St Saviour's Child Garden






Kames Brown

Perth, Western Australia


-  Ages two to seven

-  Old St Paul's Church

-  The Premises

-  The Grounds

-  Coal Fire Range

-  Living Quarters

-  More Answers?

-  Photos from 1912


Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

-  Fondest Memories

-  Home

-  St Paul's Episcopalian Church

-  Memorabilia

-  Visit by Duchess of Gloucester

-  Teachers

-  Milton House


Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

-  Mrs Purves


Janette McDonough


-  My Dad

-  The Kindergarten


Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

-  Research


Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

-  World War 1

-  War Memorial

-  Research

-  WW1Memorial Booklet

-  Certificates




James Brown

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

James Brown wrote:


Ages Two to Seven

"In the 1930's, two of my sisters and I, attended the St Saviour's Child Garden Nursery.  In our time, children were enrolled into the nursery at two years of age, and, did not leave until they were seven.

Between the ages of four and five, children started lessons on 'The Three Rs', giving them grounding in preparation for their entry in to their local primary school at age seven level."

Old St Paul's Church

"The Lady in charge of the Nursery at this time was a Miss Herdman, assisted by a Miss Rosie.  The nursery was under the auspices of 'Old St Paul's Church, located in Jeffrey Street.

It has always been my understanding, that the children of the nursery mostly came from the Congregation of the Church."

The Premises

"The nursery premises consisted three floors:

-  A Ground Floor

-  A Sub-Basement

-  A Basement/Cellar.

The Sub-Basement and Basement/Cellar looked out to the Backcourt at the rear of the building.  The toys were kept in the Basement/Cellar.

The children played outside in the Backcourt, exiting the Ground Floor by French Doors at the rear, and then down some steps into the Backyard, then it was a scramble, to get into the Basement for the best trikes, toys, etc."

The Grounds

"The Backyard was walled on three sides.

 The east wall was a party wall with the next door neighbours.

The south wall ran parallel with Holyrood Road, but set a bit further back

The west wall was a dividing wall between Gullan's Close and the nursery Backyard.  I remember it as being stone build, but don't recall any railings.  What I do remember, is people going down Gullan's Close often looking over the wall into the Back Play area."

Coal Fire Range

"Somewhere, inside the nursery premises, there was a very large black steel coal fire range.  In the weeks before Christmas, it was here. at this range, that the Children used to send their notes up the lum for Santa.

There was always a photographerr present, so there must be a lot of old photos lying around.  Maybe there is, an Old St Paul's Church Archivist with cabinets full of old photos."

Living Quarters

"The Living Quarters, above the Nursery Ground Floor, were not accessed through the Nursery Front Door. Access to these apartments above was by a Common Tenement stariway in the corner, to the right of the Nursery Front Door. You climbed the Common Stairway, then turned Left, off whichever landing you were seeking."

More Answers?

"I am always available, to help answer any questions anybody wishes to pose about the Nursery.

Bid You Adieu."

James Brown, Perth, Western Australia, Australia:  October 28 + November 2, 2012

Photos from 1912

Here is one from a collection of earlier photos of St Saviour's Child Garden.  Please click on the the thumbnail image below to see all 12 photos in this series.  These photos were taken in 1912:

St Saviour's Child-Garden kindergarten, Chessel's Court, Canongate, Edinburgh  -  A School Muster




Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

Thank you to Eileen Findlay who wrote:

Fondest Memories

"Absolutely the fondest memories of my life and times was being a wee bairn at St Saviour's Child Garden in Chessel's Court in the Canongate."


"I lived at 2 Chessel's Court, the first stair as you went into the close. I think my mum put me into St. Saviour's as soon as she could, since she had six other children and worked three menial jobs a day just to put food on our table, as my Dad "would neither work nor want" as she would put it."

St Paul's Episcopalian Church

"Alcoholism was big in those days. It would take me too long to write down all my memories and happy times at St. Saviour's, which was an offshoot of St. Paul's Episcopal Church along Jeffrey Street, where I attended Sunday morning services, the Brownie's and Girl Guides, not to mention all the summer trips to Humbie with our wee tin can hanging around our necks by a string for our "juice" when we got to the camp."


"Many years ago the minister for St. Paul's announced he was giving away all the memorabilia of St. Saviour's, photos, booklets, fundraising pamphlets from eons ago.  My sister heard about it and went along and got what she could get, or what was left and gave it to me. I have the list of the children who attended St. Saviour's when I was there."

Visit by Duchess of Gloucester

"I was born in 1944 and I had a photo of myself taken with the Duchess of Gloucester when she came to Edinburgh and made a stop at St. Saviour's. The Duchess came with Father Lockhart, and my memories of his wonderful gentleness and kindness to the children has remained with me to this day. "


"I also remember all the teachers.  Does anyone remember Miss Herman, the German schoolteacher who used to teach the "older children" in the rooms above St. Saviour prior to us going to Milton House School?  She was magnificent"

Milton House

"Again, too many memories and stories to tell. Many, many years ago, my family told me that Milton House was also getting rid of stuff and had a sort of Open House about all the former pupils who had gone through the school.

The Headmaster told a story about the children who had come from St. Saviour's to Milton House after being educated there until the age of 8. He said: "if some of the children were misbehaving or just being a little bit naughty in the classroom, the teacher would say, okay who did this or that --- and always and everytime, the only hand that would be raised was from a child who had attended St. Saviour's!!!"

We were taught so many wonderful values at St. Saviour's, I get emotional when I think about it.  It made me who I am today, along with growing up in the Canongate. If we could only go back ... !"

Eileen Findlay, Gold River, California, USA:  November 9, 2013



Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

Thank you to Eileen Findlay who wrote:

Mrs Purves

"I knew Mrs. Purves really well.  She was one of the local women who worked at St. Saviour's.  She was not a teacher, she was just one of the workers who helped to take care of the children.

She lived in Pirrie's Close to the right of Chessel's Court. I believe she died many years ago, but I used to go and see her whenever I was visiting my family in Edinburgh."

Eileen Findlay, Gold River, California, USA:  December 27, 2014



Janette McDonough


Thank you to Janette McDonough who wrote:

My Dad

"I have been reading all the comments above on Chessel's court  and found them really interesting.

Chessels Steps Court

 Children from St Saviour's Kindergarten on the steps at Chessel's Court, around 1911-12

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Janette McDonough, Austrralia

Here is a photo of my dad, George Allan, and other children, taken outside the entrance of the Chessels Court kindergarten, around 1911-12 when my dad was about 4 or 5 years old. 

He is the blonde boy in the foreground, sitting on the railings, towards the bottom of the rail .  He lived near the bottom of the Canongate."

The Kindergarten

"The kindergarten was definitely referred to in that time as St Saviour's and was associated with Old St Paul's Episcopal church in Jeffrey Street.

The ladies who ran the kindergarten were Ursula Herdman and Katherine Borland.   My older sister was named after Katherine Borland."

Janette McDonough, Australia:  12 + 16 August 2016



Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

Thank you to Eileen Findlay who wrote:


"Here is a message that I received last October from Susanna Kerr.   Susanna wrote:

Research Group

"I saw your fascinating entry on the Edinphoto web page and wondered if you by any chance had any idea of the names of pupils of St Saviours Child Garden, Edinburgh, from about 1880- 1900?

A research group of us who attend Old St Paul's Church in Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, are researching the names of the men who appear on the wall of our War Memorial in the chapel of Old St Paul's, men who were killed in the First World War. We know that some of the men whose names appear there attended the  Child Garden but not necessarily the church.

It would help us enormously if we knew which of the men had attended the school only.

The Edinburgh City Archives do not hold a list of the names and the little history of the school also contains no names.

I have a nasty feeling that a lot of the documents were thrown or given away in the 1930s, but wondered if your parents and grandparents had ever possibly talked to you about any specific people that had been pupils at St Saviours and what had happened to them during the First World War."

Susanna Kerr:  2 October 2016

" I replied to Susanna , telling her:

Research Group

"I attended St Saviour's as a wee, wee bairn. 

Many, many years ago my family found out that the new Priest who stayed at the house on Jeffrey Street was getting rid of a lot of St. Saviour's photos, brochures, etc.

My sister went to the manse and got what she could, but at that point a lot of people had beaten her to the chase, so to speak.

However, I do have many of their very early fundraising little booklets, and even earlier ones where it shows the children in the back garden.  So when I come home I will bring them with me to show you.

Also, did you know that Edinburgh Library on George IV Bridge has an entire history of St. Saviours.  They only have one copy.  My brother took me there once and it was really fascinating to read what it was like prior to the turn of the century.

You most likely know that it was originally brought into being to 'save the wee bairns from the slums' and it was only due to the charitable contributions of the more well to do members of Edinburgh, that it was able to stay in business.

I have so many wonderful, happy memories of my time at St. Saviour's, as well as attending Old St. Paul's during my upbringing in the Canongate.  I have always credited both of them for making me the kind of woman I am today, including raising my two daughters with the same values, ethics, honesty and charity that was instilled in me."


Eileen added:

"I'd like to know what photos and memorabilia other people got.  I was told there was a lot of it, but my sister unfortunately learned too late that they were getting rid of all of it, so she got what she could and I'm grateful for that at least."

Eileen Findlay, Gold River, California, USA:  8 January 2017 (2 emails)



Eileen Findlay

Gold River, California, USA

Eileen Findlay followed up her Recollections 5, adding:

World War 1

War Memorial

"On the wall in Old St. Paul's side chapel, there are many names of soldiers who died in WWI.  I was home June/July this year and stopped into the church, talked with a gal who was working on a project to find out if any of these fallen soldiers had attended St. Saviour's."

War Memorial

Please click on the image above to to enlarge this picture


"I did some research for Susanna Kerr, as I have some booklets with photos of St. Saviour's which were published from the early-1900's up to the time that I attended the kindergarden in 1946 and later.

WW1 Memorial Booklet

"I came back to Edinburgh in November/December 2017 (death in the family) and went to the church and saw that they had published a WW1 Memorial Booklet on their research.  I got a copy of the booklet and left a 5 donation."

Some of the photos in the Old St Paul's Memorial Booklet also as appear in one of the St Saviour booklets I have from the early-1900s,"


"I was interested in all this research as two Uncles on my Dad's side were killed in WWI.  Their names are on the wall at Edinburgh Castle.  I also found out that you can order a copy of WWI military death notices through the  National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

If you had a relative who died in WWI, you can buy a very nicely printed hard copy certificate giving their name, where they were born, the military battalion they were in and when they died in WWI.  You can do everything online.  I think I paid 10 for each certificate.  My daughters here in America were thrilled - one more piece of the puzzle regarding their Scottish ancestors."

Eileen Findlay, Gold River, California, USA:  8 January 2017


Recollections  -  More Pages