St. Catherine’s-Argyle Church

Like Fountainhall Road Church, this church has its origins when members of a town congregation moved out to the suburbs in 1861 – in this case, members of the Free Church. They met first of all in a hall in Causewayside, then in Clare Hall in Minto Street, with services also in a house in Mansionhouse Road. In 1866 the new church was built, with seating for 900, to be called Chalmers Memorial Church, with Horatius Bonar, the famous hymn writer, as its minister.

St Catherine’s – Argyle Church
The church became Grange U.P. Church in 1900 and then in 1929, St. Catherine’s in Grange. The name of St Catherine’s was given because of the remains in the neighbourhood of a medieval nunnery of St Catherine of Sienna (transformed into the word Sciennes). This church included UP members who disagreed over the use of fermented wine at communion. A further new church was built at the corner of Sciennes Road in 1880 – Argyle Place Church – which united with St. Catherine’s in 1968. Originally the plan was that the Argyle Place building should be the place of worship and St. Catherine’s prepared to be extensive halls for the congregation. However in 1974, a disastrous fire destroyed Argyle Place Church and St. Catherine’s underwent refurbishment to become St. Catherine’s – Argyle Church in 1979. The Grange Association was very fortunate to be able to hold many of its meetings in this beautiful church, with its well appointed halls.
Rev Victor Laidlaw

Having lived in the Grange for the last 28 years and with approximately half the parish situated in it, I have been privileged to serve in this leafy part of Edinburgh. One has seen many changes over these years, some for the better, others not. Sadly the quietness of the area has been eroded over time. When we first came to stay in Palmerston Road, there was hardly a car in sight. Now even driving in and out of the garage can be a nightmare with so many cars parked in the street. What has been good to see is the basic ethos of the area remaining the same and the community spirit growing as people have continued to take an interest in their part of Edinburgh. We may live in a city, but walking in the Grange is more like being in the country with views of the hills and leafy gardens. And there are still places of comparative tranquility like Blackford Hill and even, for those like myself, who enjoy history, the wonderful Grange Cemetery with its amazing story of the past. It is a joy to stay in this part of Edinburgh and one trusts that its essential character will not be lost in the inevitable march of progress.

Rev Victor Laidlaw