St Thomas' Addiewell parish

Photo:May procession leaving the chapel and chapel house, 1947?

May procession leaving the chapel and chapel house, 1947?

John Kelly.

St Thomas' Addiewell will be celebrating its centenary on October 20th 2013

Margo Todd


There will be a Mass of Thanksgiving in the church on Friday 25 October, followed by a function in Addiewell Miners Club. 

Bishop Robson has agreed to come along to mark this important milestone.

Fr Michael John Galbraith (Parish Priest) hopes many parishioners, old and new, will be able to join him on this happy occasion.

For more details, phone Margo Todd on 01506 762905.


The Catholic parish of St Thomas', Addiewell, was founded in October 1913.  Then the First World War broke out in 1914, which put paid to many plans.  A joint school and chapel opened in 1916 and a chapel house was built. The present chapel was officially dedicated in late 1923.

An eventful day

October 20th 1913 was an eventful day in the life of Father Kenny, for on that morning amongst his letters was one, brief and to the point, from the Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.  It ran thus:  “Dear Father Kenny, You are hereby appointed to the new parish of Addiewell where you will find yourself by Sunday first, October 26th.  Best wishes.”

If ever one was struck with astonishment, that one was Father Kenny.

That very afternoon he set off by cycle to Addiewell [from Broxburn] to see the people and hear more of this wonderful change. Saturday saw the coming of the new parish's first pastor, who the next day said the last Mass in West Calder.  What a change within six days!

Anyone who has lived in a small mining village can well picture themselves the whole scene of the first struggles of the new parish priest - his lodgings a small room with a bed in the wall screened off by curtains during the day;  there his meals were served, his people interviewed, married and confessed, and there, when the toil of the day was passed, he slept. A strange place, truly, for the administration of the Sacraments!

This is an extract from a 'History of Addiewell, By One Who Knew' (i.e. Father Kenny, the first priest in Addiewell).  You can read the whole story of the struggle to raise money and build the chapel, school and chapel house in the early days, by opening the PDF below.


Father's Kenny's 'History of Addiewell'
Father's Kenny's 'History of Addiewell' (168k)
The detailed story of the struggle to raise the money and build a chapel, school, and chapel house for Addiewell from 1913 to 1919.

This page was added by Sybil Cavanagh on 03/10/2013.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.