St Josephs Church and School

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Old Blantyre Churches

St Joseph’s Church and School

St Joseph's Church and School St. Joseph’s School and Church was situated in Glasgow Road opposite Stonefield Road. Built in 1878 and was used weekdays as a school and Sundays and Holy Days as a Chapel replacing the Hall of Worship in Dixon’s Rows which was four house units converted into a church hall. The Church could accommodate 620 sittings.
Dixons Raws

The present day St. Joseph’s R.C. Church was built adjacent to it in 1905 and can be seen in the background of this photo in relation to one another.

I was surprised that there are no more photos of the two buildings together. It was our friend William Ross who pointed it out to me when I previously posted the ploughman photo.

 Russell's Farm

From the left we have David Livingstone Memorial Church, St. Joseph’s R.C. Church and next, the St Joseph’s Church and School.

St Joseph's Church and School But after a long and intensive search I came across this unique photo.
William Ross wrote: “The layout of the school in the 50’s was that building known as the old school building a gap and the new building. To the right you had boys and girls toilet block. There was a gap and small building. Behind this was the prefabs, this was the junior secondary. The primary school was three sides of square of wooden huts situated to the right of the toilets and before the prefabs.


St Joseph's 1903
St Joseph's Build 1905

In 1889, the ground of the existing St. Joseph’s School and Church was extended by some 80 feet to the west in order to accommodate a new Church. The go ahead to build a new Church in 1898 was given by the Archbishop of Glasgow and work began on the Gothic style Church, which can accommodate 1,000 people, in 1904.

The Church was designed by Messrs Pugin and Pugin of London at an approximate cost of £10,000, (£1,075,000 in today’s money). The opening sermon was preached by Rev John A Maquire, Archbishop of Glasgow on the 10th June, 1905.

Father Hackett was appointed Priest in 1888 at the old School Church, adjacent to this new build and served in the new Church until his death on 5th March 1921.

Affectionately known as “The Doc”, by his faithful parishioners, they built a new High Alter, which is still there today, in his memory.

Source: Diocese of Motherwell

Photo: Neil Gordon’s Blantyre An Historical Dictionary


Thomas Hamilton-Hailes St Joseph’s was where I had my first day at school in 1959 … and I was a prod. It took till dinnertime before the Police could calm my mother by saying they’d found me: I’d got fed up waiting for her to get ready and wandered off from Fernslea Avenue to the only school that I knew about; and where all my neighbourhood friends went to.

I still have a perfect recollection of that wonderful first morning at school … and of the two “Blantyr Polis” comin’ in to take me home to my frantic mammy. After the term break, the catholic school started back a week before the prods and so there I was sitting outside the door in my wee Royal blue short trouser suit ready for my first day at school … which should have been the Nessies. Probably thinking I was a big boy now that I was going to school, I joined my mates and walked off down to school with them In their classroom the teacher wanted to know who I was and various answers such as “That’s wee Tom from downstairs frae us,” didn’t help her much. A priest was brought in to help sort out who this strange wee boy was but he didn’t recognise me as one of his flock. The desks were amazing; you could lift the desktop up and ,,, Lo … there was a wee blackboard with chalk: I’m loving this. We had to close our desks and put our heads down on our crossed arms on the desktop; to keep quite while the teacher and the priest left the classroom to try and sort this out with the head master … who might have been responsible in the end for getting in touch with the police. Took me a long time to get used to the Nessies … mainly because their wee desks didn’t have that great wee blackboard but rather a fixed top with a silly wee shelf under it. Always treasured my first day at school.


Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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