Contacts & Directions

1B Royal Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5AB

0131 557 2124

For all general enquiries please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Normal office hours Tues-Thurs 9am-12noon

Find Us

Greenside is a brisk ten minute walk from the east end of Princes Street. From Waterloo Place walk down the north side of Leith Street, past the shopping centre on your left. As Leith Street meets the Picardy Place roundabout continue on the same pavement, passing the Omni Cinema complex on your right and then the Playhouse theatre. At the next corner turn right at the Royal Bank of Scotland up Blenheim Place. Walk up the hill and you will see us on your right.

 

 

 

 

History

This pleasant side of the Calton Hill, known as the "green side", is an area of historical interest. In 1518 ground was conferred to "the Freris Carmelitis for theyre Chapel of Holy Cross". After the reformation the buildings fell into neglect. Although not one stone of this foundation remains, an official of the Carmelites in Rome, until recent times, still bore the title "Il Padre Priori Di Greenside".

In the 16th century, the highly contagious, deforming disease of leprosy was common in Scotland. The remains of the monastery buildings were used as a leper colony. An area of Greenside was also at that time given over to fairs and jousting at which, it is said, Mary Queen of Scots was a spectator.

The present church, a daughter church of St Cuthbert's in the West End, was built to a design by the architect, James Gillespie Graham, in his "robust Gothic" style, and it opened its doors for worship on Sunday the 6th of October 1839 . This was to serve the residents of Playfield's Georgian terraces that encircle the Calton Hill.

greenside1883

There have been many notable ministers and members of the congregation. One family deserves a particular mention, the Stevenson family. High in merit in the roll of famous engineers, together with Watt and Telford, stands the name of Robert Stevenson. Among his works was the design and erection of twenty lighthouses in Scotland including what seemed to be the almost impossible Bell Rock Lighthouse.

stevens

Robert Stevenson, an elder, took much interest in our congregation and in the care of the church building. This work was continued by his three sons who also founded, in memory of their father, a chapel in the area of lower Greenside for the benefit of the poor of the parish.

One of these sons, Thomas, also an engineer, was father of Robert Louis Stevenson, the poet and novelist, and there is no doubt that he attended as a boy. He referred to Greenside in his "Random Memories" as "The Church on the Hill". The Church is also mentioned in his book "Tales and Fantasies".

church exteriorwindow

In recent years the work and witness of Greenside has been greatly strengthened by unions with other congregations in this area. In 1974 we united with Hopetoun Church in McDonald Road, in 1975 with Abbey Church at Abbeyhill and in 1978 with Hillside Church (formerly known as Lady Glenorchy's North Church) next to the Playhouse theatre.

The wills of Robert Stevenson, Robert Louis Stevenson and James Gillespie Graham, Greenside Church architect, can be found at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

The records of Greenside Church up to 1901 can be researched in the National Archives of Scotland without charge. Lists of these records can be found on its website at http://www.nas.gov.uk.

 

The Minister

The former minister of Greenside Church, the Revd. Andrew Anderson MA BD, retired on Sunday 30th October 2011 after 30 years as minister of the congregation. He was the 11th minister of Greenside and was inducted and ordained to the charge in October 1981.

Greenside is now being held in Guardianship of Edinburgh Presbytery.

The Interim Moderator supporting us at this time, is the Revd. Ian Y. Gilmour, minister of St Andrew's and St George's West Church, Edinburgh.  This will be reviewed at regular intervals.

The Locum minister is the Revd. Alistair Wynne BA BD who leads us in worship each week and also carries out much pastoral care in our parish.

Church Organ

The Organ at Greenside

The Greenside organ was built by Ingram & Co. in 1933 at a cost of £1,600 and was opened on 8 October of that year by Dr. William Baird Ross of Broughton Place Church. It has two manuals and 21 speaking stops, the original action from console to pipes being electro-pneumatic.

The previous organ, bought second-hand from Harrisons in 1885, was situated in the gallery.  It was blown by hand and almost certainly had mechanical action.  It was sold to St.Margaret's, Dumbiedykes, in 1933, according to the Session Minutes of both churches.

Apart from routine maintenance and tuning, nothing further was done to the present organ until 1964 when the then organist and choirmaster, Edward Robinson, wrote to the Kirk Session a report on the state of the instrument ending it as follows:-

"Finally, from a personal viewpoint, it is extremely embarrassing and nerve-wracking to sit Sunday after Sunday not knowing if the organ will last out the service.  Also having to attend at the Church almost every other Saturday either with the Organ Company or alone to correct some minor fault is expecting rather a lot of the Organist."

The Kirk Session took note and Henry Willis & Son Ltd. thoroughly cleaned and overhauled the organ and completely re-electrified the console doing away with the pneumatic action.  The cost was £1515 7/6.

In 1992, Henry Willis & Son Ltd. suggested several tonal changes and re-voicings but the Committee on Artistic Matters recommended that these changes were unnecessary with the exception of the following:-

1. The Great Fifteenth was reckoned to be too "Flutey" and should be changed for a new rank of pipes which would brighten up the Great Chorus.  The Fifteenth is the highest sounding stop on the organ (nominally 2')

2. The Great Dulciana should be loudened during tonal finishings.  The Dulciana 8' is the quietest stop on the Great Organ (unenclosed) and is normally used to accompany the Oboe stop on the Swell Organ (enclosed).

Work commenced at the beginning of August 1993 when the organ was handed over to Ivor Norridge and Jim Smail of Rushworth's.  It is only when the organ is taken to pieces that one realises how many different parts there are - over 1000 pipes; each manual or keyboard has 61 notes; there are 30 pedals, 21 draw-stops for the speaking stops plus another for a tremulant, 8 draw-stops for couplers, 8 adjustable thumb pistons .........and so it goes on! 

Everything has to be cleaned thoroughly!  The original keys to the console and the cupboards were found under the pedalboard when it was taken away to the workshop for renovation.

So, for almost the whole month of August the organ fell silent and the praise at Greenside was ably led by Muriel Aird from the piano.  I began to get a little twitchy around the beginning of September - I suppose that I was suffering withdrawal symptoms - and I started to regularly visit the church.  Imagine my delight one day in early September when I walked into the church and heard the lovely sounds of pipes being tuned.  Not only did all the pipes have to be retuned but a new rank of pipes had to be voiced - that is a real expert's job!

I think that it was fitting that the first service with the newly renovated organ was the Joint Service of Holy Communion with London Road on 12 September 1993.

I would like to thank the Kirk Session for heeding my pleas to have the organ cleaned and trust that it will give many more years of good and faithful service in leading the praise in God's house at Greenside.

For those of you who would like to know the whole specification, it is reproduced below! The organ always was top of my pops before I joined Greenside and I now realise what a lovely instrument it always has been - and the renovation work really has been worthwhile. It is a real joy to play!!!

Mike Thomson

 

Organ specification

About Us

The Church is administered by the Kirk Session, consisting of the minister / Interim Moderator and elders, and by the Congregational Board, consisting of elders and other members of the congregation elected at the Annual General Meeting held in April each year.

Other congregations using our church building for worship on Sundays are, The Russian Orthodox Churchand The Edinburgh Mission Church of the Charismatic Episcopal Church every Sunday at 6 p.m.).

In recognition of the many people of other faiths living in the parish and in the city of Edinburgh the church is also part of an outreach programme called Asian Concern.

Greenside is also a partner church in the Care Shelter scheme run by Bethany Christian Trust and the Edinburgh City Mission . The Care Shelter offers a hot meal and overnight accommodation for homeless people in Edinburgh in the winter months.

The Street Pastors work from Greenside over night on Fridays most weeks.

The congregation has representatives for the national charities Christian Aid  and TearFund and organises regular fundraising events for them. A stall selling fairly traded goods also operates in the church hall after the Sunday morning service.

Church affiliated organisations include Beavers, Cubs and Scouts,Explorer Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and the St Andrew Ambulance Cadets.

The church halls are hired by a number of outside groups, including the Greenside After School Club, Trinity Guildhall School  of Music, a regular dance class and for special occasions and celebrations.

The halls are also a successful venue during the month of August for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

For details of meeting times of organisations and groups, or information about hiring the halls please contact us

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