ST ANDREW'S PARISH CHURCH, Main Road, Alexandria.
ACCESS : Easy (if the gate isn't locked).
Demolished : October 2022 after fires.
BUILDINGS AT RISK REGISTER for Scotland : 6159
Built in 1840. This church building had the traditional Gothic hall layout. The front facade was dignified and when seen through those tall black railings with pink blossoms cascading down could be quite a sight.
The building had been vacant for some time. Since ceasing to be used for ecclesiastic purposes and having served as a childrens soft play centre for a few years, it began to deteriorate further. An intermediate level had been installed to better utilised the large volume. Buildings can be difficult to keep totally secure and weather proof and creepers managed to squeeze in under the render.
Extract from a map of c 1859. NLS ©
On the evening of Saturday the 23rd April 2022, great plumes of geay smoke drifted westwards from the church; sporadic black smoke bursting upwards from the large flames. This was the second fire here in this month, but this time it was really catastrophic. Surprisingly, by the next morning the walls were still standing.
This building which has so long been the subject of concern of its future, has suddenly taken another step. Which direction though? Does this mean that it must now languish for years as an unused ruin? (as does Milburn Church down the road). Or does it being so now severely damaged mean that it must now be demolished? Perhaps the answer is somewhere inbetween. Remember that the whole of the premises is very important historically and socially. This includes a very significant graveyard and the Smollett Mausoleum and there are beautiful trees. Perhaps more can be made of that setting and the existing main church building simply reduced down to its principle elements of tower and spire; a monument to a greater earlier congregation and community.
See the churchyard here : index.asp?pageid=717504
See Smolletts Mausoleum here : index.asp?pageid=715706
View from Carman Hill on the evening of 23rd April 2022.
A lovely Sunday morning - the morning after the fire.
In spite of the great quantity of bellowing smoke the evening before, the main structure remained standing.
In the last week of October 2022, this church was demolished!
The site retains the gravestone and the Smollett Mausoleum. See the page on that for further details. [index.asp?pageid=715706].
This image comes from the WDC online archives collection. It shows St Andrew's Church in about 1910 looking in the direction of Renton. Its role, not only religious and cultural, but also that of a strong urban streetscape focus and pivot point is very strongly illustrated. That is now missing. It also formed a ounterpoint to the Smaollett Fountain at the Bank Street intersection.
BUILDINGS AT RISK REGISTER FOR SCOTLAND : https://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/search/keyword/alexandria/event_id/1022149/building_name/st-andrews-parish-church-main-street-alexandria
HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT SCOTLAND website for listed buildings : http://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/LB1136
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND (NLS) : map extract above taken from Ordinance Survey Map "Alexandria - Sheet XVIII.9.20. Surveyed: ". https://maps.nls.uk/view/74415045