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Portobello Baptist Church


Portobello Baptist Church ( bought its present three story building in 1920 having rented it for a year beforehand. The building was designed by David Bryce as the first of three buildings used as Portobello Town Hall. It was built in 1863 on the site of the first dwelling in the now Portobello area. “Poerto Bello house” was built in 1747 on the “Figate Whins”. From 1887 it became an entertainment hall and then a cinema from 1910. The original cinema seats have now been taken out and replaced by freestanding seating more fit for purpose for an active 21st century church. In 1924 the church hall was dismantled and transferred from “Timbertown” near Gretna Green having been used as part of the munitions war effort.

Guided tours in small groups from 10.15am to 3.15pm (last start of tour). Groups will start when there is a reasonable number ready to go (6-10 in each group). Tours will take approx 30-40 minutes.

The tour will include the main building and the rear hall which was a dormitory in WW1 at a munitions manufacture site in Gretna Green (ref “Devil’s Porridge Museum”) and was dismantled and transported to its present site as a “temporary” building in 1925.


2 local historians have been carrying out extensive research into the building’s fascinating history as the site of the first dwelling in Portobello; the first Portobello Town Hall; a dance and soiree venue; a cinema and finally a church; not forgetting the 2 flats for police - and the basement prison cells!

The findings will be presented at 4.30pm on Saturday 23rd September 2023 followed by a Q&A. An indication of attendance at the 4.30pm presentation would be appreciated to indicate numbers attending. Contact 

Digital Resources

Virtual Tour 2021

Being on Portobello High Street and just looking “like a cafe”, people do not realise what is in the building. Come and see for yourself sometime! Until then however, we hope you will enjoy a quick virtual visit below in this video specially produced for Doors Open Days.

Go on a virtual guided tour!

Key Information

We will be open on Saturday 23rd September from 12 noon to 4.30pm for guided tours followed at 4.30pm by a presentation by 2 local historians about the last 120 years that the church has met in various places in Portobello. 

Where to find us

  • 189-193 Portobello High Street
  • Portobello
  • Edinburgh
  • EH15 1EU
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