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Martin Memorial Baptist Church

The Martin Memorial Baptist Church in Carluke was demolished in September 2021 to make way for new houses. The story of the former church goes back to the late nineteenth century and has interesting links with different aspects of Carluke’s history.

In 1889-90 a group of local Christians walked from Carluke to Wishaw every Sunday to hear the Rev. George Whittet preaching in Wishaw Church! Soon after that he began holding an additional Sunday afternoon service in a room in the Town Hall in Carluke. Demand continued to grow for a local Baptist congregation and finally Mr William D. Martin became the first Pastor.

The congregation saved the money themselves to build the Martin Memorial Baptist Church which opened in January 1903 in Stewart Street.

In keeping with the old values of self-reliance and thrift, it was 1908 before the Church could afford to buy an organ and 1914 before the congregation got communion cups. A stone wall surrounding the Church was built after 1926, but has now been demolished and replaced by a modern brick one.

During World War 1, the Church sent Christmas parcels every year to support the serving soldiers.

Around 1950 coal extraction in the local area caused damage to the building which had to be repaired by the Coal Board. At the same time a communion table and chair were purchased in memory of one of the members, James Burns, who was killed in action in Burma during World War Two.

By 1960 the hall was becoming inadequate for the expanding congregation. Eventually in 1968 Kirkstyle Church ( known as ‘The Auld Licht’ or Original Secession Church ) in Chapel Street became available, and the Baptist Church bought it together with the Beadle’s ( caretaker’s ) cottage beside it. The cottage was later demolished in the redevelopment of the town centre in the 1970s.

After the departure of the Baptist congregation, the old church was purchased by South Lanarkshire Council for use as a Day Centre and was also rented out to various local groups.

(Based on information in “The History of the Baptist Church in Carluke” by James Marshall, 1959)

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