'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Monday, 2 December 2013

St John's Church-An Update

Anonymous Comment

A well written piece Peter, again the memories came flooding back especially when I saw the photos. I am scared to admit that under the second row of seats my initials may still be scratched into the wood a sign of a misspent youth or a dare I can't remember.

It is ironic after all the publicity given to Colinton Parish Church over the R.L.S statue that another icon of the area St Johns is near the end of its tether.

All the better off locals used to go to Colinton Church those who were able to afford to live in the area, Colinton was quite an exclusive scheme back in the 50 and 60s and the more working class stayed in the council scheme e.g. Oxgangs the main advantage living in Oxgangs was we had a pub and a bookies they had a better address.

I knew a few teachers at Firrhill Secondary who stayed in the Colinton area, I can't recall any staying in Oxgangs.

Do you re-call the pour-oots the newly weds used to toss to eager bairns fighting each other for the best spot nearest the bridal car? The photo of the stairs strewn with Autumn leaves reminded me that a surprising amount of money used to end up at the bottom buried under the debris that used to collect in the centre as in the photo; some times if you were really lucky and the conditions were right you were able to see two mini tornadoes swirling the leaves about 

The amount of money that used land on the main road was unreal Health & Safety would be in their glory if that happened to-day, the danger of being born in the 50s is that I think we had more common sense than the generation of to-day ,you had to just to survive, a skelp on the lug is a good teacher so is a week's grounding especially if the schools were mid term.

I also remember after the pour-oot the queues in Ewarts the sweetie shop full of kids who couldn't wait to be parted from our pocket full off halfpennies, pennys, threepenny bits and silver sixpences. I remember once getting a two bob bit and thinking all my Christmases had come at once. In those days you could get a 16 bus to Morningside then get into the Dominion picture house to see the latest film (in my case it was Goldfinger)and buy a cone for about 5 shillings "25p"to the younger ones then get home and still have change.

It will be sad to see the demise of St John's even though I moved away in 1975 I still have very fond memories and that is something that can't be taken away, I will be at the service to-morrow, and also get some more photos to go with the ones I took at Hunters Tryst or what was left. I wonder what the next part in Oxgangs to vanish will be-is the air raid siren at the 27 bus terminus still there ?

Saturday November 23, 2013

Anonymous Comment 

Hi Peter, 

Well I attended the Thanksgiving Service today at St. John's. It was a lovely service and well attended. However, what I am interested in is your associations with this Church? Did you or Iain go to one of the organisations connected with it, Scouts or Cubs? Or was your father an occasional visitor to the Church? I know he used to join Churches from time to time especially when he was trying to stay away from the drink. Apparently the ground is being sold probably for the building of homes for older people and the Church demolished. A pity because it is a lovely church, so simple and with lovely clean lines internally. I know the local Fellowship church people wanted to buy the property but the Church of Scotland weren't having it. The Fellowship people have the old hall that was part of the Episcopalian Church, St Hilda's was it, which was demolished and houses built there. They hope in time to raise enough money to build a church of their own. Some people know them as the happy-clappy people. Local people and some of their family are pastors in that church. Next Sunday there is to be a joint service at St. John's with the Colinton Mains Church congregation followed by a lunch, like today, soup, bread and cheese, tea/coffee and fruit cake, but good company. I was sitting across from Jason Rust our local Conservative Councillor locally known as the Boy Wonder. Regards.  

Sunday 24 November, 2013

Comment From Ruth Kaye (Blades)

Hello Peter,

Sad to see another church close but guess time waits for no one wonder what they will do with the building?

Sunday 1 December, 2013

Comment From Lesley Orr

Thanks for your fascinating blog, evoking so well the story and spirit of Oxgangs in the 1960s and 70s. It has been particularly touching to read your reflections about St John's church, and especially your very kind words about my dad Jack and mum Janet Orr. As you note, my sister Kathy preached at the service last Sunday (and she quoted a wee bit from your blog!) I was there too, along with our brother Callum (whom you remember was also an athlete, and is now a headteacher in Loughborough). My husband Peter Macdonald, and Callum's son Colin were also there to represent the extended Orr family. (Brother David lives and works in London and wasn't able to be there). It was a lovely occasion, and of course a day of mixed emotions for us. I still live near Edinburgh, and have revisited St John's on occasion over the years. There are still many old (and getting older...) familiar faces who have been in Oxgangs since the early days, and there is always such a warm welcome from these good friends. People remember my parents with such love and enduring affection - and it means a lot to us to read about the positive impression and impact they made on folk who were not directly involved in the church.
Apart from the emotional connection I feel with the building, which holds so many happy memories, and which has been the space where so many significant markers in my life happened (I was the first baby baptised in St John's - in the hut which was used before the Riach building was opened - and was married there too) I love the clean and elegant lines, the combination of warmth and light, the fantastic chancel space. It speaks so eloquently of the spirit of optimism, hope for the future, participation of all, and community building which characterised the best of Oxgangs in the 1960s and 70s - and which your blog also captures.

I certainly remember the pouroots, the church fete, concerts and so much else...Keep on sharing the stories and pictures!

Sunday 1 December, 2013

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have stumbled upon this blog after accessing Lost Edinburgh on Facebook. Imagine my extreme surprise when I noticed your comment, Lesley Orr, as I knew you many years ago when we lived in Oxgangs Street. My maiden name is Penwill, first name Kim and I have a very fond memory of attending one of your birthday parties! Our family moved to Australia in 1967 and I have been back to visit Oxgangs on a couple of occasions while on my travels. I hope life has treated you kindly. Cheers, Kim