THE demolition of the MacGregor Memorial Church in Crossloan Road,

Govan, Glasgow, is now almost complete. This is Glasgow's loss, and

sadly typical of the way the city too often treats its historic


The church was built in 1902-04 as a memorial to Margaret MacGregor,

the ''Bible Lady'' who worked tirelessly among the people of Govan for

more than 30 years. It was designed by James Miller, that prolific

turn-of-the-century architect who was the subject of a recent monograph

by Audrey Sloan published by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in


Shortly before he designed the church in Govan, Miller was responsible

for the buildings of the Glasgow International Exhibition held in

Kelvingrove Park in 1901. It was Gothic, but with a strong dash of the

l'art nouveau associated with his more famous contemporary, C. R.


The MacGregor Memorial Church was not redundant but, like far too many

buildings in Glasgow, it was poorly maintained and run down. It was

well-built and handsomely furnished, but, rather than restore or find a

new use for it, the Church of Scotland decided to merge the congregation

with that of Govan Old Church and to sell it to Turner & Co. (Glasgow),

the engineering, plant hire, and car rental company, who occupy the

adjoining site.

The MacGregor Memorial Church is therefore being demolished and the

site cleared to make way, not for a new building, but for a mere car


Maltreated and impoverished areas like Govan need buildings like the

MacGregor Memorial as landmarks to give a sense of place and of

continuity. Such things are therefore very precious, their value only

fully appreciated when lost. This handsome red sandstone building with a

solid tower on the corner was listed, yet both Historic Scotland and

Glasgow District Council let it go without protest. This is a scandal,

for the long-suffering people of Govan might be forgiven for concluding

that ''heritage'' is only for the smart parts of Glasgow.