well as the health of their bodies! Presenting him with a silver trowel, Rev Stott added that he hoped the church would be as successful in healing the souls of men. [Applause]
After the stone had been placed, Mr Rae who received a tremendous ovation said, “I declare this stone to be rightly and truly laid to the glory and honour of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Applause]
The other stones were laid by the Rev Gorton, Pastor of the Church, Mr Richard Colquhoun of High Blantyre, Mr Richard Thomson superintendent of the Sabbath School, Rev Gilbert of Hamilton and the Rev P.O Hirst of Shettleston. The proceedings were then brought to a close with a vote of thanks proposed by Rev J Ritson and the signing of the doxology. After the ceremony, a large company met in the nearby hall of the Livingstone Memorial Church where tea was supplied to over 400 people, the hall well filled.
This was all change in this area. Nearby new tenement on Glasgow Road and as this laying ceremony took place, the final touches were being put on the construction of the adjacent St Josephs Church.
Pictured not too long after opening is the Primitive Methodist Church which would later become the Bethany Hall and now today, a modern nursery school.