Edinburgh, being the second-largest
city in Scotland, has a large number of churches. Perhaps the
most widely-recognised is St Giles Cathedral in the High Street,
however there are scores of other churches, and it is my long-term
intention to photograph them all, and make these photographs available
The current list of churches is as follows:
To be included in my project,
the building must either be a current church or chapel, or have
been used as such at some time in the past, even though it may
now be used for some other purpose. Many church buildings have
become "surplus to requirements" over the years, but
have been saved from demolition because they were deemed suitable
for conversion. Some of these conversions are more controversial
than others, and one of the more extreme conversions must be the
Elim Pentecostal Church in George IV Bridge which is now the Frankenstein
Pub. Other conversions include an electricity transformer
station, and a government record office.
I am not photographing the buildings
in any order, and it will take me some time to get through them
all. If you are looking for a photograph of a particular church,
then let me know and I'll try to move it upwards in my list. I
will then inform you when it has been uploaded to this website.
To show where these buildings
are located, I have included a clip from Bartholomew's Post Office
Plan for Edinburgh and Leith 1930-1931. I have used this map for
two reasons - it is out of copyright, and it shows the location
of many churches which are no longer marked as such on modern
maps. Larger sections of this map are also available
for download. I have also also given the National Grid Reference
of the building, and links to www.streetmap.co.uk so that you can find it
on a modern map.
Following the history of a church
building in Edinburgh can be very complicated. Some buildings
were used by several different denominations, and the name was
changed accordingly. I have listed some of the names associated
with the building, but reference should be made to the booklist
below if you want a detailed history.
For architectural notes, probably the best reference is "The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh" by John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker. The book also lists most architecturally important buildings in the city, and runs to over 730 pages. Descriptions of the churches can vary enormously - St Giles takes 17 pages, and comes with photographs and floor plans, whilst Lauriston Place United Presbyterian Church is covered in just three lines. The text can be rather technical (eg "arcaded narthex with Celtic-Byzantine carving"), and opinionated (eg "endearingly lumpy Gothic" or "unusually pretentious"), but it is an excellent reference, especially for the older buildings in the city centre.
The history of many of the congregations
in Edinburgh is covered in "The Kirks of Edinburgh: The Congregations,
Churches, and Ministers of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Church
of Scotland, 1560-1984" by A Ian Dunlop, published by the
Scottish Record Society in 1988. This book describes how the congregations
merged and split, and give the buildings they used and the names
of the ministers.
All photographs were taken by
myself, and I retain copyright. You are welcome to download the
photographs, but publication in print and display on websites
is prohibited without prior permission. Higher-resolution copies
of the photographs are available - please contact me for details.
The following general links may be of interest: