Torry United Free Church of Scotland

Sunday Worship 11am & 6pm

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.   Sinclair Road church

As the years passed and the Congregation increased, this Church held capacity crowds and a move to a bigger Church was indicated. The Congregation moved to what was called the Old Church in Sinclair Road (formerly Church Street) in 1865.

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.

The foundation stone of a new and bigger Church in Victoria Road was laid by Sir William Henderson in October 1889, and the opening service was on 22nd June, 1890. This new Church cost £2500 to build and by the end of 1893 was completely free of debt - a remarkable achievement.

1889 New Free ChurchAn 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