An Edinburgh councillor is calling for the Portobello community to rally round and help save a towering landmark.

Maureen Child has highlighted urgent repairs required to the A-Listed neo-gothic steeple at St John the Evangelist Church in Brighton Place.

The structure has watched over the people of Edinburgh for more than 100 years but it now requires extensive repairs up to an estimated eye-watering cost of £350,000.


Father Jock Dalrymple with Pastoral Advisor Chris Vinestock (left) and Cllr Maureen Child unfurling the campaign banner as the scaffolding goes up on the Portobello steeple.

Cllr Child, who represents Portobello/Craigmillar, said the community had already showed generous support. She said: “The need to fundraise for necessary repairs to the tower of St John the Evangelist’s Church in Portobello is clear.

“It is such an important landmark, not least to everyone approaching Edinburgh by train from the south, but it is a major community asset for all of us as well as a category A listed building.

“We need to be good stewards for our heritage, and it is heartening to see such enthusiasm already.”

Parish priest, Father Jock Dalrymple, said: “The tower is now facing the test of time and urgent work is beginning to repair and maintain this much-loved landmark and to protect it for generations to come.

“It has watched over the people of Edinburgh since 1906 and is now a vibrant hub of care and support for many in the surrounding area.

“It is not solely a tower to faith, but a monument to the strength, resilience and shared vision of the entire community.”

Stump up to save steeple plea – St John’s Church, Portobello – Photo: Stephen Rafferty

Local resident and renowned architectural historian, Professor Ian Campbell, said: “On the East Coast main rail line, the tower of St John’s is a landmark heralding the approach of Edinburgh.

“I saw it on my first trip to Edinburgh by train and was immediately struck by its distinctive rocket-like shape. It is an enigma, as the obscure architect J. T. Walford built nothing else like it.”

To find out more about the project and to donate, visit www.stjohnsportobello.co.uk; email stjohnsandstmarymagdalenes@gmail.com; or call 0131 669 5447.