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Latitude: 55.8695 / 55°52'10"N
Longitude: -4.2991 / 4°17'56"W
OS Eastings: 256233
OS Northings: 666427
OS Grid: NS562664
Mapcode National: GBR 09H.LP
Mapcode Global: WH3P1.XQZQ
Entry Name: Partick Bridge Street, St Simon's Roman Catholic Church and Presbytery
Listing Date: 3 August 2004
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397603
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49910
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Partick East/Kelvindale
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
Charles O'Neill, 1858, minor internal alterations to church, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, 1956-7, minor external additions. 3-bay 2-storey presbytery and 3-bay simple Gothic church. Coursed sandstone with chamfered window and door openings (wing to E of presbytery harled). Part base course to presbytery (to accommodate slope of site), base course to church.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION:
Presbytery: off-centre entrance door with rounded trefoil empty niche above, bipartite window to ground right. To right timber boarded door set in sandstone pointed arch doorway with Latin cross above linking presbytery to church.
Church: symmetrical gable elevation with Celtic cross at apex. Central entrance with 2-leaf timber boarded door flanked by simple receding moulding, outer hoodmould with label stops. Above, stepped 4-light lancet window with cill course, outer lancets shorter. At outer bays, single light lancet windows flanked by buttresses, those to right shorter.
S ELEVATION: (church) 6-bay, alternating buttresses and lancet windows, truncated lancet to 2nd bay to accommodate entrance door. Bay 5 part-obscured by small later flat-roofed rectangular addition.
Church: gable with Celtic cross at apex, near full-height central semicircular apse, to left, lower smaller semicircular side chapel, attached to apse to right low 1-bay pitched roof sacristy.
Presbytery: off-centre 1-bay two-storey piended harled wing, long fixed staircase window-light to right.
Church: low gable of sacristy to left, lancets and buttressing to right part-obscured by later flat-roofed addition with entrance doorway. Presbytery: blank gable elevation, to left, 3-bay harled slightly recessed wing.
Predominantly replacement windows to presbytery, lancets in church with simple coloured glass (excepting stained glass window to E). Grey slates, triangular roof vents near ridge to church.
INTERIOR: presbytery, plain with cornices to ground floor bipartite room and bedroom above. Church, entrance hall with modern timber and glass screen with doorways at either side gives entrance to nave. Gallery to W, timber ceiling with timber pointed hammerbeam roof. Apse with pointed arch supported by slender columns with foliate capitals, surrounded by hoodmould. Foliate cornice to apse. Marble dado and floor to apse, pulpit, altar (altar panel of 'Christ comforted by His Mother' by Mortimer) and font by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia. Plain timber pews. Lady chapel with pointed arch contains copy of the 'Black Madonna' in ornate gilt frame with trefoil arch and pinnacles at top. Mosaic of church below. Fine stained/painted glass window in apse depicts the Immaculate Conception flanked by Saints Peter and John. 2 small modern stained glass windows in Lady Chapel.
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Church and presbytery form a compact group indicative of the relative crowdedness of the area when built and small funds of the congregation. The immediate area has undergone considerable change in recent years and the buildings are now surrounded by modern housing. A school, opened in 1864, which was originally linked to the Church, closed in 1924 and was demolished in the second half of the century. St Simon's has a particularly interesting history and is known locally as the 'Polish Church'.
St Simon's, originally called St Peter's, is the third oldest Catholic church in Glasgow (after St Andrew's Cathedral and St Mary's Church, see separate list descriptions). It was founded by Daniel Gallagher who held the first RC services in the West End of Glasgow in 1855 and was credited by David Livingstone as the priest who taught him Latin enabling him to embark on a degree in medicine.
The Church closed for worship in 1903 when a new, larger St Peter's was opened in nearby Hyndland Street, however, it was still used for recreation by men of the parish. Re-opened in 1923 to cope with an increase in population in Partick, the Church served as an extension to the new St Peter's until a separate parish was created in 1945 for the Yorkhill side of Dumbarton Road and the old St Peter's became St Simon's, the original name of the Apostle Peter.
During the Second World War Polish soldiers based at Yorkhill Barracks worshipped at the Church and it became the focus of the exiled community. Many Poles settled in the area after the War and Mass is still said in Polish in the Church. The Black Madonna in the Lady Chapel was a gift from the Polish Army. Outside the Church are two dedicatory metal plaques laid in 1992 by the Polish community thanking Our Lady Queen of Poland and Father Tierney. The two 1996 small stained glass panels in the Lady Chapel depict Good Conquers Evil and Love is Stronger than Death, and were designed by an Albanian, Danish Jukni, and made in Warsaw by Barbara Breitling.
A photograph in Bygone Partick shows the altar area before the minor changes by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia - there was a decorative altar rail, a larger altar and painted decoration in the apse.
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