St Joseph’s RC Church

On Saturday 17th June 1905, the Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly Newspaper issued an article to let excited readers know about the handsome new church which had just been erected for the congregation of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Blantyre. It says,

“The edifice will be solemnly and formally opened tomorrow (Trinity Sunday) by His Grace Archbishop MacGuire, who will preach a special sermon in the forenoon when High Mass will be celebrated. The church, which is now completed faces the Glasgow Road at its junction with Stonefield Road, and forms a distinctly picturesque feature of the district. “

The design is in the early Gothic style of architecture, and consists of chancel, nave, side chapels, aisles. confessionals, baptistery, sacristies, choir gallery. etc. The total length of the building outside is 142 feet. exclusive of the baptistery, which projects another 15 feet to the front. The width is 62 feet, and the height 60 feet to the point of the cross.”

“The nave is divided into six bays, is 30 feet wide and 96 feet long. Splendid light is given by windows in the south gable and by three light cusped windows in each bay of the olerestory, which is supported by an arcading dividing the nave from the aisles. In each bay of the aisles there is a three-light window, with traceried heading. The chancel is apsidal in form, and is divided from nave by an extra main cupola filled in with tracery work, and finished with three strong copper eyes for rood screen. The chancel wall over the altar is pierced with a large rose window, 12 feet in diameter, the sill of which is 30 feet from the floor of the chancel. There are two three-light windows, with cusped heads on each side of the chancel, which throw a good light upon the altar. The north wall of the chapel on the Gospel side is pierced with a quatrefoil window. “

“There are two chapels. One on the Gospel side and the other on the Epistle side. They are approached from the chancel through arches. In the facade, which is the principal feature of the structure, are placed the three doorways, which are arched and deeply recessed to receive the doors. There are also two aide doors, one at the upper end of each of the aisles, that on the Epistle side leading into the school playground, and that upon the Gospel side abutting on Mayberry Plane. The facade gable is strongly buttressed both at the sides and in the centre. In the centre buttress is placed a niche, containing a beautifully carved statue of St. Joseph, the patron of the church. Between the buttresses are two arched recesses rising to a height of 39 feet and filled in with two three light windows which shed a flood of light into the interior from the front. In the upper portions of the windows an admirable effect has been produced by gracefully arranged tracery work. Above these in the centre of the gable is a rose window, filled with perpendicular mullions. “

“The church is built of red stone, the facing rockfaced, and the dressings polished. The church, both inside and out is pleasing and effective and will rank as one of the finest churches of the Archdiocese of Glasgow. The architects are Messrs Pugin & Pugin of London and the total cost of the structure is about £9,000. On hand was Mr Peter Hannigan of Cambuslang, a promising amateur, for the above photo.” (which we put on the website yesterday).

Photo attached today is later, taken in the 1920s.

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