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Edinburgh, Leith, Commercial Street, St Ninians Church

Church (Period Unassigned), Nightclub (Modern), School (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith, Commercial Street, St Ninians Church

Classification Church (Period Unassigned), Nightclub (Modern), School (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Dock Street; Mariner's Free Church, Seamen's Institute, Church Hall; School Church; Mariners

Canmore ID 155570

Site Number NT27NE 707

NGR NT 26789 76629

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Architecture Notes

NT27NE 707 26789 76629

Edinburgh, Dock Street, Mariners Church,

Architect: John Henderson 1840.



Following information from Dr. Marshall, 4 Claremont Park (554 5518)

1. Hulk in harbour "Floating Johnny's Kirk"

2. Commercial Street (Dock Street) building. Taken into Parish Church system (1830's), but became Free Church at Disruption (1843).

3. Combined with St Ninian's, Coburg Street

4. Combined with St Nicholas, Ferry Road

5. Combined with North Leith Parish Church

Summary of its history in work by Ian Dunlop on all Edinburgh churches - published Scottish Record Society 1989.

Could also be said that Nautical College had its origins there:- Merchant Seamen's Act (1840's) decreed that they should have qualifications. Room in Mariner's Church used for instruction.


Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (20 May 2002)

Relief carving of a sailing ship with four oars, within an architectural frame, above main door to Mariners Bar.

Inspected By : I C Grant

Inscriptions : None

Signatures : None

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0587)

Field Visit (13 May 2002)

Two medallions at the ends of the top floor of the building; one carved with a sailing ship flanked by the letters W and R, the other carved with an anchor flanked by the letters B and T.

Inspected By : I. C. Grant

Inscriptions : On either side of sailing ship: W R

On either side of anchor: B T

Signatures : None Visible


Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0588)

Standing Building Recording (18 December 2007 - 16 January 2008)

NT 2678 7662 A assessment of this building was carried out, 18 December–16 January 2008, prior to its redevelopment. The work established that the building, elements of which date to the 19th century, had three phases of construction with additional minor alterations.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Jonel Properties Limited

Anya Rardin (AOC Archaeology Group), 2008

Standing Building Recording (5 May 2008 - 9 May 2008)

The watching brief was undertaken from the 5th to 9th May 2008, and consisted of a large 'U' shaped area being excavated at the eastern end of what was the nave of the church. The watching brief revealed six substantial walls, five of which were of dressed sandstone set into post medieval clay deposits. Evidence of a basement or vault in the northeastern corner of the building was also recorded during the works. These features may be associated with the churches of, St Nicholas, St Ninian's or even the Cromwellian Citadel, all of which existed on this site prior to its dedication as The Mariner's Church.

Information from AOC Archaeology Group

Standing Building Recording (22 September 2008 - 23 September 2008)

NT 2678 7662 A Level 2 historic building recording survey was undertaken, 22–23 September 2008. Mariner’s church was designed by John Henderson and built in 1839. It was built either in a single phase, or two consecutive phases. The form of the church shown in the earliest map of 1849 is a single galleried church room with school rooms to the W, largely as it appears today. Externally the church is a good example of Gothic architecture with a W tracery window and two spires with blind lancet windows. The interior of the church had been stripped during renovation and the schoolrooms had been fully renovated prior to the commissioning of this report. The recording involved a full photographic and written survey.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: MCP Mariners Ltd

Suzanne Lilley (AOC Archaeology Group), 2008


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