The History of St Cuthbert’s
The Scottish Episcopal Church has existed for around three hundred years, but there has only been an Episcopal Church in Colinton since the end of the nineteenth century. The Church grew out of the Mission to Colinton, which was founded in 1883 to serve a community which had been growing rapidly since the arrival of the railway; work on a church building began in 1888, and the building was finally consecrated and the first Rector appointed in 1893.
As Colinton continued to expand from a small village on the outskirts of Edinburgh to a populous suburb, St Cuthbert’s grew along with it. The church building had to be extended almost immediately after it was consecrated, and again in the 1930s, and by 1951 the congregation numbered around 700 people.
At the same time, the church was increasingly involved with the life of the community around it. In the 1940s the Rector of St Cuthbert’s became an official Chaplain to the troops based just up the road at Redford Barracks and in the 1960s the church first became involved in projects to tackle homelessness in the City of Edinburgh, with the Abbeyfield in Scotland project.
Much of the social action of St Cuthbert’s has been carried out since the 1960s in conjunction with the local Church of Scotland, and the joint Christian Aid group in particular has been one of the most active in Scotland for many years.
The church celebrated its centenary in 1989.
The Church Buildings
The original church building was considerably smaller than that of the present day, corresponding roughly to the region between the altar screen and the front porch. It was built largely with the financial support of two local residents, Oliver Riddell and Rowand Anderson, supported by subscriptions from the congregation. Both men were also instrumental in the extension of the 1890s, when the Lady Chapel and its seating were added.
The Church Hall was added in 1926; and the extension of the 1930s, which lengthened the nave and added the choir vestry.
A particular feature of the inside of the Church is the richly decorated ceiling in both the nave and the chancel. Rowand Anderson, who both designed and partially funded the original building, designed both sets of decoration, and the extension to the nave was eventually decorated in the same style when the interior was renovated in the late 1980s. Originally the walls of the church were also richly decorated, but these decorations fell victim to changing fashions in the late 1930s, when they were replaced with the current plain cream walls.
Several of Anderson’s other interior features survive intact, including the woodwork of the pews and the altar screen. The choir stalls were acquired from Holy Trinity Church in the late 1940s, and the silver cross and candlesticks on the main altar were designed by J. H. Auld in 1950, as a memorial to the former rector Dean William Perry, who died in 1948.
The Church has several fine Stained Glass Windows – see more
Quinquennial works – link to some photos