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Celtic - St Mary's Hall
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In recent years, there has been growing confusion on exactly where the St Mary's Hall is/was situated (the place where Celtic Football Club was officially constituted).
The following is a record of the work to resolve this question by Antsplan from the KDS forum (June 2010).
Celtic's birthplace: St Mary's Hall, the CaltonI called Mgr Smith at St Marys and he made it quite clear to me that the 'Hall' where Celtic was born was an 'L' shaped building, partly on Forbes (East Rose) St, partly on Orr (Henrietta St). He mentioned ‘demolished’ in 2004 but wasn't absolutely clear as to what.
I also fired off an email to an acquaintance Father Thomas White (also of St Marys) for some assistance. I’ll post his reply shortly.
Next I headed down to the stadium where I was able to speak to Maura & Chris who are responsible for the guided tours, they were fantastic, extremely keen to help but ultimately without any concrete evidence. The club has NO images of the hall.
I also spoke to two older gents (at reception) one of whom assured me that the 'Hall' was on Orr St and NOT Forbes St.
Maura & Chris then hooked me up with two very well noted Celtic Historians, the first of which had no conclusive information as it was not his area of expertise. I'm still waiting to hear back from the second but she is very very keen to help investigate further. I don’t want to mention names but in case either of you ever read this, thanks sincerely for your time/assistance. I also have numbers for two others should I not get anywhere with who I'm currently speaking to.
The biggest thing for me to come out of the conversations with these people is that I should believe nothing that I read, unless there is conclusive evidence, especially surrounding the very early years of the club.
Still no further forward I headed to the Calton for a wander, took some pictures, bought myself a 'Slate' and chatted to some locals. Again some very conflicting evidence regards where the hall was but a few people did mention the present 'Schoolhouse' building in Orr (Henrietta) St.
Note my slate only mentions St Marys Church, NOT the Hall. There may previously have been others that mentioned 'Hall' ???
After the Calton I headed up to the Mitchell, where again I was given some fantastic assistance, I was able to get some superb material BUT I am still far from confident in being able to say where the Novemeber 1887 meeting took place or the exact location of the original Hall was.
I'm very mindful that I've already jumped to conclusions in this thread and probably got it wrong, I'm also mindful of what the Historians said regards evidence so I'm going to try to continue with that in mind.
What do we know ?
Henrietta St became Orr St
East Rose St became Forbes St (both quite clear from maps)
I have read lots of accounts which say that the first meetings took place in East Rose Street, but the only actual evidence I have is the newpaper cutting from January 1888, which I recorded myself. Could this be inaccurate ? Possibly. Spikeybhoy has already pointed out an inaccuracy in the recording of our secretary of the times, name. I think we need more sources to back this up.
An 1860 (approx) map from the Mitchell Library lists a Chapel, a School and another unidentified building within the same grounds, note the gap/void between the end of this building, the School and Henrietta St
An 1848-72 OS map details the previously unidentified building as 'Refectory/Kitchen'. I think this time it may be worth noting the gap between the south end of this building and East Rose St, perhaps indicating no direct entrance from East Rose St ?
An 1892-94 OS map shows the gap/void running parallel to Henrietta St, now with buildings, it also identifies St Marys Hall (of that period) as being in Henrietta St.
An 1896 map from the Mitchell Library whilst not as detailed also shows the footprint of these buildings
This picture of the front of St Marys Church on Abercromby St shows what appears to be a 3 storey building at the bottom end of Forbes (East Rose) St (I suspect this is the long side of our 'L' shaped building).
From the video posted by paulmck1888, I took a few screen grabs of what the video is suggesting is the 'Hall'. This is also a 3 storey building, most likely the same building as the picture above, this time however, looking in the opposite direction (back towards Abercromby St, i.e. up Forbes (East Rose) St), note the back of the Church this time. These pictures also suggest this building turns around the corner, most likely into Orr (Henrietta) St. A great find Paul, thank you.
Here is a picture I took today showing what I believe are the old School gates on Forbes St, looking towards the rear of the current 'Schoolhouse'. Note where the near end of this building appears to have been partly demolished. I believe this is all that is left of the 3 storey building, shown in the video screen grabs, the photo of the school on a previous page and the image from the Bridgeton & Dalmarnock book.
Here is an image looking in the opposite direction, still showing the school gates but this time, looking towards the rear of the Church & Vestry.
After this, things start to get a bit interesting. Ignore the annotations for a minute but have a look at this image, looking in roughly the same direction as the image above but taken further down Forbes St at the junction with Orr St.
Here is an image showing the remaining facade of what I believe is the short side of our ‘L’ shaped building
Here however is the fly-in-the-ointment
It appears that this building was not built until 1895.
Some plans which also suggest this. This is an A4 scan of a photocopy of plans which are about 3 x A3 in size so I couldn’t scan it all. I think you can see however the date and also ‘proposed NEW buildings’
Even if this building is not where our hall was due to the date it appears to have been built, it does still leave some questions. There appears to be two or even three different buildings making up the current Schoolhouse. Also note the different roof shapes in the second image.
I do think I can explain however the continued references to a St Marys Hall in Orr (Henrietta) St. It appears there was a Hall here but it also appears it was not built until 1892 and I believe this is still standing within the current ‘Schoolhouse’ footprint as Carfin Harp originally proposed.
Note what appears to be a building at the LHS of this, but not 3 storey. Also note that the LHS of this building does not have an entranceway as the modern image of the ‘Schoolhouse’ shows – is this the explanation for the different buildings as viewed from the rear ? I think I saw a document today that may explain this but I must have forgotten to get a copy, it’ll have to wait until I’m next in the Mitchell. Meanwhile here are the plans for the floors of the 1892 Hall
If your still reading this and expect an answer, I’m afraid I don’t have one, just some suggestions and supposition but there are a few decent bets that could turn out to be great. That said however I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on me having interpreted this correctly and accurately so I’d be delighted for someone to come along and correct me.
***EDIT to add this***
Something I forgot to add to the above. Here is a section of the 1892 planned 'Hall' building. Its worth noting the Stone front facade and brick rear facade. Also look back to the plan drawing of this building, it shows 3 storeys and six windows per floor.
This ties up perfectly with the northernmost of the building still standing, the 'Schoolhouse', see the current image of the schoolhouse as viewed from the rear, there is a clear lne between red brick and blonde stone separating two building phases. I am confident in saying that part of the current Schoolhouse building was the 1892 Hall. However I still haven't a clue where our hall was.
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|antshistory||St Mary's Hall||0||Aug 24 2010, 1:13 PM EDT by antshistory|
Thread started: Aug 24 2010, 1:13 PM EDT Watch
In the late 1880s St Mary's Hall, East Rose Street, was the Glasgow HQ of the League of the Cross temperance movement. The League was founded in 1873 as a campaigning organization to get Catholics off the demon drink and was UK-wide.
An offshoot of the League was the League of the Cross Amateur Athletic Association, a branch of which also operated out of St Mary's Hall. Its aim was to provide young Catholic men with healthy alternatives to drinking. The two main sports promoted were football and billiards. They ran a League of the Cross Cup in 1889/90 which was entered by teams representing local branches of the League ie. parish teams, and by some independent Catholic Junior clubs as well. St Gerald's (Bridgeton/Dalmarnock) combined the two by putting out a team which included nine Benburb players (that's the old Benburb FC who wore green shirts, not the present-day Bens who wear blue). The League's involvement in football declined in the 1890s after the Scottish Junior Cup became really popular and Junior clubs began to organize themselves into (ironically) leagues. However, they were still running billiards leagues up to the Second World War.
The only surviving club with any links to the League of the Cross is St Anthony's FC who were an offshoot of a social and athletic club attached to the St Anthony's, Govan, branch of the League.
St Mary's parish ran their own Junior football club in the mid 1920s. St Mary's FC were a Scottish Junior League team and also competed in the Scottish Junior Cup. But they were very short-lived - they had no ground of their own and had to rely on the charity of other East End clubs to play matches, usually at St Roch's Millburn Park in Garngad or at Shettleston Celtic's Frankfield Park (later renamed Greenfield Park).
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