Govan Parish Young Men’s Association (later became Govan Literary Association, and then Govan Parish Young Men’s Literary Association)


This society was based in Govan, an area south of the River Clyde and southwest of the city centre. (For more information about this area, see Gerald Blaikie’s article, ‘Govan, Glasgow. Architecture & History‘ on the ScotCities website.) The group weekly met in Broomloan Halls (in the Broomloan Road Public School).

Here is a snapshot of this association: at the business meeting held on 24 March 1891, the Secretary reported that there were 90 members on the roll (an increase of about 20 members since the first session in 1876-1877; this number would double to over 200 by the end of the century). During the session, there were 21 meetings held, of which 9 were lectures open to the public. The group also held its annual conversazione — a social meeting with readings, songs, dancing and tea — in the spring. The subscription charge was 2 shillings per year (up from 1s in the 1870s), which was slightly lower than the average for other groups, which was 2s 6d. This probably meant that many of the members were from the working classes.

Interestingly, in the 1890s, there seems to have been a great deal of debate about how the association should style itself: between 1891 and 1897, motions were raised at several meetings to change the name of the group to the Govan Literary Association. It appears that it was important for some members to be known as a literary society, rather than simply a young men’s association, which, in the latter case, was more likely to be a social group at this point in time.

As part of their ‘literary’ activities, this society held magazine nights, at which members’ original essays were read aloud and then ‘criticised’ by the other members (in the sense of offering their judgement). It is currently unknown if these were ever collected and bound. (see ‘Additional Notes’ below)

Date of Existence

11 October 1876-1914?

Source of Information

1. Glasgow, Govan, Kirk Session, Govan Parish Young Men’s Association Minute Book, 1876-86 (GCA, CH2/1277/49);

2. Wallace, Andrew, The Parish of Govan as it was and is: A lecture delivered to the Govan Young Men’s Association (Glasgow, 1878) (GCA, CH2/1277/54);

3. Scott, Alexander Macgregor, Old Govan: lecture delivered to Govan Parish Young Men’s Association (Glasgow, 1891) (MLSC, Mitchell (GC) LHf 941.443 GOV 594527);

4. Govan Parish Young Men’s Association Minute Book, 1886-92 (GCA, CH2/1277/50);

5. Govan Parish Young Men’s Association Minute Book, 1892-1903 (GCA, CH2/1277/51);

6. Govan Parish Literary Association Minute Book, 1903-1913 (GCA, CH2/1277/52);

7. Govan Parish Literary Association Minute Book, 1913-1914 (GCA, CH2/1277/53)


Mitchell Library Special Collections

Glasgow City Archives

Reference Number

(See Source of Information)

Additional Notes

See also entry for on the Govan Parish Young Men’s Association (Magazine Evening) on our sister website, Literary Bonds.