St Margaret's Anglican Church, Rosyth Dockyards

National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 10860 82740, map


Hilton Road

Also known as:

  • St Margaret's House


St Margaret's was one of two new churches built in the late 1960s to accomodate the needs of a growing population at Rosyth Dockyards, which was part of the large British naval base located here since the early 20th century. New barracks and and expansion of operations led to many more Navy personnel and their families moving in to the dockyards after World War 2, and a requirement for an Anglican Church and a Church of Scotland church led to the Ministery of Works funding their construction. The Rosyth Dockyards closed in the mid 1990s and this led to the closure of St Margaret's Anglican Church in January 1996. The building is still complete and has been used as a recording studio in recent years. The redundant dockyards have been partially redeveloped and there are new industrial premises and a berth for larger cruise ships.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

JR Johnston, the principal architect, designed the building to mirror a mission tent. It has a striking, sweeping metal-clad concave roof that rises to meet a tall concrete gable at the east end. This substantial gable is attached to the roof via metal ties to give the impression of ropes on a large tent or marquee. The side walls and low west gable are also of concrete and feature tall, slender floor-to-ceiling windows. The entrance porch is wood-clad and in the centre of the southern elevation. A tall wooden cross rises from the wall of the porch.

J Dowling 2017

Description (interior)

The interior of St Margaret's is as striking as the exterior. The nave of the church was in the eastern side, where the tall, curving roof created a large, open and light interior. The sides of the roof are clad in light pine wood and give the impression of a tent interior (or an upturned boat to some). Down lights hang from the roof and natural light enters through the glass section at the gable end and by clearstorey windows in the side walls. The nave had modern, wooden pews, altar rails, lectern and altar and the floor was carpeted. It is not clear whether these furnishings are still present or have been removed to re-use the interior space.

J Dowling 2017

People / Organisations:

Mr J.R. JohnstonArchitect1968-1969This church was by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Edinburgh. The senior architect was J. R. Johnston.
The Ministry of Public Buildings and WorksArchitect1968-1969
HM Treasuryprovided building funds


  • Church: Build/construction (1968 to 1969)

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 93879
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 8044

Bibliographic References:

Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 355