The new Gospel Hall in Glencraig opened its doors to the community in September 2015. This is the latest in a long series of buildings that have housed the Christians who meet there.
The original Gospel Hall in Glencraig was established in 1931 with the support of the assembly that then met in the Gospel Hall in Buller Street, Lochgelly. A number of members of the Buller Street assembly had moved to Glencraig having found employment in the local coal mines and were motivated to establish a gospel witness in the expanding village of Glencraig.
Sadly the Buller Street assembly closed its doors many years ago and the hall itself was demolished in recent years to make way for construction of a new house. The last time that the writer can remember this hall being used for its original purpose was for a series of well-attended gospel meetings held in the mid 1980’s by John Campbell and Jack Hay from Perth.
The photograph (right) shows the old Gospel Hall in Glencraig courtesy of Michael Payne’s local history website www.benarty.org.uk. This was the last of three locations for the hall in Glencraig in a building that had formerly been the Long View Billiard Hall. The original location was at the far end of the same block in what had formerly been a hairdresser’s shop. The congregation then moved to the Lynas Hall, located to the rear of the block and accessed by means of a passageway through it, before finally moving into the billiard hall at the near end of the block seen above. If you zoom in on the photograph you can just make out the words ‘Gospel Hall’ above the doorway.
Following the decision by Fife Council to demolish most of the village of Glencraig and to build the new village of Ballingry in the late 1940’s, it was a logical step for the Christians to move their meeting place to Ballingry as well.
In the autumn of 1968 the Christians left the old Glencraig Hall and began to meet temporarily in the Benarty Primary School, itself now demolished. A site was donated by the local council in Southfield Avenue for the construction of a new hall. Permission was also given for demolition materials recovered from the old Glencraig buildings to be re-used for the building of a new hall. Over the next two years members of the congregation assisted by many local tradesmen and labourers demolished all of the buildings seen to the right of the main road in the picture (above) and began construction of the new hall. Materials were recovered from the demolished buildings and the new hall is largely constructed from these. Many local people still remember being paid a small sum for the privilege of cleaning mortar from the old bricks!
If anyone has information or photographs relating to the history of the assembly at Ballingry we would be grateful if you could get in touch using the details in the ‘Contact Us’ section of the website.