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Book sale marks enlightenment and year of homecoming

Press conference: 11am Thursday 7 May, with Prof. Andy MacMillan

The Christian Aid Book Sale is proud to feature a first edition of Dugald Stewart's Outlines of Moral Philosophy published in 1793. This echoes the theme of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival:  The Enlightenment, Scotland's “18th Century revolution of thought”.

Dugald Stewart was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh from 1785 until 1810. His pupils included Sir Walter Scott, Francis Jeffrey, Henry Thomas Cockburn (of the Cockburn Society) and the young Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers. Edinburgh University has recently named a building in Stewart's honour which was the joint winner of the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2008.

We are pleased that one of the judges of the award, celebrated architect Prof. Andy MacMillan (four times winner of the RIBA Award for Architecture) will visit the church to meet volunteers on Thursday 7 May.

The sale has been held annually at St Andrew's and St George's Parish Church, George Street, Edinburgh for 35 years. Built in the 1780s in the heart of Edinburgh's historic New Town, St Andrew’s and St George’s architecture displays the influence of the Enlightenment and is famed for its unusual elliptical shape, and magnificent ceiling in the style of Robert Adam.

The city centre has seen many changes and the Book Sale is grateful for all the assistance offered by TIE during the tram works and hopes that the increased bus service to the door of the church will help bring new customers to the sale. The generosity of Edinburgh’s public has been such that extra space will be needed for all the books and Forth Ports PLC and Ormiston Transport of Leith have together generously donated and delivered a shipping container to the church. Off-site storage space for the church furniture has also been provided by City of Edinburgh Council.

In this year of homecoming the Sale is also delighted to have a beautifully-bound first edition of Letters from the Mountains by Anne Grant who was born in Glasgow in 1755. Anne spent her childhood in America where her father was stationed with the British army. Aged five she and her mother moved with the regiment from Albany to Oswego, travelling by boat up the Mohawk River, sleeping in the woods and forts along the way. Returning to Scotland in 1768, her father accepted a post at Fort Augustus in Inverness-shire in 1772. The first volume of the Letters records their journey from Glasgow and Anne's growing attraction to Highland life and culture. She married the Rev. James Grant, minister of Laggan in 1779; there she learnt Gaelic and collected folk tales and began translating Gaelic poetry into English. Following her husband's death in 1801 she supported her large family by her writing, and the Letters were published in 1806.

Other donations include letters and postcards from both World Wars and a wonderful collection of Edwardian Gilbert and Sullivan books, some important books about the island of Skye and collectable 60s and 70s film, theatre and exhibition posters.


Media are invited to attend at 11am on Thursday 7 May when Prof. Andy MacMillan will visit the sale & present a rare copy of the exhibition catalogue for “Gillespie, Kidd & Cola: architecture 1956 – 1987” edited by Johnny Rodger for The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City in partnership with the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.  Please direct all enquiries to Mary Davidson, Sale Convener, M: 07714 186754 or H: 0131 556 2168.

Notes to editors:

  1. The annual Christian Aid Book Sale at St Andrew's and St George's Church, Edinburgh, opens at 10am on Saturday 9th May (closed Sunday 10th May). It continues during Christian Aid Week from Monday 11th May to Friday 15th May, open 10am – 3.30pm with late night opening until 8pm on Thursday.

  2. Since 1974, the sale has raised more than £1.7m for Christian Aid which raises funds for and works with partner organisations around the world, regardless of religion or race. See www.christianaidscotland.org

  3. For more details about the sale visit: http://www.standrewsandstgeorges.org.uk/christian_aid_book_sale.php

The Parish Church of St Andrew and St George, Edinburgh (Church of Scotland) is a registered charity (Charity number: SC 003470).