125 Year Blog - Pastors of 'The old hall' Pt 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Derek Peakman   
Friday, 24 February 2012 16:25

Pastors of 'The Old Hall'

Robert Kerr - Founder of Hopehall 1887-1912


Robert Kerr was educated at Ayr Academy, Blair Lodge, The Grange Sunderland and lastly at Madras College St Andrews (pictured below right).


Although engaged in the manufacture of Paisley shawls, a business founded by his father, he began after his conversion to preach the Gospel.

Being a very well educated man with a rich conversational style he soon became well known as a gifted preacher ever faithful to Bible truths. He was married a few years after his conversion and he and his wife soon opened up their home in Barkeley Terrace for Bible readings.

After a period of worship and ministry with a Brethern Assembly who worshipped at Blythswood Hall, Robert Kerr felt the call to start up a place of worship on his own and he started in the Pillar Hall in Queens Rooms, Clifton Street in Glasgow.

The largest and longest part of his life work and Christian testimony however was to be in Paisley where he founded Hopehall in 1887.Pastor Kerr carried on the work at Hope Hall and enjoyed the blessing of God and the joy of seeing many souls saved under his ministry.
Around 1912 he went into semi—retirement but still carried out a busy schedule of Gospel work and Bible teaching until his sudden death at his home in Kilmacolm on August 23rd 1915 aged 80 years.

Pastor A.D. Ritchie L.A. (Edin.) 1912 - 1914


There is little background information on record of Pastor Ritchie’s ministry but it is known that he became pastor in 1912 after Pastor Kerr went into semi-retirement. He was a well educated man having a Literate in Arts degree (L.A.) and was a man of great talents, he did a great deal of Christian journalism, was a novelist and had held the post of editor with the Govan Standard.

Pastor Ritchie’s conversion was remarkable. He had fallen deeply into 
sin and had such a serious drink problem that he was literally in the gutter and was at the same time separated from his wife and family. He met the Saviour and accepted Him as Lord and Master and by the grace of God became a preacher and evangelist.

His was the kind of evangelism that considered it necessary to take the Church toclarks_mill_seedhill_entrance_copy the street corner. He did a great deal of openair work including lunch time openair services at the Seedhill entrance of Clark’s Mill (pictured right) on Mondays and at Inkerman on Fridays.

(Inkerman was a small hamlet set up in 1858 in the Abbey Parish of Paisley to house ironstone miners. Later employment came from ancillary operations, including shale coal and oilworks. There were seven pits in all in Inkerman. The hamlet was named after a recent (1854) British military victory, the Battle of Inkerman, in the Crimean War).

One inovation that he brought to the church was an illustrated Service of Song where suitable subjects would be projected onto the screen while, in the darkness, appropriate hymns would be sung by concealed singers in an antiroom. He resigned from the pastorate in 1914 and emigrated to Canada but returned some years later and paid several visits to the church as a guest preacher, he was also a speaker at the 50th Anniversary of the church. We are proud to say that this distinguished writer and preacher was once a pastor of HopeHall.

to be continued ..............