Standing by the water's edge...
Come! Dip your toe in the water.
ABBOTSFORD CHURCH stands at the end of Abbotsford Road, Clydebank, the road being named after the church rather than the other way round (more of which below!). Both were constructed in the latter half of the 1970's during the building of the Clydebank Shopping Centre and the church itself lies on the site of the old 'Killer's Lane'... named after nothing more sinister than an early abattoir which stood nearby!!!
The church also backs on to the Forth & Clyde Canal (see photo above).
Abbotsford's history is rooted in the early days of Shipbuilding on the River Clyde, just as Clydebank was springing up and getting its name.
J. & G. Thompsonʼs Yard was relocated from Govan to the Barns Oʼ Clyde in 1871 to take advantage of the fact that larger ships could be launched due to its location opposite the River Cart.
The new town of Clydebank soon sprung up around the yard and a ʻQuoad Sacraʼ church was established on the site circa 1875 to meet the initial needs of the workers.
St Jamesʼ Parish Church was built in 1876 and we have a minute book from that time showing the formation of a Kirk Session.
However, as a result of the re-development of Clydebank Town Centre in the early 1970ʼs, St. Jamesʼ Parish Church was demolished and the congregation went into a union with Clydebank West Church. The West Church was also later demolished as part of the on-going re-development.
A replacement church was built and one of our Elders, the late John McMillan who was a painter in John Brown's Yard, put forward the name Abbotsford in recognition of the fact that Monks once crossed the River Clyde from Paisley Abbey at a ford nearby. This was long before the days when the river started to be dredged to allow shipping and it was therefore still shallow.
The Abbotsford name was agreed for the new church and helped to maintain the link, both with the nearby river and religion.
The new church was officially opened in 1978 and stands alongside the recently refurbished ʻThree Queens Squareʼ, again a testimony to that proud shipbuilding tradition.
Abbotsford has been served by four ministers over the years since it was built. However, following the re-location of our third minister in 2011, the local Presbytery Plan came into effect and we were linked with nearby Dalmuir Barclay.
Further plans are now on the table, so the history books will no doubt need to be updated once again.
For a 360˚ view of the interior of our church, click HERE! (Got an iPad? - see below first*)
This gives a fantastic panorama of the inside of our kirk when empty but, shhhh... You'll waken the church mouse (and please close the door behind you in case it gets out).
We know it's not about the building, but it is very clever how you can do this and many thanks to our property convenor's son Campbell McKerracher for providing the means.
The building is basically square in shape (as you will see if you point the camera towards the roof and zoom out) with the pews radiating out from one corner in which sits the chancel. For most of the year our resident 'CRAFT DAFT' group provide ever changing banners on the two 'side' walls as well as the tryptich in the chancel.
The seated balcony spans, in a slight curve, the two 'rear' walls and is home to our excellent pipe organ, taken and refurbished from the old St James' Parish Church.
In the 360˚picture, the chancel is set for baptism, our font being a tree stump (taken from a local bog and painstakingly cleaned) in which sits a glass bowl.
*Got an iPad?:
PLEASE NOTE that the link will unfortunately not work on an iPad - you need 'Adobe Flash Player' version 9 or higher for it to work!