In the late nineteenth century, the main road from Glasgow to Clarkston passed through the rural village of Netherlee. The village was surrounded by farmland, with Netherlee Printworks – providing work for many local residents – sited east on the River Cart, and Giffnock Quarries – source of the honey sandstone used for many fine Glasgow buildings – to the west.
Prior to the First World War, red sandstone terraces began to line Clarkston Road, linking Muirend to Netherlee. It was not until the 1920s, probably due to building constraints during the war, that the major expansion of terraced houses in Ormonde Avenue, Ormonde Drive, Ormonde Crescent, Deanwood Drive and First Avenue took place. With this surge in population came the need for a new church.
Discussions between the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland led to Netherlee being assigned to the United Free Church. A site at the junction of Ormonde Avenue and Ormonde Drive was secured in 1926, but lack of funds meant that building work could not begin as planned. However, in February 1927, a fire at College and Kelvingrove Church led to a donation of £15000 going to Netherlee, allowing building to commence on a church hall and offices.
In January 1928, the Rev. Thomas Currie became minister in charge, gathering support for the new church by visiting homes in the district. Through his efforts, the congregation grew rapidly. Services began in the new Hall Church, which was entered via an arched, south-facing doorway. This doorway remained the link between the original halls and the current church building until 1992, when further alterations took place to create our Welcome Hall.
On 28 April 1928, a provisional Kirk Session met, comprising Moderator, the Rev. McCallum Robertson, and six assessor elders appointed by the Presbytery. By the next Kirk Session meeting in May, it was recorded that 22 people from 10 families had transferred to Netherlee, and that there was 60 children in the Sunday School.
At a congregational meeting on 7 November 1928, it was agreed that a Committee of Management of twelve members should be appointed, along with a Kirk Session of eight members. Thirteen names were put forward for election to this first Kirk Session. Netherlee’s first Session Clerk was a McKenzie Smith, who served for 30 years, and the first Clerk to the Management Committee was Andrew Gow, who served for over 25 years. However, it was not until 25 March 1973 that the first women elders – Euphemia Coutts, May Donaldson, Irene Morton and May Russell – were ordained.
In 1929, the United Free Church amalgamated with the Church of Scotland, and Netherlee became the Church of Scotland parish church it is today. Fifteen months after the Hall Church opened, Rev. Currie was called to a church in Moffat. The congregation then called our first minister, the Rev. John Riddell, formerly of the High Church, Forres. Rev. Riddell was inducted on 19 September 1929. During his five year ministry, he greatly extended membership of Netherlee Church to over 900 members.
In March 1933, the foundation stone of our main Church building was laid. The Church we have today, modern Gothic in design and built of Dumfriesshire sandstone, was formally opened in June 1934, and the original Large and Small Halls reverted to being used for Sunday School, Youth Organisations and the many social and community events still enjoyed in them today.
Kirk House at 552 Clarkston Road, was acquired by the Church in 1968, and its meetings rooms were used by both Church and external organisations until its sale in January 2015.
For more details about our Church, read our booklet “A Walk Round Netherlee Church“.