Bell Ringers Chamber at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh

Black and white photograph, c.1890s
RCAHMS

This image gives a rare glimpse of the bell ringers in action in their chamber. On the walls of the chamber hang the proposed designs submitted for the architectural competition to build the cathedral.

St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh

Ink and colour wash, 1874
Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1978)
RCAHMS: Sir Gilbert Scott Collection presented in 1967 and 1970 by National Monuments Record England

The three soaring spires of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral form a prominent landmark on Edinburgh’s skyline. This magnificent neo-Gothic structure, built from 1873-74, was the largest church erected in Scotland since the Reformation.

Construction of the cathedral was financed by two sisters, Barbara and Mary Walker, who left their entire fortune to the Episcopalian Church, requesting that a cathedral be built with the funds. The Walker Trustees held an architectural competition in 1872, and a design by Sir George Gilbert Scott was selected from six shortlisted entries.
Scott was one of the leading architects of the Gothic Revival style and his design bears the influence of Scotland’s medieval abbeys. The central spire rises 270 feet in height, and two additional spires were later added by Scott’s son in 1913-17.
This design depicts the west end of the cathedral, revealing a section of the lobby and doorway.