St Andrew's & St George's Church

East End of George Street

Disruption  -  1842

St Andrew's Church is now St Andrew & St George's Church.  It was from here, at the East End of George Street  that the ministers walked out in the Disruption of May 1842

Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  St ANdrew's Church in George Street

They went in procession down Hanover Street to Tanfield Hall at Canonmills, where they held the First Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland.

Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Tanfield Hall

David Octavius Hill intended  to make a painting of the Disruption. 

DO Hill's oil painting of The Disruption

In order to create the likenesses of the large number of ministers, he decided to enter into partnership with the Robert Adamson in his studio, Rock House, at Calton Hill.  Over the period 1843-1847, the Hill & Adamson partnership produced many thousand calotype photographs from this studio.

Anniversary lecture  -  2002

A Conference was held in Edinburgh in 2002, to mark the bi-centenary of the birth of DO Hill.  One of the events at this conference was a Public Lecture on the History of Photography, illustrated with slides, presented in St Andrew's & St George's Church

The Church Bells

The bells of St Andrew's & St George's church, Edinburgh, were cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London, a foundry that has existed since 1420.  It  created Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.

These bells were installed in a wooden housing, high in the church steeple, in 1788.  They were used for change ringing (where the bells rotate through a full circle) for over a century.

The change ringing ceased in 1903, when the bells were thought not to be in a fit state to continue.  Instead, small clappers were attached to the bells, allowing them to be used to play hymn tunes.

The bells are now to be returned to Whitechapel Bell Foundry for refurbishment and retuning.  They will then be re-hung in a metal frame in a new bell chamber in the church steeple, so that change ringing might be heard again, one day, from the church.

The first five of the eight bells were removed from the steeple, and lowered down the outside of the church in September 2003.  Bells 6 and 7 will be removed and lowered inside the church at a later date.  The largest bell, the tenor bell, will remain in the church.

In comparison to England, there are very few churches in Scotland that have bells that can ring changes.  In Cornwall alone, there are 300 sets.  In the whole of Scotland, there are only 17 sets, including two others in Edinburgh,  St Mary's Cathedral and St Cuthbert's Church.

Further details of bell-ringing in Scotland can be found
on this Scottish Association of Change Ringers web site.

 

 

Sources:  1.  Edinburgh Evening News 20 August 2003, p.4

                 2.  Bell ringers whom I met outside St Andrew's Church as the bells were being lowered, Sept 03.

 

 

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