Edinburgh World Heritage

Barrie's Mission

In the past this building was well known to locals as Barrie’s Mission - look up and you can still see the sign on the first floor…

Image from Edinburgh Libraries, discover more at www.capitalcollections.org.uk

The mission was formed in 1886 at a time when the Grassmarket was one of the worst slum areas in the city. The mission gave support to local families in poverty and the homeless, offering food, clothing, talks and services.

In 1916 Alexander Barrie was appointed as superintendent, and under his leadership it the became so successful that locals simply called it ‘the Barrie’s’.  

The mission organised annual summer trips for local children. At one time up to 1500 children are said to have assembled in the Grassmarket, accompanied by 200 adult volunteers, to take the tram out to Gorgie terminus for a picnic in a field at Stenhouse Mills.

The children even made a rhyme about these trips:
‘A'm no gaun tae Barrie's trip
A'm no gaun again
A'm no gaun tae Barrie's trip
Fur it ayways comes oan rain.’

Story hosted by: Biddy Mulligans www.grassmarket.net

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