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Free Church

Regent Street, Portobello

Free Church  -  Regent Street, Portobello

1874 or earlier

Photograph by William Kyles  -  Portobello Free Church

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh


Portobello Free Church

Old Photograph

Thank you to Archie Foley for providing the photograph above.

Archie wrote

William Kyles

"This is a photograph that I picked up recently.  It is of the Free Church in Regent Street, Portobello.  It was taken by William Kyles whose studio at the time was at 34 Bath Street.

The overwhelming majority of Kylesí photographs were of people taken in his studio and it is extremely uncommon to come across an outdoor shot.  Isn't it a pity that the Portobello photographers didn't get out and about more?"


Bath Street leads from Portobello High Street to Portobello Promenade. Regent Street runs parallel to Bath Street.  It is the next street to the east.

William Kyles worked as a photographer in Portobello, both alone and in partnership with others from 1863 until 1882.

-  Peter Stubbs

The Church

"The photograph must have been taken before 8th November 1874 because on the evening of that day, a Sunday, the church was all but destroyed by a disastrous fire.

The interior was gutted, the roof and bell tower fell in but the four walls were left standing. The Free Church congregation decided to build anew on a different site and this led to the opening in October 1877 of the church now known as St Philipís in Joppa.

There is a drawing of the building done by William Baird in 1889 but the roof is completely different and it has no bell tower.

The Regent Street building was rebuilt and reopened as a place of worship by the United Presbyterian Church and eventually in 1929 became a charge of the Church of Scotland.

In 1954 the congregation joined with that of the Old Parish Church and the building was renamed the Thomson Hall. It was demolished and replaced by a block of flats some years ago.

Archie Foley:  May 2006.   These notes were written by Archie for the Portobello Reporter


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