St James's Episcopal Church and Hall (Former), 119, Constitution Street, Leith

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Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2024.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
St James's Episcopal Church and Hall (Former)
Other Name(s)
119, Constitution Street, Leith
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NT 27202 76108
Location Type
HS Reference No


Small early gothic cruciform-plan church with narthex, aisled nave, apsidal E end and tall SE tower, separate church officer's house to NW, adjoining hall. Cream sandstone, squared and snecked rubble with polished dressings. Base course; moulded cill course; sloping cills; off-set gablet-capped buttresses; roll-moulded pointed-arch principal openings with hoodmoulds; chamfered reveals to lesser openings; boarded timber doorways with ornamental ironwork.

Ecclesiastical building now secularised and used as temporary joiner's workshop, most of the fittings and the stained glass have been removed (1992). The interior had been re-seated and given a new pulpit in 1908 by Peddie and Washington Browne. The reredos of 1873, designed by Clarke and executed by Thomas Earp, alabaster, marble and mosaic, was moved without listed building consent to Balgone House, North Berwick. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
1862-1865; 1936-1937
Sir George Gilbert Scott; D. J. Chisholm of Dick Peddie, Todd & Jamieson

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
July 1990, January 2002, 06/06/2008, 03/11/2011, 17/2/2015, 12/10/2020
Development History
Late 1970s: The church closes. 1977: Part of the spire is taken down. July 1990: External inspection reveals that the church is now being used as a timber workshop, though it remains neglected. A planning application has been submitted to refurbish and extend the church as a museum. SCT supports the principle of conversion and extension, but objects to the proposed contemporary additions to the nave. The plans are subsequently approved. 1992: Historic Scotland reports that most of the fittings and stained glass have now been removed. 28 February 1995: The Edinburgh Evening News reports that Queen Margaret College is investigating converting the church into a graduation hall. It is being marketed at offers over £100,000. A feasibility study is to be conducted. January 1997: SCT receives information that the present owner would like to sell the church, but is presently unable because of sitting tenants. Although the tenants have a restoring lease, there are concerns that the church is not being kept in good order. February 2000: Local planners report that the church is still in use as a workshop, but that its condition continues to deteriorate. Spring 2002: External inspection reveals the tower to be supported by scaffolding. December 2003: Local planners report that the church remains in use as a workshop but is in poor condition and should remain on the Buildings at Risk Register. June 2005: Local planners report that the building has been identified as a target property in a recent Townscape Heritage Initiative application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. August 2006: Local planners report that a Fabric Survey and Budget costing have recently been completed for the building.
February 2008: Local planners report the building is in use as a joiners workshop and that it has been identified as one of 5 key properties to receive funding for fabric maintenance as part of the Leith Townscape Heritage Initiative. Negociations are underway with a number of potential end users.
June 2008: External inspection finds the church continuing to deteriorate. The condition of the roof (thought to be suffering from dry rot) is a significant concern. There is little evidence of ongoing maintenance. The property remains in use as leased workshops.
February 2009: The former church (currently operating as a workshop) is placed on the market
October 2009: The re-use of historic buildings report by Edinburgh City Council notes the building remains one of 5 key properties to receive funding for fabric maintenance as part of the Leith Townscape Heritage Initiative and that negociations are underway with a number of potential end uses.
November 2010: Edinburgh Evening News reports the former church could be utilised as offices or a performing arts space. Developers are reported to being close to purchasing. The current leasee, TD Jenkinson, is said to have indicated it intends to move to a more suitable workshop premises.
November 2011: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit. The church is being marketed for sale through agents Ryden, offers invited. The particulars note the former church is a priority building for the Leith THI. The tenant is noted as intending to relocate to a more suitable workshop property.
17 February 2015: External inspection finds the building remains in much the same condition as seen previously and in use as a workshop. The building does not appear to be under marketing for sale at this time.
11 December 2015: A member of the public notes the property is currently under marketing for sale. Marketing agent Ryden is seeking offers over £250,000 for the former church.
27 February 2019: Local planners note Full Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for alteration and extension to form a non-residential institution were conditionally approved Feb 2017 ref: 16/04022/FUL & 04020/LBC.
11 March 2019: Listed Building Consent for adjustments to existing Listed Building Consent is being sought (19/01062/LBC) to include removal of proposed gallery, reduction in size of proposed north extension and minor adjustments to the proposed elevations and fenestration.
11 April 2019: Planning permission for minor adjustments to existing Listed Building Consent was conditionally granted (19/01062/LBC).
21 September 2020: A member of the public notes scaffolding has been erected at the site.
12 October 2020: External inspection finds roof repairs under way. Much of the tiles have been removed and scaffolding erected. Large area of roof tiles removed and stacked on ground. Waterproof membrane protects sarking. Some ridge tiles also removed. Deterioration of windows has worsened since last visit. Some windows and stained glass panes are broken or missing. Blockages visible in gutters, causing some water ingress and vegetation growth on parts of masonry. Some isolated areas of loose mortar on walls and broken or fallen masonry visible. Doors secure but in need of maintenance. Grounds are secured with heras fencing. Rest of building remains in much the same condition as seen before. Moved to Restoration in Progress.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number


Current Availability
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Building Uses Information:
Present Use 1: Workshop/Studio Former Use 1: Church/Convent/Monastery
Present Use 2: N/A Former Use 2: N/A, BARR original text : Workshop/Studio to Church/Convent/Monastery
Name of Owners
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Gifford, McWilliam and Walker (1984), pp454-455; Building News, January 1863 and 28 February 1873.
Online Resources
Churches and Chapels
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit