History 1843 - 1929
FROM 1843 - 1929
In 1843 Scotland was divided by a religious Disruption felt in every parish. On one side were the Moderates who continued the Old or Established Church; on the other were the Evangelicals, or Seceders, who moved out to form the Free Church. It became clear that a Church was urgently needed in Torry. An appeal was made, funds gathered in and a small wooden Church costing £40 was opened by the end of 1843. This was sited on the Torry Bank of the River Dee between Bank Street and Pierhead, the first Free Church in Torry.
At this point there were only three crossing places of the River Dee: the Old Bridge of Dee, is still in use today. This bridge was commenced by Bishop Elphinstone and completed by Bishop Dunbar in 1525; the Wellington Suspension or Chain Bridge completed in 1830; and by Ferry Boat from Torry to Footdee. It is recorded that on the Chain Bridge a toll tee of half a (old) penny was the charge for foot passengers using the bridge, but those on their way to a religious service were allowed a free crossing. To avail oneself of this concession a Bible had to be displayed.
Two factors which greatly influenced growth of Torry now made themselves felt. Firstly, the opening of the Victoria Bridge in 1881 made a clear link between Torry and Aberdeen; secondly, the introduction of the steam trawler to Aberdeen around 1889. Families from the fishing villages around converged on Torry engaging in fishing or curing. The Old Church in Sinclair Road which was now inadequate to contain the ever-increasing numbers.
An appropriate text for those who earned their living from the seas was inscribed on the wall above the pulpit "Thou O Lord art the Confidence of all the ends of the Earth and of them that are afar off upon the Sea." In 1900 the Free Church joined with the United Presbyterian Church to form the United Free Church of Scotland.
A large number of boys and girls were now attending Sunday School and a Company of the Boys' Brigade was formed in the year 1902. Later a Band of Hope was started and soon after the Church Brass Band was formed and was later well known to the people of Torry as services were held in Sinclair Road after the Church evening service.
In 1906 the Minister was the Rev. Alexander Murray, a gifted preacher in whose memory the Communion Table and Chairs were presented to the Church in 1920. The Rev. John Guthrie BD was Minister of this Church from February 1920.
Early in 1929 talks with a view to a Union were resumed with the Church of Scotland. Unhappily by September, 1929 this caused a division in the Church resulting in approximately 130 members of the congregation leaving to eventually form the Torry United Free Church (Continuing) in Grampian Road.
The Ministers of the original Free and then United Free Church were:-
Rev. W.H. Innes M.A. 1873 - 1879 Rev. A. Simpson 1879 - 1885
Rev. E. Brown 1885 - 1906 Rev. Alex. Murray M.A. 1906 - 1919
Rev. J. Guthrie B.D. 1920 – 1929