Photographic Record of Edinburgh's Church Buildings

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 to everyone.

List of Churches

The current list of churches is as follows:

Qualification Rules

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.

Order of Taking Photographs

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 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.

Useful Links

The following general links may be of interest: