St. John’s Parish Church Eclectic Literary Association (not the same as Eclectic Literary Society)


St. John’s Parish Church was built between 1817 and 1819, and was located at the corner of Macfarlane Street and the Gallowgate. The parish was one of the poorest and most deprived in the city. (For more information about this church, see ‘St. John’s Parish Church‘, and for information on Dr Thomas Chalmers, arguably one of the most influential figures in Glasgow’s — indeed, Scotland’s — history in the nineteenth century, see ‘Thomas Chalmers‘ on The Glasgow Story website).

There is little currently known about this association. The information we have comes from two articles in the Glasgow Herald. The 1861 article gives a brief report of the third annual soiree of the group which was held in the Merchant’s Hall in the city centre. The association’s short history is reported to already have been one ‘marked with uninterrupted success’. In that year, there were more than 50 members on the roll.

Three years later, a short notice in the Glasgow Herald describes the sixth annual soiree, also held in the Merchant’s Hall. The annual report was read aloud, but there are no other details, and no mention was made of the number of members on the roll. After listing the eminent ministers in attendance, the readers are told instead that ‘[t]he meeting was enlivened throughout the evening with several songs, and with the services of an excellent choir, and the performances of an able pianist’ (‘St. John’s Eclectic Literary Association’, Glasgow Herald, 14 March 1864, p. 4).

Date of Existence


Source of Information

1. St. John’s Parish Church Eclectic Association’, Glasgow Herald, 15 February 1861, p. 4;

2. ‘St. John’s Eclectic Literary Association’, Glasgow Herald, 14 March 1864, p. 4


Mitchell Library

National Library of Scotland

Reference Number

Additional Notes

The Glasgow Herald is available at the Mitchell Library and the National Library of Scotland in both print and microfilm (check libraries for availability in both formats). Digitised issues are also available through the British Newspaper Archive: