Our History

1900s

From 1929 this congregation bore the name St Nicholas’ Church, but in 1962 when it united with St Ninian’s Coburg Street, it was renamed St Ninian’s Ferry Road. In 1941 a land mine fell at Largo Place and another at David Kirkpatrick’s School (now Ferrylee Home) causing considerable damage to houses in the vicinity. North Leith Church did not escape. All of its upstairs windows were shattered, the church crypt was damaged and the concussion caused some movement in the foundation. This rendered the church unsafe for worship and services had to be held in the Church Hall.

By March 1948 the foundation of the Church had settled again and repair work began, followed by extensive renovation that lasted until May 1950. On 13th May 1950, after much fund-raising and a good deal of hard work, the Church was re-opened for public worship; and amid great excitement and thankfulness it was re-dedicated. It has been used by the congregation ever since.

The Secession strand of the Presbyterian Church established an extension congregation called Bonnington in the new terraced housing to the west. Bonnington Church stood at the north end of Summerside Street and retained its independent existence until 1968. It was united with North Leith Parish Church in Madeira Street under the new name of North Leith and Bonnington. Bonnington Church was sold and demolished to make way for modem housing.

By 1968 there was, therefore, only two congregations remaining – St Ninians’ Ferry Road and North Leith and Bonnington. These in turn were united in 1982 under the name of North Leith Parish Church and the place of worship is the 1816 building in Madeira Street.

The Ferry Road building was sold for redevelopment in 1985 and is now sheltered housing accommodation known as St Nicholas Court. The united congregation decided to construct new hall premises in the grounds beside the surviving church and the hall was opened and dedicated at the end of 1987.

Renovation of North Leith Church and the Session House began in 1989. It was divided into three phases that involved respectively, rot eradication, work to the Church spire and the Session House as well as interior decoration of the Church and Session House. The work was finally completed in October 1993 at a total cost of nearly £350,000 made possible through generous grants, donations and much hard work on the part of the congregation.

1993 saw the congregation celebrating the 500th Anniversary of a Christian presence in North Leith with a whole range of events culminating in a Thanksgiving Service held in October 1993 to mark the completion of the restoration work.

For more details about the history of the church, please read North Leith Parish Church, The First 500 Years by Dr J.S. Marshall, published: 1992, St Andrews Press.