Gospel Hall Station Road (1900 – 1954)
Jim Douglas – Station Road Sunday School Memories
We had very few rules in our house and enjoyed a lot of freedom, but one thing was insisted on. We had to go to Sunday School until we were fourteen, then decide whether to continue or not. Mother was in the Brethren, who met in the Gospel Hall, a small corrugated roofed building down Station Road. This was a snug, warm place in the winter. Children of all ages sat round a large black iron stove in the centre, with a long pipe disappearing through the rod The stove would get very hot and when the preacher wasn’t looking we would sometimes spit on it, watching the tiny balls of moisture roll, hiss and disappear into a puff of steam.
The Hall emitted such a warm friendly atmosphere that everyone felt welcome. The preachers were grand men, sure in their faith, strict when necessary, humorous and humble.
They delivered strong, sometimes frightening sermons. Heaven and Hell became real places, not something to hide away in the mind for future reference. There seemed few grey areas, black or white, good or evil, and the Devil was a force to be reckoned with, lurking always in shadowy places, waiting to catch the unwary.
It seemed he was especially fond of Kelty Cross, where pubs stood on two corners with a bookie’s shop only slightly further up the road. Even to loiter there was dangerous. Perhaps this was why Uncle Tommy chose it as his battleground. What courage! He was a miner working underground with many tough and, coarse men. At the weekends he stood alone at The Cross, playing a small portable harmonium and preaching the gospel.
I remember him vaguely as a small stout cheery man always with a poke of sweets for the children. Some of my father’s friends asked him if his brother-in-law wasn’t a bit odd.
“No, he’s the wisest man in the village,” he told them.