The congregation that was to become St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and later St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church first met in an upper room in Fort Street Douglas on March 20th, 1825. At this meeting it was decided that collections were to be made 'towards fitting up proper church premises'.
These collections, and some serious requests for donations from other Presbyterian congregations particularly in Scotland, must have been very successful as the first service was held in the newly constructed building, at the end of Finch Road, on the last Sunday of April, 1832.
The building was altered in 1867, and that is the way that many people in Douglas remember 'Old St. Andrew's', often known affectionately as The Scots' Kirk.
A history of the first hundred years of the congregation can be found by clicking here.
Despite being known as the Scots' Kirk, St. Andrews was officially part of The Presbyterian Church of England. After the formation in 1972 of the United Reformed Church, by the union of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England, the church therefore became St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church.
The building in Finch Rd. became too expensive for the congregation to maintain during the 1970s but was in a prime site in the middle of the developing ‘Financial District’ of Douglas. After much prayer the congregation decided that the time had come to sell the old church, and move to a smaller, more easily maintained building.
Most of 'Old St. Andrew's' was demolished to make way for a modern office block but you may still see the spire, at the junction of Finch Road and Prospect Hill, as it was included in the modern building.
At the same time, the Island’s scouts and guides were also looking for smaller premises, as they were having difficulties with the upkeep of their modern headquarters at Cunningham House on St. Ninian’s corner. This building was to provide the answer to the prayers of St. Andrew’s congregation, and is our current home.
It is interesting to note that the Cunningham family whose name the building bore, and who were heavily involved with the scout and guide movement on the Island, were members of the St. Andrew’s congregation during their lives, and so we feel they would have been happy about this change of use.
More about the Cunningham family can be found by clicking here