Old Presbytery

In 1913 St. Andrew’s Hall in High Street was purchased, refurbished and gifted to the Church Trustees by Capt. R. D. Barre Cuninghame. A new floor was laid, a stage built and a rear extension added for carpet bowling. There were also facilities for badminton and billiards. The hall was used for social evenings, concerts and dances. Draughts, whist drives and amateur dramatics were also popular. The social life of the parish was centred in St. Andrew’s Hall until 1966 when it was sold to become Messrs Osborne’s Antique Centre.
On returning from the War to his parish duties, Mgr McHardy began to raise funds for a Memorial to Capt. Barre Cuninghame who had died in 1916. Capt. Barre Cuninghame did not want any public thanks for his many gifts to the church during his lifetime but agreed to a memorial tablet after his death to remind parishioners to pray for the repose of his soul. In 1920 the Memorial was unveiled on the south wall of the church where it remains. May he rest in peace.
Changes in the Liturgy following the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) led to the redevelopment of the church interior. The re-designed Sanctuary with a more open, spacious look was completed in 1971. The existing altar and altar rails were removed and a new altar set in a position to allow the celebrant to face the people. The tabernacle was built into the wall under the stained glass windows. A modern cross was suspended above the altar. The large statues were removed so that undivided attention might be focused on the Liturgy of the Word and of the Eucharist. A new Confessional was built near the chancel and a little Lady Chapel created where the old one had been. The whole church was then redecorated.
St. Cuthbert’s School remained next to the church until 1966 when it moved to a new building erected by the Local Education Authority in Longacres Road where it continued till a falling roll led ultimately to its closure in 2002. The old school building was converted for use as the church hall, replacing St. Andrew’s Hall. It has continued in parish use ever since and is also available for social and charitable groups in the wider community. In 2009 the interior was improved with a new heating system, kitchen and toilets, a more suitable entrance and complete redecoration. This has resulted in increased use of the facility.
The next stage in the history of St. Andrew’s & St. Cuthbert’s is already under way as we tackle the maintenance and upgrading of the house and church.

(September 2012)

Old Altar