Free St. Peter’s Young Men’s Association (later became Free St. Peter’s Literary Society)


Members of this society were  part of the congregation of St. Peter’s Free Church, located at 53 Mains Street (now Blythswood Street), off Argyle Street in the city centre. (For more information on this church, see John Goodwin’s History of Free St Peter’s Church (1886)Goodwin was a former President of the Association; see also ‘Glasgow — St. Peter’s‘ on the Ecclegen website.)

The Young Men’s Association had a relatively good-sized number of members in 1850: from Goodwin’s history of the church, we know that there were at least 48 members in that year. The group met weekly at the church session house from September to May to read and discuss papers written by members of the society.  Interestingly, the Geological Society of Glasgow developed out of this young men’s association.

A motion to start a manuscript magazine in connection with the society was raised in 1858. It is currently unknown if a magazine was ever founded at this early date. A magazine was started by the later Young Men’s Literary Society — instituted circa 1860 — and was produced until at least 1883 (see ‘Additional Notes’ below).

This group was one of 12 societies that made up the Glasgow Free Church Literary Union in 1853 (at least) (see ‘Additional Notes’ below).

Date of Existence


Source of Information

1. Fergusson, Alex. A., St. Rollox, Glasgow, [Diaries], 1851-53, 1854-56 (MLSC, Mitchell (AL), 891398-99);

2. Glasgow Free Church Literary Union’, ‘Local Institutions’, Glasgow Post-Office Annual Directory for 1853-1854… (Glasgow: William Mackenzie, 1853), p. 79;

3. Free St. Peter’s Young Men’s Literary Society, Behind the Scenes, A Special New Year’s Number of Blythswood Holm M. S. Magazine, January 1871 (MLSC, 321129, GO52 BLY);

4. Free St Peter’s Literary Society magazine. 1883 (Dunn & Wright, [1883?]) (UGSC, Sp Coll Robertson Bf68-b.23);

5. Goodwin, John, History of Free St Peter’s Church, Glasgow: with personal reminiscences, from origin till jubilee (Glasgow: Printed by James C. Erskine, 1886) (ML, Mitchell (GC) CD285.241443 STP 761767)


Mitchell Library (ML)

Mitchell Library Special Collections (MLSC)

University of Glasgow Special Collections (UGSC)

Reference Number

(See Source of Information)

Additional Notes

This society was part of the Glasgow Free Church Literary Union, which is listed separately.

Free St Peter’s Literary Society magazine. 1883, is housed at the University of Glasgow Special Collections and is item 8 of 9 in the bound collection of materials.

See also entry for Blythswood Holm M.S. Magazine, ‘Behind the Scenes’, A special New Year’s Number; later Free St Peter’s Literary Society Magazine on our sister website, Literary Bonds.