Place Names (D) Ebenezer Hall - Engels Street
Ebenezer Hall, Alexandria
This is now in Susannah Street in the Hall that was originally built for Mathieson's Mission. Before that it was located in Mitchell Street in a single storey building beside the Co-op Yard, but they moved to Susannah Street when Mathieson's Mission closed. The Salvation Army then took over the Mitchell Street building and was there until it was demolished.
Alexander Hunter, in his letter from Paris, offers as its derivation the Gaelic “Oth-an-Daraich (pronounced Oandaraich) - the water of oakes” and that's probably right. There is a reference in 1694 to the “Anderwick” river, but even that could come from the same Gaelic origin.
The Endrick flows from the Gargunnock Hills, not far from Stirling, in a westerly direction to enter the Loch not far from Drymen Bridge. It flows for 29 miles (only 15.5 as the crow flies), for much of the time only a few miles (4-5) away from the Forth to the north, which is, of course, flowing in the opposite direction. Its major tributaries are the Blane flowing from the southeast, and the Gallangad Burn (or Catter by the time it joins the Endrick near Croftamie).
The Endrick was as recently as the late 1970's one of the best salmon rivers in western Scotland, and fishing beats on it were priced accordingly. At Gartness, the salmon leap at the Pots of Gartness was a spectacle to behold, attracting tourists and poachers in about equal number.
The Endrick Bank, formed by deposits brought down by the river, lies in Loch Lomond where the river enters the Loch. It used to be a favoured fishing stretch with anglers in boats, so good on the fly that from May onwards boats had to be rowed rather than powered up and down it. Industrial fishing at sea and in the Clyde has put an end to the halcyon days of salmon fishing, and the Endrick has suffered with everywhere else.
Engels Street, Alexandria
This Street in Levenvale, running between Hardie Street and Burns Street, was built in the mid 1930's. It is called after the 19th century German writer and philosopher Frederick Engels, who with Karl Marx, wrote the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848. He also edited the 2nd and 3rd volumes of Das Capital after Marx's death.
Given the left-wing connections of most of the other roads in Levenvale (an informal united front of Labour and Communists completely dominated the Vale District Council at the time when they were named), it is perhaps surprising that there is no Marx Street. That was probably never seriously considered, because he had no local connections, unlike Engels.
Engels, who spent much of his adult life in Manchester and then London, had frequently holidayed in the area. He spent a few summers at a house in Helensburgh, a fact which the good burghers of that seaside town seem to have airbrushed from history, no blue plaque for him there.