Faith Mission Bible College - Christian Heritage


Faith Mission Bible College

People who work with us are trained up in sharing their faith and an evangelism course is run for students at the Faith Mission Bible College, and students from the Free Church College experience practical work with us. We aim to establish a School of Evangelism for local churches soon. Apologetics is an important part of this training as we seek to communicate the Christian message in an unbelieving nation.

John Knox - Christian Heritage

Free ipod tour

Here you can download audio files so you can experience the Celtic Tour without our guide at a time to suit yourself, while it is not quite as immersive as the guided tour it does offer an option for those who cannot, for whatever reason, join the regular tour.

Please note that the individual files range in size from 613KB for the “Introduction” up to 10.9MB for “Scene 10”, at the end there is also the option to download the full tour as a single file which is 67.8MB, please ensure you have enough space to download these files to your device. All files are MP3 format.




Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4


Scene 5 Scene 6 Scene 7 Scene 8


Scene 9 Scene 10 Scene 11 Scene 12


Full Tour

Edinburgh City Mission history timeline

Founder: David Nasmith (1799 – 1839)

  • 1832: “On the 1st March, eight gentlemen met together in the shop of Messrs. Young and Miller, 375 High Street, to confer with David Nasmyth in regard to the formation of a City Mission in Edinburgh.” (Annual Report, 1895)City Missions’ motto: “Let the glory of God, and the salvation of souls, be your chief – your only end.” (1826)Vision: Edinburgh split into 30 districts to be thoroughly evangelised by ECM and associate missionaries through Christians working in unity from different evangelical churches. Reaction of some of the church leaders: IMPOSSIBLE, OUTRAGEOUS AND UNNEEDED!

    Six missionaries employed in first year (only three other missionaries in Edinburgh in 1832)

    Mr. Charles Spence: First General Superintendent

  • 1839: ECM spearheads city-wide evangelism so that “a missionary spirit” is released in the churches
  • 1840: ECM HQ moves from 375 High St., to 126 High St.
  • 1841: Revival in The Shelter (Grassmarket) through ECM: “a place of weeping” Graham Speirs, Sheriff of Edinburgh and Chairman for the Annual Meeting, publicly says: “A single Bible was worth a thousand penal statutes and one missionary would do more than a whole legion of policemen.”(30th November)
  • 1847: Mr. George Clarkson: Second General Superintendent
  • 1848: 19 out of 30 Districts covered by ECM, including: High St.; Canongate; Stockbridge; Greenside; Catherine St; Joppa and Portobello; Corstorphine and southern and western parts.
  • 1852: Rev. James Trench: Third General Superintendent
  • 1853: Sub-saving Banks for the poor set up by ECM, and Mother’s Meetings. Appointment of Missionary to the Police.
  • 1854: Rev. D. Muir: Fourth Gen. Super.
  • 1855: Galloway’s Entry Mission Hall, Canongate, established
  • 1856: Open air evangelism becomes very popular with ECM. “Huge crowds” gather. Loan libraries set up in all 30 Districts. Some missionaries do public lectures on science and history to educate men and preach the Gospel. Rev. Alex Millar: Fifth Gen. Super
  • 1859: United Prayer Meetings in Edinburgh. Revival breaks out in Pilrig School. It centres on Carrubbers Close Mission, High St., where ECM’s friendship with them brings in a huge harvest for Christ together. Amazing transformed lives! Great unity in the churches and Christian organizations for prayer, evangelism and good works
  • 1860: Appointment of lady missionary to the “Fallen Women” (Prostitutes).
  • 1865: ECM HQ moves to 5, St. Andrews Square. Missionaries start using modern technology – “magic lanterns” and “diagrams”.
  • 1870: “Public interest in City Missions was never greater than now.” Missionary to the blind appointed to ECM. Rev. William Galletly: Sixth Gen. Super
  • 1872: Rev. William Turner: 7th Gen. Super
  • 1873: Moody and Sankey Revival: Thousands converted. One missionary leads about a hundred to Christ in three months in his dining-room
  • 1874: Missionary to the Edinburgh Tramway Company appointed. Lord Shaftesbury declares publicly at a large meeting in Wemyss Bay, that the British government recognised that the work of the City Missions had been the key that had prevented the Revolution in Europe from coming to Britain.
  • 1875: Record number of ECM missionaries (salaried by ECM or associated and under ECM supervision): 33. Also number of combined missionaries in Edinburgh: 130.
  • 1886: Appointment of “Extraordinary Directors”, in an advisory capacity. There were 19 of them, besides the 24 directors, 6 doctors, 12 examiners and others, making a total of 63 support staff! Many were lords, earls, judges, and church ministers. Some were church moderators and bishops over the period from the nineteenth century until the 1970s. Statements like the following show the high regard Edinburgh had for ECM:

    There is no Society that more deserves the support and thanks of the community than the Edinburgh City Mission.”

    Lord Provost, W.S. Brown, 1909

    ….(the churches) felt the reproof the City Mission addressed to them, and followed the example it set them.

    Dr. Guthrie, Founder of the Ragged Schools, 1866

    There is a fine spirit in the Mission, and it is just the Spirit of Christ.

    Rt. Rev. Dr. Norman MacLean, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, 1927

  • 1887: Missionary to the Breweries appointed
  • 1892: Missionary to the Public Houses appointed
  • 1894: Rev. John Forgan: 8th Gen. Super
  • 1895: Niddrie Mission and Grassmarket Mission under ECM supervision.
    Holiday Fund to provide 2,000 children holidays
  • 1896: Parish nurse appointed to miners’ families in New Craighall on Niddrie Estate. Bailie Pollard, Chairman of Public Health Committee of Town Council is one of ECM’s directors. Through collaboration Pollard and ECM get council to vastly improve sanitary conditions in Edinburgh.
  • 1904: Mr. G. A. Barclay: 9th Gen. Super
  • 1907: Mr. Stuart S. Miller: 10th Gen. Super
  • 1908: Tea and Coffee Van at nights (horse-drawn) as outreach to Cabmen
  • 1910: Kitchen Meetings (evangelistic dinner parties)
  • 1913: Christian rehab by ECM for men at 6 Drummond St.
  • 1914: First World War
  • 1915: “Never before have our City Missionaries won and held the confidence of the people to a greater degree than now.”
  • 1924: Mr. Michael Peden: 11th Gen. Super
  • 1928: Logie Green Rd Mission Hall., in Broughton, owned by ECM. Other Halls used at this time: Little Lochend Close, 115 Canongate; Galloway’s Entry, 53 Canongate; Comely Green, 9 Comely Green Place; Dumbiedykes, 47 St. Leonard’s Hill and Free Buccleuch and Greyfriars Church Hall, 24 West Crosscauseway
  • 1934: 4,000 people cram into multiple meetings in 6 Mission Halls every week. Many saved
  • 1935: Police Station converted into Abbeyhill Mission Hall for ECM, instead of Galloway Entry. At this time there were missionaries to: Transport Men (trams and buses); Cabmen and Taximen; Lodging Homes; Burgh Court (Police Cells); Districts; Benevolent Work and Open Airs
  • 1939: Outbreak of Second World War
  • 1946: Mr. Albert Long: 12th Gen. Super
  • 1959: “Many elderly people accept the Lord Jesus” in hospitals. “Children weeping under deep conviction of sin” on a summer camp, in which 113 were converted
  • 1964: HQ moves to 122 Thirlestone Rd., formerly the HQ of the Monthly Visitor Tract Society, founded by David Nasmith
  • 1965: “Many conversions in hospitals”. Mission to Burdiehouse for children: “Many hundreds of children are being reached for Christ each week.”
  • 1966: Billy Graham Edinburgh Christian Crusade: “literally hundreds of people, young and old coming to a knowledge of Christ.”
  • 1968: Inch Mission Hall opened. Rev. Charles Main appointed to Post Office
  • 1974: Niddrie ECM Outreach Café starts
  • 1975: Ann MacDonald joins ECM as secretary (Ann Laidlaw!)
  • 1976: Rev. Bill Chalmers appointed to run the Inch Mission Hall
  • 1978: Gorgie Railway Mission (formerly Gorgie Gospel Mission) given to ECM
  • 1979: Mr. Alex Dunbar: 13th Gen Super
  • 1981: William Bullin appointed to West Pilton District
  • 1982: 27th November St. Andrew’s Hall, Arthur St., handed over to ECM
  • 1983: West Pilton Christian Centre opened
  • 1984: HQ transfers to 9 Pilrig St. Six Mission Halls: Gorgie; Niddrie; Inch; St. Andrew’s; Dumbiedykes and West Pilton
  • 1985: Bill McGillivray assists Derek Laidlaw (Ann’s husband)
  • 1986: There is Hope Campaign to reach the city
  • 1988: Operation Outreach (later, Streetlevel) to train 6 student Christians alongside missionaries. Dumbiedykes Mission Hall turned into St. Leonard’s Hill Hostel for the homeless
  • 1989: Rev. William (Bill) Chalmers appointed as General Superintendent (later re-named as Executive Director).
  • 1991: Care Caravan established by ECM as a mobile unit for food and drink for the homeless at Waverley Bridge
  • 1993: John Hopper appointed as Chaplain to the Lothian Buses (originally Edinburgh Corporation Transport in 1935) and the Royal Mail (1965)
  • 1994: ECM extends John Hopper’s ministry to cover the Forth Ports (ECM had appointed missionaries to Leith Port in the early days) and Parcel Force (a division of the Royal Mail)
  • 1996: Care Van established to replace Care Caravan: a joint venture between ECM and Bethany Christian Trust
  • 1997: Ken MacLean appointed to Royal Mail
  • 1999: Church of Scotland approaches ECM to hand over chaplaincy of the BAA Edinburgh Cargo Village
  • 2000: Jesus video Millennium Adventure to give all the homes in Edinburgh a chance to have a film about the life of Jesus
  • 2002: Alan Barlow appointed as Executive Director of ECM
  • 2004: Paul James-Griffiths starts street-outreach to reach New Agers, Pagans and university students. This ministry later becomes Cultural Ministry
  • 2005: The Celtic Tour starts
  • 2006: Eternity Classical Music Group and Edinburgh Creation Group starts
  • 2008: Lawrie Hudson appointed as Executive Director at ECM
  • 2009: The Christian Heritage Centre starts in St Columba’s Free Church
  • 2010: Basics Bank starts


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

All Change: 1980 – 2010

A growing God-given desire seemed to grip the hearts of a number of Christians for an outreach to begin on the new West Pilton estate, and so, a new missionary, W. Bullin, was appointed there in 1981 to visit homes. The work became effective and the West Pilton Christian Centre was opened on the estate in May, 1983. The year before, on 27th November, St. Andrew’s Hall (formerly known as the Market Hall Mission in 1886), on Arthur St., was officially handed over to ECM and opened up for ministry the following year, particularly as a drop-in.

The drop in at St Andrew’s Hall, ECM HQ since 1982.

The next year (1984) ECM bought its present HQ building, 9 Pilrig St., conveniently placed next to St. Andrew’s Hall (now known as the Pilrig Centre). The ECM HQ had begun, in 1832, in 375 High St., after which it moved to 126 High St (1840), and then to 5 St. Andrews Square (1842), followed by a move to 6 York Place(date?). In 1964 the Monthly Visitor Tract Society, which had been founded by David Nasmith, sadly came to an end. ECM was offered the building as its HQ at a low cost, provided it maintained the vision to propagate Christian literature throughout Edinburgh, a task which ECM was delighted to honour. Thus the keys to the building at 122 Thirlestone Rd. were handed over to ECM

The year 1984 was marked by many trials for the missionaries; several had severe health issues, and vandalism on property was especially bad, but by now there were six Mission Halls: Gorgie; The Inch; Niddrie; St. Andrew’s; Dumbiedykes and West Pilton Christian Centre. In that same year, Billy McGillivray was appointed to assist Bill Bullin at the West Pilton Christian Centre.

In 1986 Bill Chalmers saw at least ten come to Christ at the Inch Hall during the There is Hope Campaign. He said: “Few things can be more exciting than three generations of one family coming to faith in Christ Jesus in a matter of weeks.” (p.13) This campaign was a reminder to ECM of its early pioneering days in which it led the churches in city-wide evangelism; this time David Hill was the pioneer. In this case there were 30 churches involved in the outreach. There were many evangelism items during those weeks, including the use of films like Cross and the Switchblade and Thief in the Night, which captivated large audiences. A team of 15 young Christians from YWAM (Youth With A Mission) also came to help with evangelism, drama and music, and camped in the Inch.

During this year (1986) the Dumbiedykes Mission Hall, because it was not working well, as in former days, because of the changing population, was turned into a Care Shelter for the homeless, and re-named St. Leonard’s Hostel. They could come in and find food and clothing, and during the winter nights a team catered for them in the building. The building was knocked down and the ministry there ceased. This work eventually became the Care Shelter, a project run by Bethany Christian Trust, which organizes many churches to run a rota system for the homeless during the cold winter nights.

In 1988 Operation Outreach was born. The vision behind this was to have six students who would take a year out to come and work alongside the missionaries, whilst also having seminars and training at HQ. This became known as Streetlevel. They would be put up by Christians and would have to be sponsored. In 1990 there were four students doing the programme, but sadly it fizzled out a few years later.

Another exciting ministry opened up: Crossline. When the Exorcist film was shown in the 1970s, many people became anxious about occult things, and a Christian counselling unit was set up in England, called Crossline. This came to incorporate general counselling for people. Ian McNeill was appointed to set up a branch here in Edinburgh at ECM HQ.

Bill Chalmers had an old caravan, which he decided to use for the work amongst the homeless. The idea was to have a mobile unit fitted up with facilities for hot drinks to serve them by Waverley Station throughout the year. And so, he and a team, started up what was called CareCaravan (1991). Bethany Christian Trust joined in with the work, and a van was bought, and the name changed to the CareVan (1996). Many churches in the city now share in this project on a rota basis, and it is jointly run by ECM and Bethany.

In 1996 John Hopper was appointed to reach the workers in the Ports and Lothian Buses, whilst Ken McLean was attached to the Royal Mail. Four years later, to celebrate the millennium, ECM was involved in the Jesus Millennium Project, which involved working with Christians across the city, offering the Jesus Video to hundreds of people, in a city that was becoming increasingly ignorant about the Gospel.

New Age and Paganism

Since the 1960s Edinburgh had witnessed the steady rise of the occult and New Age. Bill McGillivray wrote in 1991: “There is an increasing number of folk coming for help as a result of supernatural happenings, either to them as individuals, or in their homes. Usually this is brought about by them having been to Spiritualists or being involved in New Age religion or Occult practices.” (Annual Report: 1991: p.9)

In 2004 Paul James-Griffiths transferred from working with London City Mission to join ECM, and was given the broad remit of Streetoutreach.

This included training Christian teams and leading them in outreach at New Age Festivals, and at the huge Pagan Festivals, such as Beltane Fire Festival and Samhuinn (Halloween), in which as many as 12,000 can gather to celebrate Pagan fertility rites, which would have been recognizable by St. Columba when he came to Scotland in AD 563.


It has also meant outreach to the students at Edinburgh University, which today has become an atheist stronghold. Evangelism takes place through such events as Edinburgh Creation Group. The intention is to seek to dismantle humanistic evolution and replace it with God’s Gospel and values, by using Christian Ph.D. scientists, and others. The old-fashioned “hot drinks on cold days” outreach outside the university library also takes place every week during term-time and students have been converted.

Cultural Ministries

Both Eternity, a Christian outreach chamber music group (led by Isolde James-Griffiths), and the Celtic Tour, a Christian walking tour on the Royal Mile, hosted by “St. Cuthbert” and “John Knox”, seek to bring out our rich Christian heritage through the Arts, and to communicate the Gospel. Outreach during the huge Edinburgh Festival, in conjunction with Shine (an International YWAM outreach) also takes place every August.

Above left: Eternity Music outreach. Since it began on the Royal Mile in 2005 thousands of people have been on the Celtic Tour A tour group near the castle in Ramsay Lane

The Christian Heritage Centre

In 2009 a trial run for a Christian Heritage Centre was attempted, which was a success, so in 2010 it was launched in St Columba’s Free Church near the castle to reach both tourists and locals by informing them about the spiritual history of the Royal Mile and by bringing the Gospel in many different ways (exhibition, DVDs, the Arts, the Celtic Tour, literature etc). In the first full season during the summer months over 10,000 visitors came in and many hundreds heard the Gospel with at least six giving their lives to Christ.

Crowds gather outside the Christian Heritage Centre at St Columba’s Free Church to hear some Korean opera singers followed by a Gospel message.

The Underbelly in the Cowgate

Five hundred years ago the Cowgate was notorious for drinkers. Today the same applies but to this could be added the drugs and night clubs. Paul James-Griffiths pioneered an outreach there in 2008 so that many young people hear the Gospel for the first time every year.

Basics Bank

In 2009 the Basics Bank was launched by ECM and led by Bill Chalmers with the intention of giving short-term practical help with food and hygiene basics to struggling people. Since its beginning it has grown rapidly and many opportunities are given for sharing Jesus with those who come in.


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

The Modern Age: 1970 – 2010

In 1970 there were only four missionaries left running five Mission Halls (Abbeyhill; Dumbiedykes; Broughton; Hay Drive and The Inch), and reaching the Special Classes of Hospitals and Eventide Homes (Retirement Homes), Lodging Houses and Prisons, the Post Office and Transport Men. Without having some good, faithful volunteers, it would have been impossible!

In this period we start to see the numbers of people at Mission Halls being depleted. One ministry, in Dumbiedykes, had done a sterling work for years but we learn:

The shift of population from the older districts of the City has depleted attendances at some of the halls and a clearance has been placed on the St. Leonard’s Hill Hall. It also becomes increasingly difficult to persuade non-Christians to attend meetings…..

Annual Report: 1970: p.3

The attendances at Logie Green Road…..are small.

The only meeting now held at Comely Green Place is the Sunday School.

Ibid., p.5

The immoral landslide in Britain becomes really noticeable from now onwards:

The moral corruption in Britain has reached proportions, which ten years ago would have been unthinkable, but so far there is little sign of any reversal of the trend, or recognition of the cause of our troubles.

Annual Report: 1972: p.3

In 1974 the Missionaries start to write about being subject to much abuse by the gangs of youth, and of repeated vandalism of their halls, particularly at Niddrie. However, a new initiative was opened up – an ECM outreach café, which ran very effectively, as a spiritual oasis for about 20 years (in 1981 it became the Mission Cellar, a shop for second hand clothes).

On 19th October, 1978, the Gorgie Railway Mission (formerly the Gorgie Gospel Hall) was handed over to ECM for outreach into that community, and in 1980 we read that the following ministries were operating:

  • Gorgie Mission Hall: David McFarlane
  • Inch Mission Hall: William Chalmers (Bill Chalmers, who had joined ECM in 1976)
  • Niddrie Mission Hall: Alex Dunbar (General Superintendent of ECM) Assistant: Derek Laidlaw (husband of Ann, ECM secretary, appointed in 1975)
  • Outreach Café: Mrs. Cattenach
  • Dumbiedykes Mission Hall: William Esslement (honorary)
  • P.O. and Transport: Alfred Gamble
  • Prisons: Vacant
  • Hospitals and Nursing: Mrs. Long (honorary)
  • Homes and Eventide Homes: Vacant


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

Beatles - Christian Heritage

Post War Years and into the Swinging Sixties

In 1958 effective work began in the Inch, meetings being held in a primary school, and much District Work was done to reach the locals.

Hospital visitation was blessed by God in an extraordinary way, as many elderly people gave their hearts to the Lord Jesus. One ECM Missionary says: “……in Queensberry House, where we have seen many of the elderly people accept the Lord Jesus as their own personal Saviour.”(Annual Report: 1959: p.6)

And again:

“Many pages could be filled with the accounts of other hospital patients converted during the year.”(Annual Report: 1963: p.7)

One glorious afternoon no less than five patients came to the Lord……

Annual Report: 1965: p.5

It was also a very fruitful time amongst the children. One missionary rejoiced with a revival amongst them at a summer camp:

It is difficult to describe God’s moving that week amongst the children. For most of us it was something new to see children weeping under deep conviction of sin, and whole dormitories being moved as the Spirit of God came upon them. Children who were already Christians knelt in small groups and prayed for their friends. Praise God for this mighty working, and pray that the boys and girls, 113, in all, who accepted the Lord Jesus, may be protected from the evil one.

Annual Report: 1959: p.7

We read of the halls overflowing with children and of the mission in Burdiehouse in 1965, with 160 present on average every night. “Many hundreds of children are being reached for Christ each week,” wrote a missionary, and in the Inch, 500 – 600 children heard the Gospel in a three day outreach (p.9).

A highlight of the 1960s was Billy Graham’s Edinburgh Christian Crusade at the Usher Hall in 1966. The meetings were “sometimes overcrowded”, and “literally hundreds of people, young and old, (were) coming to a knowledge of Christ.”(p.4)

However, despite the obvious successes with the elderly in the hospitals, and with the children, and with the crusade, the Church began to realize that morality and indifference to the Gospel were beginning to spread in Edinburgh. The 1961 Report shares some of this reality:

Twenty thousand people have volunteered to be shot into space, and the reason most of them give is – boredom. Suicides, crime, divorce, and road accidents continue to break all previous records. The optimism of thirty years ago has given place to serious apprehension and gloom in spite of the fact that materially “we’ve never had it so good”

Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent annually on drink, nicotine and gambling, and now the authorities are thinking seriously of putting the clock back a hundred years by re-opening the public houses on Sundays. Mankind is sick, and the Gospel is the only remedy.


In 1968, The Inch Mission Hall was opened, and an address was given by Rev. Professor G.N.M. Collins, of Free Church College, and by Rev. Philip Hacking, of St. Thomas, a church which had closely supported ECM since 1842. In the same year, Rev. “Charlie” Main was appointed to visit the G.P.O. Sorting Office, in connection with the Post Office Christian Association.


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

War - Christian Heritage

The War Years: 1914 – 1945

Amidst the carnage of the First World War, the ECM workers were kept very busy, counselling and encouraging many who had lost loved ones. The 1915 Report says: “Never before have our City Missionaries won and held the confidence of the people to a greater degree than now amidst the widespread sorrow and anxiety consequent upon the war.” (p. 1)

The Missionary in his daily round of visits has to lead sorrow-stricken ones into the deep heart of things – to the God of all comfort and compassion.


The team of ECM missionaries in the 1930s Mission Halls Run by ECM

By 1928 six Mission Halls were run fully by ECM. They were:

  • Galloway’s Entry: 53 Canongate (since 1855)
  • Little Lochend Close: 115 Canongate
  • Comely Green: 9 Comely Green Place
  • Dumbiedykes: 47 St. Leonard’s Hill
  • Broughton: Logie Green Rd
  • Free Buccleuch and Greyfriars Church Hall: 24 West Crosscauseway

Besides these, Halls at Niddrie and St. Andrews (Leith) were used greatly by ECM workers.

The Halls were full to breaking point, to such an extent, that people sometimes had to be carried out because of the stuffiness in summer! The 1934 Report estimates that about 4,000 people met in the six Halls each week for a multitude of different meetings. Whilst the preaching of the Gospel remained the main thrust of ECM, we also notice the practical care of those missionaries to the poor and needy. The 1934 Report relates that they provided:

  • 100 tons of coal
  • 820 parcels of groceries
  • 353 pairs of boots and shoes for boys and girls
  • 36 hot water bottles for the old and infirm folk
  • milk and nourishing food for children. (p.4)

In 1935 a police station was converted into Abbeyhill Mission Hall, and the old Galloway Entry Mission Hall was replaced by this premise because of its larger space.

ECM listed seven Mission Halls during this period and missionaries were working with the Transport Men, Cabmen and Taximen, Lodging Houses, Burgh Court (Police Cells), Districts, Benevolent Fund and Open Air Meetings. Since the end of the nineteenth century, music outreach had become popular, both in the open air meetings, whether in the smaller gatherings in the courts and closes off the Royal Mile, or at the big gatherings with other churches, or in the Mission Halls.

James Wilson visits the prisons, 1932

In 1939 the Second World War broke out. Again the nation went through a deep crisis; again ECM was there for the multitudes who grieved and suffered. A Mission Hall at Jane St., Leith also opened up for ECM during this year, as the work carried on moving forward.


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

City Mission - Christian Heritage

1900 – 2000

The 1898 Report concluded that “Multitudes have been lifted out of the degradation into which they had fallen, and larger numbers have been prevented from falling.” (p.10) It had been a glorious time of harvesting; particularly between the years 1840 and 1880. Now ECM and Edinburgh were entering a new century. What would it be like?

By now ECM had become very well-known and respected in the city and other missions put themselves under its supervision. Both Niddrie Mission and the Grassmarket Mission did this. ECM had spread its influence throughout the city, being called upon to help with all sorts of things. Extraordinary ministries, such as the Children’s Fortnightly Holiday Fund, had been set up under Mrs. Stirling Boyd, which allowed 2,000 children to go on holidays from 1895.

A parish nurse had been appointed by ECM to minister to the miners’ families in Craighall on the Niddrie estate, and ECM took on the Coalmen’s Mission. In 1907 there were six District Missionaries: two in Canongate; one in Dumbiedykes; one in Meadowbank; one in Arthur St., (1886, where HQ is today) and in Fountainbridge. Missionaries were appointed to the Public Houses (1892) and Breweries (1887), to the Cabmen (1856), Police Cells (1852) and Police Force (1861), Lodging Houses (1895) and Fallen Women (1860).

In 1908 we see a photo of a missionary with a horse pulling his mobile tea and coffee wagon for his street outreach to the cabmen. The next year ECM and Evangelization Society joined forces to hold Tent Meetings in the Cowgate and in Canongate, with much success. Kitchen Meetings, or evangelistic dinner parties, became popular from about 1910, although missionaries had been doing this informally for many years before then.

Open air outreach in 1908

We still hear of effective evangelism, and particularly in the Mission Halls. For example, in 1913 we read that 33 people were converted one evening in the Canongate Hall:
…..every night saw wonderful miracles of grace…….Every night souls surrendered. Fourteen of these live in my district, and are all going on splendidly. (Annual Report 1913: p.4 and 6) In that same year ECM also opened up a rehab home for 12 men at 6, Drummond St.

Crowds queuing up to get into one of the ECM Mission Halls

In 1855 ECM took over a building in the Royal Mile as an outreach base. This was called Galloway’s Entry Mission Hall in the Canongate. At one time there were six ECM Mission Halls in and around the Royal Mile

In 1855 ECM took over a building in the Royal Mile as an outreach base. This was called Galloway’s Entry Mission Hall in the Canongate. At one time there were six ECM Mission Halls in and around the Royal Mile

St Leonard’s Mission Hall, Dumbiedykes. Later this became a base for the work amongst the homeless. Churches worked on a rota basis with ECM to provide a care shelter in the winter months. This building was eventually knocked down and the Care Shelter was set up by Bethany Christian Trust

1935: Abbey Hill Mission Hall, which used to be a police station


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

The Influence of ECM on the City Authorities

God gave a promise to Abraham:

….I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.

Genesis 22: 17 – 18

Who would have thought that God’s vision through David Nasmith would prepare the way here for such a massive breakthrough, that in turn would release thousands of missionaries trained here in the Bible colleges of Edinburgh to impact the world, bringing in millions of people for God’s Kingdom, the effects of which are still reverberating around the world in such places as Africa and China? Who would have thought that through that vision and little gathering of men in 375 High St., the Lord would have opened up the way eventually for Christianity to transform our nation through men in “the gates” or places of influence and policy making in Edinburgh? No wonder Scotland became known as the “Land of the Book” as these movements were added to the rich Christian history of the Reformation and Covenanters.

ECM had already appointed a team of Directors to run the Mission back in 1832, and a team of “Extraordinary Directors” was appointed in an advisory capacity in 1886. Their names reads like a “Who’s Who” in Edinburgh, showing the high regard that people had for ECM. In the Period between 1832 and 1970 the following men were either Directors, Extraordinary Directors, Examiners or Supporters, especially at the Annual Meetings. Some of these are listed below:

  • Rev Dr. D.T.K. Drummond (Director and founder of St. Thomas, a church through which have come the present day congregations of P’s and G’s and Emmanuel)
  • Rev Dr. David Dickson
  • Rev Dr. John Brown
  • Rev Daniel Bagot A.M.
  • Lord Provost, Adam Black, M.P. (his statue is in Princes Gardens)
  • Charles Cown M.P.
  • Colonel George Cadell
  • Sheriff Graham Speirs
  • Lord Provost, the Duke of Argyll
  • Rev Dr. Guthrie (founder of the Ragged Schools)
  • Rev Professor Thomas Chalmers (first Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland)
  • Principal Dr. Cunningham
  • Very Rev Dean Montgomery (Bishop of Edinburgh)
  • Sir William Muir (Principal of the University of Edinburgh)
  • Rev Professor Blaikie (Moderator of Free Church)
  • Major General Nepean Smith
  • Colonel A. G. Young
  • Sir Archibald Campbell
  • Professor Sir T. Grainger Stewart (Head Surgeon)
  • Earl of Moray
  • Councillor R.A. Douglas
  • Councillor John Laing
  • Councillor Neil McLeod
  • Bailie Martin (Head of Public Health)
  • Judge John Pitcairn
  • Sir Allan Colquhoun J.P.
  • Sheriff Orr K.C.
  • Sir Colin Macrae
  • Sir Andrew Frazer
  • Judge John Laing
  • Bailie Richardson
  • Bailie Pollard (he was the ECM Director who, by using our records, put pressure on government to reform sanitary conditions in Edinburgh, Annual Report 1896)
  • Lord Alness
  • Lord Polwarth
  • Lord Sands
  • Sir John Cowan
  • Rt. Hon. Robert Munro K.C.
  • Lord Provost Inches
  • Judge William Baird
  • Rev. Dr. Graham Scroggie
  • Bailie Rev. Dr. A.D. Sloan
  • Rt. Rev Professor Hugh R. Mackintosh (Moderator of the Church of Scotland)
  • Rev Dr. D.E. Hart-Davies
  • Hon. Lord Wark
  • Professor Sir John Frazer
  • Rt. Rev Professor David Lamont (Moderator of the C of S)
  • Rt. Rev Dr. James M. Black (Moderator of the Free Church)
  • Principal D.W. Lambert (Faith Mission)
  • Rev Professor Allan Barr (Moderator of the UF Church)
  • Lord Guthrie
  • Sir John Falconer
  • Lord Cooper
  • Earl of Southesk
  • Lady Stuart
  • Rev Dr. Dr. Whitley (St. Giles’ Cathedral)
  • Very Rev Charles L. Warr (St. Giles’ Cathedral)
  • Lord Provost, Alexander Stevenson
  • Rt. Rev Dr. Leonard Small
  • Judge W. R. Hall O.B.E.
  • Rt. Rev Professor Thomas F. Torrance M.B.E.
  • Rev Derek Prime (Charlotte Chapel)
  • Rev Colin Peckham (Faith Mission)

It was because God’s vehicle of ECM had such an impact on Edinburgh that the Church, Council and Government had great respect and support for its work, bringing about a lasting transformation.

Here are some of the comments made by the City’s leaders:

I am therefore glad to find that, in the operations of the City Mission, this principle (i.e. of having missionaries attached to 30 districts in the City) has been so far proceeded on, and should rejoice if, by the extension of your resources, you were enabled to carry it forward even till you have reached the desirable consummation.

Professor Dr. Thomas Chalmers, First Moderator of the Free Church, from his letter addressed to the first Annual Meeting, Jan 30th, 1846, in the Music Hall, George St., Annual Report: 1846: p.12

I approve of this society exceedingly, in one respect, especially, that it employs lay missionaries……..I rejoice…….in the unsectarian character of this society……

Lord Provost, the Duke of Argyll (Annual Meeting, Music Hall, Dec 23rd, 1850, Annual Report: 1850: p.7 – 8)

….(the churches) felt the reproof the City Mission addressed to them, and followed the example it set them.

Dr. Guthrie, Founder of the Ragged Schools (Annual Meeting, 1866, Annual Report: 1895: p.10)

There is no Society that more deserves the support and the thanks of the Community than the Edinburgh City Mission.

Lord Provost, W.S. Brown (Annual Meeting, Dec 22nd, 1909, Annual Report: 1909: p.3)

I believe in the City Mission……the old Gospel is not worn out. People who doubt it should come and make the acquaintance of this Society. There is broken earthenware being repaired in Edinburgh, and instead of remaining a curse to society, these become good husbands and fathers, and useful members of the community.

Sheriff R.L. Orr K.C. (Annual Meeting, Dec 19th, 1911, Annual Report: 1911: p.3)

This work has the warm approval of the City Authorities.

Lord Provost, Inches (Annual Meeting, Dec 16th, 1915, Annual Report: 1915: p.6)

There is a fine spirit in the Mission, and it is just the Spirit of Christ.

Rt. Rev Dr. Norman Maclean, Moderator of the Church of Scotland (Annual Report, 1927: p.8)

This Mission exists for the bringing of souls to Jesus Christ.

Bailie The Rev Dr. A.D. Sloan (Annual Meeting, March 20th, 1933)

There is no more valuable work done by any other agency in the City.

Hon. Lord Wark, High Court Judge (Annual Meeting, March 19th, 1934, Annual Report, 1934: p……)

The City Mission is doing a great work.

Bailie George D. Brown, City Treasurer (Annual Meeting, March 16th, 1937)

The Edinburgh City Mission is…….repeating the authentic spirit of Jesus Christ.

Rt. Rev. Professor Daniel Lamont D.D., Moderator of the Church of Scotland (Ibid)

We honour the Edinburgh City Mission, its workers, its ideals, its achievements…for it is a daily evidence of the Divine Command that we should love one another.

Professor Sir John Frazer, K.C.V.O, M.D., F.R.C.S. (Annual Meeting, March 22nd, 1938)

City Missions are indeed no longer upon their trial, their value having been proved and acknowledged for many years past….as Lord Shaftesbury remarked, Glasgow, to which we might add Edinburgh – puts London fairly to shame.

North British Daily Mail (Annual Report, 1873: p.12)

This is an extraordinary statement when we consider the previous paragraph had been a quotation from Lord Shaftesbury, who says that he, the former Prime Minister of France (M. Guizot) and Sir George Grey, all agreed that Christianity in London, particularly through the work of London City Mission, had held back the Revolution of 1848 that swept through Europe. The statement that ECM “puts London fairly to shame”, is indeed a sign of the national love and respect we had in those days.

The quotations of Lord Shaftesbury, who gave a speech at Wemyss Bay in the autumn of 1874, are recorded below:

“Were it not,” says his Lordship, “for the London City Mission, and other kindred associations, I really know not what would be the condition of the metropolis of London. But I am certain of this, that if God had not put it into the heart of excellent men like David Nasmyth, of whom all Scotsmen may well boast, some five and thirty years ago, to found and carry on the London City Mission, and kindred institutions, the metropolis of London, and a very large proportion of the empire of Great Britain would have been totally uninhabitable by anyone who pretended to civilization, morality and religion……I remember the great Revolution of 1848, when, as you know, every throne was in the dust….I remember, after that day, talking with M. Guizot, who had been Prime Minister of France, when he said, “I will tell you what saved your empire. It was not your constables; it was not your army; it was not your ministers, it was the deep, solemn, religious atmosphere… is the religion of England that saved the empire of Great Britain.” He was right…….Sir George Grey said to me “I am satisfied, as Secretary of State, that London could not have been kept in order, had not the state of mind been prepared by the operations of associations such as these.”

Lord Shaftesbury (Speech of Earl of Shaftesbury at Wemyss Bay, autumn, 1874, ECM Annual Report, 1874: p. 11 – 12)


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.

D L Moody - Christian Heritage

The Peak Years and the Moody Revival: 1865 – 1900

In 1865 ECM moved its HQ from the High Street (first 375 High St., then 126 High St.) to 5 St. Andrews Square and in this period the number of missionaries either being salaried by ECM, or working in conjunction with it, grew to 33, which was the highest number on record. By 1875 there was a combined 130 missionary workforce across the city united by its common goal – the salvation of Edinburgh in a population of 200,000 (Annual Report: 1875: p.11). In 1870 we discover that “public interest in City Missions was never greater than it is now.” (Annual Report: 1870: p.10)

ECM produced its first advert in 1869, which read:

Special Services Rendered by City Missionaries:

  • Children sent to ordinary Day and Sabbath Schools, or according to circumstances, to Ragged Schools and Reformatories.
  • Situations found for young persons of both sexes
  • Bibles and other books and tracts circulated
  • Lending libraries established in the Mission districts
  • Popular lectures given on interesting and useful subjects
  • Classes for Mutual Improvement formed or encouraged
  • Penny savings banks, Mother’s Meetings, and Bands of Hope promoted
  • Drunkards reclaimed; Fallen Women sent to Reformatories
  • Large Lodging houses, Night Asylums, Hospitals and Police Cells are specially visited
  • District meetings held for Reading the Scriptures, simple exposition and prayer
  • The sick and dying visited, funerals attended, and assistance and advice given to
  • benevolent persons and societies in the distribution of cheap coals, meal and bread etc.

The year after that we read of ECM missionaries to the blind (250 blind people in Edinburgh), to the elderly men, to the Cabmen, Police Force, Fallen Women (women missionaries appointed to the prostitutes), and to the soldiers (Annual Report: 1870: p.10).

In 1873 Moody and Sankey from America hit Edinburgh like a whirlwind. Horatius Bonar, the hymn writer and former minister of St. Catherine’s Argyll, reckoned that almost every home in the city had been affected by this revival. The previous waves of blessing in the city had prepared people for this huge current that swept through the population, converting thousands to Christ. We hear about the deep impact from ECM:

By far the most important circumstance connected with the history of the City Mission for the past year, probably the most important during the whole period of its past existence, is the religious awakening by which the community has been, and still is, moved, chiefly through the influence of the work of Messrs. Moody and Sankey.

Annual Report: 1873: p.13

One ECM missionary said:

I have seen more of the Lord’s mighty doings during the past three months than I expected to see in this life…Nearly a hundred persons have met around our tea-table for converse and Bible instruction, nearly all of whom profess to have got pardon through faith in Jesus.

Ibid., p. 14 – 15

D.L. Moody, the American evangelist


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.