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Edinburgh, Morningside Road, Churchill Theatre

Church (19th Century), Theatre (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Morningside Road, Churchill Theatre

Classification Church (19th Century), Theatre (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) 33 Morningside Road; Morningside Free Church

Canmore ID 52637

Site Number NT27SW 165

NGR NT 24527 71725

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Architecture Notes

NT27SW 165 24527 71725

ARCHITECT: Hippolyte J Blanc, 1892.

Converted to Church Hill Theatre 1962-5.


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 (4 December 1999)

A pair of square pillars comprising a stepped plinth supporting alternating blocks of pink and black granite, surmounted by a bronze inverted cone and sphere. Each pink granite block has a circular carving on two sides reflecting local life and events, whilst the smaller black granite blocks are inscribed on one side with the names of local areas and villages.

The carved circles represent people, events and areas:

North milestone, facing Morningside Road (reading top to bottom of pillar):

(1) the initials M S / a spark plug / golf tee, ball and club heads

(2) mathematical symbols

(3) a bee

(4) a mouse and the Internet

North milestone, facing Church Hill Theatre (reading top to bottom of pillar):

(1) a quill pen

(2) the 'Drunken Doo'

(3) an artist's palette

(4) sounding holes of a stringed instrument

South milestone, facing Morningside Road (reading top to bottom of pillar):

(1) Chi-Rho

(2) the proscenium of the Church Hill Theatre

(3) piano keys and a kipper

(4) a shuttle and thread

South milestone, facing Church Hill Theatre (reading top to bottom of pillar):

(1) a burning bush

(2) Miss Prism's handbag

(3) an Egyptian cat

(4) The Bore Stone (inscribed in the carving with JIV / 1513)

The Church Hill Theatre forecourt was upgraded in 1994 and a sum of money was set aside to commission a work of art in accordance with Edinburgh District Council's support for the arts. (Known as the "Percent for Art Scheme" in which money for artwork was included in budgets for any new building or upgrading work). Following a public meeting at the Theatre in November 1994, Gail Boardman of the Milestone Project outlined various options and subsequently invited those organisations in attendance to form the Church Hill Theatre Public Arts Group (formed specifically for the duration of the project and now disbanded) in partnership with Edinburgh District Council. The Church Hill Theatre Public Arts Group met for the first time in December 1994 and, following a selection process, commissioned Kenny Munro in February 1995. The unveiling ceremony took place in August 1996.

Meaning of each carved circle:

North milestone, facing Morningside Road:

(1) Muriel Spark (author) / a dynamic community / golf is said to have first been played on Bruntsfield Links

(2) John Napier 1550-1617, inventor of logarithms

(3) Industry of locals

(4) the computerised servants of Napier University and around

North milestone, facing Church Hill Theatre:

(1) Local writers

(2) The 'Drunken doo' (dove) refers to the occasion of John Napier preventing his neighbours' doos stealing his corn.

(3) Creative arts

(4) Music

South milestone, facing Morningside Road:

(1) Chi-Rho, the universal Christian symbol

(2) The Church Hill Theatre

(3) Morningside life: a piano in the parlour and a kipper in the kitchen

(4) Linen weavers of Tipperlinn

South milestone, facing Church Hill Theatre:

(1) The burning bush, for Holy Corner and Church Hill

(2) Miss Prism's handbag features in "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Noel Coward, which was the first performance held in the Church Hill Theatre

(3) Local streets with Egyptian names, for example Nile Grove and Egypt Mews

(4) The Bore Stone, on which the Royal Standard is said to have been raised to muster the Scottish army on the Boroughmuir in 1513 before the Battle of Flodden. [The Bore Stone is sited south of the Theatre, on Morningside Road. See EDIN0074]

Inscriptions : On brass plate fixed to plinth of north milestone, facing theatre (raised letters):

THE CHURCH HILL MILESTONES / By Kenny Munro / [brass plate in Braille] /

Commissioned by Edinburgh District Council / & Church Hill Public Art Group 1996

On north milestone, facing Morningside Road (reading top to bottom of pillar) inscribed on black granite blocks:


On south milestone, facing Morningside Road (reading top to bottom of pillar) inscribed on black granite blocks:


Signatures : None

Design period : 1995-1996

Year of unveiling : 1996

Unveiling details : Unveiled August 1996

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0007)


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