St Andrew's and St George's West Church

(Church of Saint Andrew and Saint George)

St. Andrew and St. George's Church, George Street, Edinburgh
©2023 Gazetteer for Scotland

St. Andrew and St. George's Church, George Street, Edinburgh

St. Andrew's and St. George's West Church, built to an unusual oval design by Major Andrew Fraser of the Royal Engineers, opened in 1784 as St. Andrew's Church. Now A-listed owing to its architectural and historical importance, this was the first church in Edinburgh's New Town, located in George Street, built there at the suggestion of Sir James Hunter Blair (1741-87), previously a Lord Provost of the city. In James Craig's original plan for the New Town this church should have been located on the east side of St. Andrew Square, but this site could not be acquired from its owner Sir Lawrence Dundas (1712-81), who had built himself a fine mansion there. Its mirror St. George's Church was built in its intended location on the west side of Charlotte Square (originally St. George's Square). Its steeple rises to 51m / 167 feet.

St. Andrew's church is notable for being at the location of the 'Disruption' of the Church of Scotland, when a third of the ministers attending the General Assembly of 1843, held within the church, walked out to form the Free Church of Scotland under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers (1780 - 1847).

The congregation of St. Andrew's combined with the nearby St. George's Church in 1964, the latter building becoming West Register House. A further merger in 2010 with St. George's West Church in Shandwick Place brought the addition of 'West' to the name. The church is now noted for its book sale in May which raises over £100,000 annually for the Christian Aid charity.

The building features stained glass by Alf Webster (1883 - 1915) and Douglas Strachan (1875 - 1950).

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