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B LISTED. Dumbarton Town Centre Conservation Area.

ACCESS : Easy for everyone.


Today this is a shopping centre, one with small commercial units squeezed in. It is not attractive in there, but you could be relieved to find something you have been looking for for ages. It includes a watch and jewelry repairman, someone who could fix your phone, someone selling baby and children's clothes and others. 

But it was built as the Free High Church and was the north westerly counterpoise to the Parish Church at the other end of the High Street. 

The listing text tells us that it was designed by the architect John Honeyman, and Built in 1863-64. The style is early English Gothic. It has a rectangular-plan, with 3-stage square tower at north east corner capped by tall, broached spire.

The foundation stone was laid on the 13th July 1863. The church hall to the rear was designed by Baird & Thomson in 1902, but this was demolished in 1981/82 to create a leisure facility. 

So what happened to the congregation? In 1900, the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church combined to form a United Free Church. A small minority of the Free Church felt uncomfortable with the union and chose to remain separate, and remained in control of the building on the High Street. This led to them being forced to leave, the remaining congregation then eventually deciding to build a new church in Latta Street. [Dumbarton Free Church website]. 

These photos were taken before the vegetation (buddleia) was removed, but it shows how easily it can take hold. While its current use and condition is not exactly inspirational, it is a very valuable building that contributes greatly to the High Street and the Conservation Area. 

DUMBARTON FREE CHURCH website : https://www.dumbartonfreehighchurch.com/our-history

HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT SCOTLAND, listing text : https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/LB24889

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