Edinburgh has lots of churches – and there used to be even more. Many church buildings have closed over the years. And while some have been bulldozed and replaced by other buildings, many have survived and been converted to other uses.
And some – like West Register House in Charlotte Square or the nearby Ghillie Dhu at the West End – have become so familiar in their new guise that most people will not give the building’s origins a second thought.
1. Frankenstein pub, George IV Bridge
Frankenstein, the popular themed bar on George IV Bridge, which advertises itself as "the original horror pub", was originally built in 1859 as Martyrs' Reformed Presbyterian Church. Much later, the gothic building was home to Edinburgh's Elim Pentecostal Church, which later moved to Morningside.
The building was converted to a pub in 1999. Photo: Neil Hanna
2. Bedlam Theatre, Bristo Place
Bedlam Theatre's building in Bristo Place started life as the New North Free Church in 1848. The church was known for its ministry to students. And after the congregation united with nearby Greyfriars Kirk in 1941, the building became a chaplaincy centre and then a store for Edinburgh University. But in 1980 the student-run Edinburgh University Theatre Company reopened it as Bedlam Theatre and it is now a busy Fringe venue. There was an extensive renovation of the building in 2012. Photo: Colin Hattersley
3. Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Queen's Gallery, opposite the Scottish Parliament, was opened in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II, and exhibits works from the Royal collection.
But the Gothic building housing the art gallery - now part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse complex - was originally built between 1846 and 1850 as Holyrood Free Church, a parish church of the Free Church of Scotland.
The church was last used for worship in 1915. Prior to its conversion to become the Queen's Gallery the church building was used as a storeroom. The Gallery also comprises the neo-Jacobean building which housed the former Free Church School, which was built at the same time as the church Photo: Ian Rutherford
4. Ingleby Gallery, Barony Street
Edinburgh's former Glasite Meeting House in Barony Street was built in 1835 as a Christian place of worship and is now an art gallery.
The Glasites were founded in 1730 by Fife-born minister John Glas - they had no clergy, no consecrated churches and they held large communal meals known as love feasts. The Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) took on the building in 1989 after the six remaining members of the congregation decided they could not carry on. After repairs, the meeting house was sold to the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland for use as their national office. In 2018, the building changed again to become the new home of Ingleby Gallery. Photo: Scott Louden