Blythswood started in 1966, seeking to introduce people to the Lord Jesus Christ
The Blythswood Tract Society was started in Glasgow in 1966. The group was made up of young men with a passion for Jesus and sharing the gospel. They engaged people in conversation on the city’s streets, handing out Christian messages and sharing the good news of Jesus living, loving and dying for people before rising again. The Society’s name simply came from the area in Glasgow where they had a tiny office, near Blythswood Square.
“Defend the rights of the poor and needy”
Showing the love of Jesus with practical action
Jackie (John Walter) Ross, Donald Ross, Ian Tallach and John Tallach were all training to be ministers and they led the group. Friends gave financial support. People prayed. The demand for Bibles and Christian literature grew. As well as sharing the gospel with written words, the group desired to show Jesus’ example of love with practical action. They visited homeless hostels with food and clothes. Reaching out to people in need in their homes and communities became part of the much-needed work.
In 1977 we moved
During the 1970s and 80s the work expanded
By 1970, all the student ministers had congregations away from Glasgow. In 1977, the Blythswood Tract Society’s office moved to Lochcarron, in Wester Ross, where Jackie Ross was a minister.
During the 1970s and 80s the work expanded. Bibles were being printed for Blythswood, 20,000 at a time. They were sent to Africa and India; taken into the communist Eastern Bloc; distributed to schools and given out in UK prisons. Christian bookshops, book vans and book agencies were established and spreading the Good News, in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. Bible studies were compiled in response to huge demand from Africa. By God’s enabling, the gospel was transforming lives around the world.
Relief aid became
important in the 80s
Rapid change followed the Romanian revolution of December 1989
Sharing the gospel along with practical action has been important from Blythswood’s earliest beginning. In 1984, in response to emergency requests, essential aid was delivered to Poland. Relief goods were sent to Armenia in 1988 when a devastating earthquake killed 25,000 people and left many destitute. Another container went to the poor in India. Small loads of aid were taken into Romania early in 1988 and 1989.
Rapid change followed the Romanian revolution of December 1989, and the scale of crippling poverty there became evident. With urgent appeals and frenzied activity, Blythswood had sent five vehicles laden with aid by 15 January – the first of many convoys. In August 1990, Princess Anne sent Blythswood’s 45th load on its way from Glasgow.
Our first Shoe Box Appeal, in 1993, delivered Christmas boxes, packed with love and strengthened with prayer, to the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Europe. In 1997, as our work expanded, we moved to our warehouse and office premises in Deephaven, Evanton and in April the following year, James Campbell became our Chief Executive.
open their first shop in 1997
The shop aims to help feed, clothe and shelter needy people in Eastern Europe
2022 marks 25 years since Blythswood opened a charity shop in Gilford, its first in Northern Ireland. A minister from Tullylish & Gilford had encountered Blythswood care during a visit to Scotland and returned home to encourage his congregation to gather support.
After many carloads of donated clothing had been transported to Glasgow, Jackie Ross suggested that a trailer be parked at Banbridge as a collection point.
A group of about 20 volunteers was formed, someone offered premises for a charity shop in Gilford, and as Jackie Hudson, one of the original group of volunteers said “Things just snowballed from there”.
In 2002 Jackie Ross passed away but his fine work continues to this day through Blythswood Care.