EAS History

Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists – Early History

Since 1901 our Church opened its doors to those wishing to investigate and worship the religion of Spiritualism.  We cannot accurately account for our earlier days as records were lost. The little that we do know is presented below.

EAS is the second oldest Spiritualist Church in Scotland (second to Glasgow Association of Spiritualists).  Although we can chart our history back to 1901, it is evident that our Spiritualist pioneers were active long before then.

EAS 117 George Street

No doubt in the late 19th century society was experiencing a time of great social change. Darwin’s theory of evolution (1859) led many to re-evaluate their religious beliefs and saw the growth of a new spiritual movements, including modern Spiritualism. In fact, early accounts of Spiritualist meetings taking place are recorded in 1873, when The Psychological Society was formed by Dr G B Clark, who recounted sitting with medium Mr Duguid from Glasgow.

Early accounts tell us that our Church met in various halls at 117 George Street and Queens Hall, 5 Queen Street as well as the Usher Hall, before purchasing our first building at 9 Gayfield Square in 1924. Much of the funding came from events, including a lecture from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (22nd Mar 1919). In the same year the church officially becomes affiliated with the Spiritualists’ National Union

9 Gayfied Square

By looking at archived classifieds some inferences can be made. Throughout most of the 30’s and 40’s Mrs Helen Hughes seems to be the most prevalent medium appearing at the church. In the book ‘The Mediumship of Helen Hughes by Bernard Upton’ it says that, “the first Spiritualist church in Scotland at which she demonstrated was at Gayfield Square, Edinburgh, which she visited shortly before travelling to Glasgow”. Helens guide was ‘White Feather’ and she quite often performed her mediumship to crowds in their thousands. As well as appearing at Gayfield she also served on a regular basis at the Psychic College and the Glasgow Spiritualist Church as she loved serving in Scotland.

The Church remained at Gayfield Square until 1955 when it bought larger premises at 14 Forrest Road. In 1971 new premises were purchased at 246 Morrison Street, where we remained until moving to our current premises at 25 Palmerston Place in 2011.

A message from our President in 1912

One of our early committees in 1912

Archived classifieds adverts


22nd Mar 1919

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • USHER HALL, FRIDAY, 4th April, at 8,
  • LECTURE BY SIR A. CONAN DOYLE
  • SUBJECT – “DEATH AND THE HEREAFTER.”
  • Tickets, 2/6 (Reserved), 1/6, 1/- and 6d.
  • The “Theo” Book Shop, 42 George Street, and
  • METHVEN SIMPSON, LTD., 83 Prices Street.

29th Mar 1924

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • Founded 1901.
  • Services on Sunday at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • QUEEN’S HALL, 5 QUEEN STREET.
  • Mrs McCONNEL, GLASGOW,
  • Inspirational Speaker and Clairvoyante will demonstrate that
  • THERE IS NO DEATH.
  • Inquirers Specially Welcomed.

The Scotsman – 8th Apr 1924

CONCERT IN QUEEN’S HALL – In aid of the building fund of the Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists a very enjoyable concert was given in the Queen’s Hall, Queen Street, last night. The artistes were Miss Jessie Crombie, soprano; Mr Robert Hall, elocutionist; and Master G. Mackenzie Reith, violinist; and Mrs H. H. Adams at the piano.


26th Apr 1924

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • QUEEN’S HALL, 5 QUEEN STREET.
  • Services on Sunday at 11.15 and 6.30 P.M.
  • Speaker – Mr DAVID SMITH, GLASGOW.
  • 11.15 A.M. – “SPIRITUALISM AND SCIENCE.”
  • 6.30 P.M. – “MOUNTING THE CELESTIAL STAIRWAY.”
  • Clairvoyante – Mrs AITKEN, RUTHERGLEN.
  • A Cordial Welcome to All.

4th May 1924

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS.
  • SPECIAL SERVICES.
  • Speaker and Clairvoyant,
  • Mr TOM TYRELL, BLACKBURN.
  • QUEEN’S HALL, 5 QUEEN STREET.
  • At 11.15 and 6.30 P.M.
  • NOTE – Evening Services : Doors will be open at 5.30.
  • A few seats will be reserved, One Shilling Each.
  • At 1 o’clock – Children’s Lyceum, at which a Baby will be Christened.
  • All Welcome. Silver Collections.

“One of the well-known clairvoyant mediums with whom Maurice Barbanell was acquainted is Tom Tyrell of Blackburn, England.  A passage from Power of the Spirit offers a remembrance of his mediumship.

As a young man, I went, while on holiday, to a Spiritualist church in Paignton, and Tom was giving clairvoyance.  He specialised in reading memorial cards.  His recital included the full name of the communicator, the address where he had lived on earth, complete with the number of the house, the street or road, the district and town, the age when he passed on and the date, and a word-by-word recital of the memorial card. “


31st May 1924

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • Founded 1901. CHURCH, 9 GAYFIELD SQUARE.
  • (the First Church in Edinburgh dedicated to Spiritualism.)
  • OPENING SERVICES WILL BE CONDUCTED ON SUNDAY BY
  • Mr HORACE LEAF, LONDON,
  • Speaker and Demonstrator.
  • 11.15 A.M. – ‘Some Facts about Telepathy.’
  • 6.30 P.M. – ‘Our Innate Powers.’
  • Mr Leaf will give Lectures and conduct Seances
  • during the week. Full particulars at Sunday Services.
  • SPECIAL COLLECTIONS WILL BE TAKEN ON
  • SUNDAY ON BEHALF OF THE BUILDING FUND OF THE CHURCH.

20th Dec 1924

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square
  • Service, 11.15 and 6:30
  • Speaker and Clairvoyante –
  • Mrs ROBINSON, Monkseaton.
  • ALL Welcome.

20th Dec 1924

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square
  • Service, 11.15 and 6:30
  • Speaker – Mr W Freer, Glasgow,
  • Clairvoyante – Mrs Aitken, Rutherglen,
  • All Welcome.
  • Christmas Social, THURSDAY 25th at 5PM.

Feb 6th 1926 Mrs BURGOYNE, ROSYTH

Apr 17th 1926 Miss TAYLOR, BURY

Jul 10th 1926 Mr ERSKINE, LOCHGELLY


18th Sept 1926

  • Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists’ Church,
  • 9 Gayfield Square
  • Rev W. HEALD at
  • 11.15 – on “The power of the Spirit.”
  • 6.30 – “Vision and Seership.”
  • Lyceum at 10 o’clock.
  • CLAIRVOYANCE. SILVER COLLECTION.

Sept 25th 1926 Mr AARON WILKINSON, HALIFAX

Feb 12th 19th 1927 Miss A TAYLOR, BURY.


12th Mar 1927

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Services at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • Speaker and Clairvoyant. Mr B. West.
  • Silver Collections

Jul 23 1927 Mr ROSTRON, CARLISLE


1st Oct 1927

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Services at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • Speaker and Clairvoyant. Rev. W. HEALD.
  • Evening Subject – “The Magnetic Man”

15th Oct 1927

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Services at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • LANTERN LECTURE by Mr HOPE, showing Psychic Photographs.
  • Silver Collections. Friends wishing sittings with Mr Hope
  • please communicate at once with Treasurer.

Feb 11th 1928 – Mr WHYMAN


18th Feb 1928

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Services at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • Mr D SMITH, Morning Subject, “Inspiration”;
  • Evening, “Materialisations and Externalisations.”
  • Wednesday at 3 o’clock, Miss MITCHELL.
  • Silver Collections at all Meetings.

Mar 3rd 1928 – Mr Rex Sowden


28th Apr 1928

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Services at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • Visit of Delegates of the National Union. Chairman –
  • Mr W R OWEN, Dublin. Speaker and Clairvoyante – Mr AARON WILKINSON.
  • Silver Collections at all Meetings.

3rd Nov 1928

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Services at 11.15 and 6.30.
  • Speaker and Clairvoyante – Mr RIDGWAY, SOUTHPORT.
  • Nov 18, at 7 o’clock, in SYNOD HALL –
  • LECTURE by Mr HANNEN SWAFFER, London. Subject – “The Truth about Spiritualism.”
  • Chairman – Mr GRAHAM MOFFAT
  • Tickets 2s, 1s and 6d at 9 Gayfield Square and The Book Shop, 42 George St.

6th Feb 1932

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Affiliated to Spirit. Nat. Union.
  • Services at 11.15 and 6.30 pm.
  • Speaker, Mr McFARLANE. Clair., Mrs HILL, GLASGOW.

The Scotsman – 26th Sept 1932

Memorial to Edinburgh Spiritualist

At the anniversary service of the Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists, Gayfield Square, yesterday morning, Mr J. B. McIndoe, president of The Spiritualists’ National Union, unveiled a memorial tablet to the late Mr William R Rankine, who was president of the Association. Mr McIndoe said it was a great honour to be asked to unveil this memorial for one for whom he had a great regard. Mr Rankine was a man of sterling character and deep convictions – one whom they felt instinctively they could rely upon. They remembered the kindly welcome which he gave to everyone, and the sincere attachment which he had to the cause of spiritualism. He did an immense amount of work, not only for the movement in Edinburgh, but throughout Scotland. Latterly, he was associated with the work of the National Union. For a long time he acted as treasurer for the district. It was a fitting thing that some kind of permanent memorial should be on the walls of the building to which he was so much attached, and where he did such important work. Mr McIndoe then unveiled the bronze tablet, which bore the inscription In memory of William R. Rankine, Our arisen President 28/4/31.”


9th Mar 1935

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Affil. S.N.U. Services at 11.15 and 6.30 pm.
  • Speaker and Clairvoyante – Miss GOODWIN.

17th Jan 1942

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. 11.15, 6pm Wed, 3pm.
  • Mrs HELEN HUGHES. 7Pm Thurs. Mrs McCULLOCH.

11th May 1944

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. – Special Meeting, “Brains
  • Trust.” March 16. 7.30pm. Non-members 1/-,
  • Members 6d. Mrs Helen Hughes, Clairaudient.

6th Nov 1945

  • EDINBURGH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUALISTS’ CHURCH,
  • 9 Gayfield Square. Thurs., 8th November,
  • at 7,30 p.m. Speaker, Rev. D G Livingston.
  • Clairaudient, Mrs HELEN HUGHES. Non-Members 1s.

All this information was lost somewhere between Gayfield and Morrison Street. Thanks to the wonderful resource of The Scotsman Archive we have been able to piece together some of the history of the church from old classified ads so our thanks go to them and Edinburgh Libraries.