The Tron Kirk

 The Tron Kirk is at the junction of the Royal Mile and South Bridge.

Construction  -  1636-45

Engraving from Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Old Tron Church

Work began on building of the Tron Kirk in 1636, following demolition of the multi-storey buildings that had stood on the site, the top of Marlin's Wynd which ran down from the Royal Mile to the Cowgate. 

The church took nine years to build.

Alteration  -  1785-87

The church was originally T-shaped but was shortened and its south aisle removed during the building of South Bridge from 1785 to 1787.

Fire  -  1824-28

The church was severely damaged and the church tower was destroyed in the Old Town Fire of 1824.  A new higher tower was constructed in 1828

Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -   The Tron Church on New Year's Eve

20th Century

The Tron Kirk was a traditional place to celebrate the New Year in Edinburgh for much of the 20th century with perhaps a few hundred people gathering in the street outside.  But since 1990 there have been far more extensive celebrations throughout the City Centre.

The building was closed as a church in 1952. 

Excavations within the church in 1974 uncovered the remains of Marlin's Wynd,  including cellars and what is thought to be the oldest surviving paved street in Edinburgh.

The church is now a Tourist Information Center, with the old street on view in the centre and a walk-way with exhibitions around the walls of the church.  There are large stained glass windows in the West Wall and East Wall.

The Tron Kirk  -  Stained Glass Window in the West Wall

21st Century

The church is now (Dec 04) in poor condition and is on the Buildings at Risk Register.  It is currently leased by Black  Heart Entertainment which operates Edinburgh ghost tours.

Several schemes for its future use have been suggested, including proposals by RMJM, the architects of the Scottish Parliament, that it should be developed as a restaurant with a large retractable canopy over Hunter Square and performance space for artists and entertainers.

Further plans were announced by RMJM, working in conjunction with Edinburgh City Council, in December 2004.  These included:

-  a 1m development to create a cabaret club and conference venue.

-  performance space, an archaeology exhibition and a function area for weddings.

-  canopies and sculptures beside the church in Hunter Square.

This project still requires private funding before it can go ahead.

Some of the details above has been taken from Edinburgh Evening News, 8 Mar 2004, p.9 and 20 Dec 2004, p.21.

 

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