The lost history of St Margaret Mary’s

Posted on 27/11/2012 by


The Lost History of St Margaret Mary’s RC Church on Boswall Parkway

On Remembrance Sunday 2012 the long-awaited History of St Margaret Mary’s Granton, Edinburgh was published. It covers the period 1937, when the parish was commissioned, through 1939 when it was opened to the present day (writes Harold Hindle).

Much material had been completely lost in a house fire many years ago. To acquire a photo of the original altar looked a far-fetched proposition. However, Fr Daniel Doherty, Parish Priest of the now-twinned St Margaret Mary and Holy Cross Parishes, commissioned a study commencing with an interview of Canon Michael J. Cassidy, Parish Priest of St Margaret Mary from 1976 to 2004. From him a picture began to emerge, particularly aided by the recollections of Robert Nicholson, a parishioner from the start.

As interest mounted it was decided to hold a special social, a Reminiscing Evening in the parish hall so older parishioners could add their memories. Nora Burns our musical director kept an archive of assembled photos and from here the story was spread though families by word of mouth. It was known that ‘ex-patriots’, even those living in Edinburgh (!)  have a love for the church and may well have had some important information to be accessed. This was collated and verified as much as possible.

The final booklet was published with an integral DVD of collected photos and the set sells for £5 or the cost of a couple of birthday cards. Being fairly neat in size in can be quite easily posted abroad to far-flung friends.

It tells the story of the parish in a readable way and contains a splash of photos which will be of nostalgic value to those who knew the parish. Beyond that, it is a gift from this generation to our children’s children because if the history of this parish were not written down now, it would be so much more difficult in the future. In 2039, it can provide the basis for a continual history spanning the centenary of the Parish of St Margaret Mary.

The combined booklet and DVD at £5 can be purchased from The Thrift Shop in the Hall open on Sundays 10 to 1pm and Wednesdays 10 to 1 pm; also from our Piety Shop at the rear of the church on Sundays 12 -12.30pm.  Mail order would require £1 post and packing for a single set. For further details phone 0131-226-6402 or email

Harold Hindle