Churches Tribute to Victoria, 1901

Sunday 27th January 1901 was a solemn day for Blantyre, as congregations throughout various churches in the area, remembered the late Queen Victoria The royal monarch had passed away on 22nd January, only the week before. The churches were busy, as for many people this was a way to show their respect. The church buildings were also decorated, fittingly for the passing of a Victorian royal.

For example, David Livingstone Memorial Church (then called Livingstone Memorial United Free Church) on Glasgow Road covered the organ, pulpit and wooden backdrop in black, so as not a piece of wood was left exposed. The black background merged with the choir, also dressed from head to toe in black. Rev T.A.Hugh took his sermon from Proverbs xxxi 10, “Who can find a virtuous woman?”

The Rev paid a warm tribute to the late Queen then the organist played “the Dead March” as the whole congregation stood on their feet. Throughout other churches in Blantyre, the Dead March played at the same time. In High Blantyre’s Parish Church Rev Turnbull conducted a similar service, the Dead March playing also. In Stonefield Parish Church on Glasgow Road, Rev Thomas Pryde with similar efforts with focus on telling “Victoria’s story of empire” and how now through her majestic ruling, in 1901 more than a fifth of humans on Earth were under “the betterment and rule of British Empire”.

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