St Michaels, Dumbarton
Saint Michael’s Parish was founded for West Dumbarton in 1946. The Foundation Stone of this building was laid by Archbishop Donald Campbell on 23 November 1952. The Church, designed by J.A. Coia of Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, was opened two years later on 23 May 1954. Like many of Coia’s creations, it is a listed building (‘B’ category).
The Church was built by L.K. McKenzie & Partners at a cost of £90,000. Building materials were still short at this time after the war so the original roof was of corrugated asbestos. This was replaced with copper in the early 1960s. The joinery work was carried out by Grants of Glasgow and each pew cost £27. Marble was installed by Toffolo Jackson of Thornliebank.
The large Crucifix behind the altar was donated by St. Patrick’s High School that used to stand alongside the Church. The cost then was £90. The Church bell was cast in 1953 by Steven and Struthers of Partick, and is still rung every day at noon for the Angelus and on Sundays before Mass.
The Stations of the Cross were painted by John McLaughlin who at that time was principal teacher of Art in St. Patrick’s High School.
The Statue of Saint Michael near the rear side entrance of the Church is by Benno Schotz (1891-1984), a well-known sculptor in Scotland, and was erected in memory of the parish priest at the time of the building of the Church, Fr. Jeremiah O’Leary, and the dead of the parish.
The Lewis Organ in the choir loft was first built in the High Church in Dumbarton in 1903 and accompanied worship there until Christmas 1976. It was rebuilt in St. Michael’s and rededicated on 19 January 1981.
To mark the Golden Jubilee of the parish in 1996, stained glass windows were individually donated and parishioners contributed to the large Saint Michael Window in the choir balcony. The windows were designed jointly by the then parish priest, Fr. Harry Parkinson and Ormsby of Scarisbrick, whose artisans constructed them.
In preparation for the Golden Jubilee of the Church, celebrated at the Feast of St Michael in September 2004, the whole building was renovated and re-decorated under the direction of Fr. Bradburn, the current parish priest and the Fabric and Finance Committee.
The previous marble-effect Formica on the walls was removed and the walls re-plastered. A plaster ‘dado’ rail was introduced and all surfaces re-painted. The benches were re-stained and new carpet tiles were laid throughout the Church.