James Gillespie Graham, 1837-39, tower 1851; flanking gallery stair halls, David Robertson, 1885. T-plan gothic church; 3-stage square-plan entrance tower to centre of N elevation with set-back buttresses, string courses dividing stages, single window at second stage, tripartite louvred openings to belfry, machicholated, crenellated parapet with tall corner pinnacles; gallery stair halls flanking tower; basement floor below street level to S section. Coursed polished ashlar (stugged ashlar to transepts and S elevation; some rubble to basement). Dividing band between basement and ground floor; eaves cornice and parapet; cross-finialled gables. Hoodmoulded, recessed lancet windows in chamfered surrounds.
N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: stone steps up to studded gothic timber-panelled and glazed door at base of tower, set in hoodmoulded surround with paired colonnettes and archivolts; raking finialled stringcourse above, flanked right and left by single lancets. Flanking tower left and right, gallery stair halls; smaller door flanked by single lancets; sexfoil roundels to nepus gable above.
E ELEVATION: advanced transept gable to left; triple lancet window; trefoil roundel above; flat-topped bipartite window of paired lancet lights to basement. Recessed section to centre; 2 windows to ground floor; arched-surround opening (blocked) to basement. Stair hall gable to left; single window with extended cill course; 2 windows below.
S ELEVATION: slightly advanced chancel gable to centre with triple lancet window, trefoil roundel above; 2 windows to basement, flanked to outer left and right by trabeated doorways. Transepts flanking to left and right with central single window; flat-topped window of 3 lancet-lights to basement.
W ELEVATION: stair hall gable to left; single window with extended cill course; 2 windows below. Recessed section to centre; 2 windows to ground floor; Tudor-arched doorway to basement, flanked to left by bipartite window, single window to right. Advanced transept gable to right; triple lancet window; trefoil roundel above; flat-topped bipartite window of paired lancet lights to basement.
Stained glass: triple window to chancel depicts the Life of Christ; erected 1886 but with WW1 memorial inserted. Triple window to E transept depicts St John (centre), the Good Shepherd (1928) and St Ninian. Triple window to W transept depicts St Mathew, St Mark and St Luke. Single windows to transept feature geometric design. Remaining windows predominantly glazed with diamond quarries. Pitched roof; graded grey slates.
INTERIOR: entering at main N door, modern glazed screen forms vestibule. Opposite, high-relief tablet , John Hutchinson, 1871, to the memory of Dr William Glover. To left and right, passageways leading to quarter-turn scale-and-platt gallery stairs. Arcaded gallery supported by cast iron pillars; carved gothic wooden parapet; organ to rear. Plain wooden pews to nave and transepts. Dais extending from very shallow chancel; gothic panelling behind; matching pulpit, chairs, lectern, communion table and organ console (see Notes). Plain painted walls; cavetto ceiling cornice; cusped gothic ceiling rose to centre. Basement (see Notes) includes several small ancillary rooms and hall. Hall has raised stage at E end with retiring room beyond; to ceiling, consoled beams intersecting to form corniced caissons.
RETAINING WALLS, GATEPIERS AND RAILINGS: random rubble walls with saddleback coping to E, SE, S and W boundary; at W end, terminates in round tapered pier of squared rubble. Also at SW corner, pair of pink ashlar gatepiers with pyramidal coping stones. Ashlar dwarf wall, surmounted by ornate spear-head finalled cast iron railings, to N and NE boundary; 3 matching gates to N with flanking wrought iron lamp standards. To right of church, along N boundary, circular design railings with spearhead finals, some sections original.
CHURCH OFFICER'S COTTAGE: William Constable, 1893. Single storey and attic L-plan asymmetrical barge-boarded cottage with swept roof, broad bracketed eaves and king-posts to gables and dormers. Red brick (English bond) with red sandstone dressings (grey rubble to basement) Band course (painted grey) between ground floor and basement. Long and short quoins; tabbed surrounds to openings.
S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: advanced piend-roofed bay to left with dormer to apex of roof. 2-bay recessed section to right with stone steps to modern door with letterbox fanlight; dormer to roof above.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: single dormer-headed window breaking eaves to centre.
GLAZING etc: 6-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Graded grey slate to roof; terracotta ridge tiles and finials to dormerheads. Corniced, rendered stacks with circular cans.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such.
Greenside Parish Church is interesting due to Gillespie Graham's use of a T-plan and the lancet style; this is not typical of his earlier church architecture. The church is also very important in the context of Playfair's Calton scheme, contributing to and continuing its Picturesque aims by terminating the view down Royal Terrace with a scene reminiscent of a rural parish church surrounded by trees.
There is also a historical link to the eminent engineer Robert Stevenson, his three sons, and his famous grandson Robert Louis Stevenson. Robert Stevenson lived locally, at No 1 Baxter's Place (see separate Listing) in the first half on the 19th century, and was an elder of Greenside Parish Church. His sons founded a chapel for the parish poor in his memory at Lower Greenside (now demolished). This is commemorated in a plaque inside the church. Poet and novelist R.L. Stevenson attended the church as a boy, and referred to it as 'the Church on the Hill' in his writings.
Greenside Parish Church (Church of Scotland) is a daughter church of St Cuthbert's in the West End. The establishment of a new parish church for the growing number of inhabitants of Playfair's Calton scheme appears to have been formally proposed in 1836, and by May of 1837 plans by James Gillespie Graham had been lodged with the Dean of Guild. The church was to be a simple T-plan structure with transeptal galleries, access to which was gained via stair halls flanking the nave. There was some delay before the foundation stone was laid in April 1838, possibly due to fundraising difficulties. The church was principally funded by voluntary contributions, a grant from the city magistrates, and also funding from the Council as trustees for Dr Bell's School, which was to occupy the substantial basement of the building. The church opened for worship for the first time on 6th October 1839, but the building itself was not yet finished; a collection was taken for the furnishing of uncompleted parts and only the first stage of the tower had been built. It was covered with a temporary roof and was to remain in this state until 1851 when a Committee of Subscribers sought permission to commission the completion of the tower to Gillespie Graham's original design. There was considerable opposition to the design of the tower, and at one point an alternative scheme was put forward, but eventually the original Gillespie Graham plan was accepted.
In 1885, the church was subject to extensive remodelling by David Robertson. The transeptal galleries were removed and their stair-halls extended towards the tower and incorporated into the main body of the church. The galleries were replaced by the present gallery and the stair halls flanking the tower added to provide access. Robertson also recast the furniture and re-glazed the church in cathedral glass. At the same time an organ was installed by Harrison and Harrison of Durham. It was rebuilt in 1933 by Ingram and Co.
In 1890, the basement, no longer in use as a school, was altered to form a meeting hall. A lobby, cloakrooms, main hall, platform and retiring room were formed. The hung ceiling in the hall was removed and the ceiling raised.