The Pearce Institute at Govan Cross was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson in the style of a very large 17th century Scottish townhouse. It was commissioned to be built by Lady Dinah Pearce in memory of her husband Sir William Pearce, MP of the Fairfield Shipyard, who died in 1888. Work took place from 1902 and was completed in 1906.
The Institute was intended as a social centre for the community and offered Govanites a men’s and women’s reading rooms and clubs, a library, a gymnasium, cooking and laundry departments, and a retiring room. In addition, the organ, stage and gallery in the McLeod Hall made it a popular venue for dances and social gatherings. On the wall at the entrance to the building is the greeting:
“This is a House of Friendship. This is a House of Service. For Families, For Lonely Folk. For the People of Govan. For the Strangers of the World. Welcome.”
It would appear that this greeting also extends to some past inhabitants who still wander the halls and corridors…!
There have been many reports of past paranormal activity in The Pearce Institute. The apparition of a ghostly woman has been witnessed walking across the foyer. Lights have been reported as well as a tap that switches on by itself. The presence of a man has been reported in the main hall on a number of occasions. On one occasion the caretaker reported hearing organ music coming from the hall, but the organ was in a decommissioned state and couldn’t be played!
Another apparition of a woman has been witnessed on the balcony above the main hall. The current caretaker has reported witnessing doors opening by themselves and often reports a feeling of uneasiness. Past psychic reports have picked up a feeling of negative energy in many parts of the building including the bell tower, attic, the underground tunnels leading to the disused shooting range and the boiler room. The remainder of the paranormal activity out-with these areas has been reported as being positive although appearing to be physical in nature.