About the Centre

The world famous printing and publishing firm of Thomas Nelson and Sons was an institution in the South Side of Edinburgh, employing several hundred workers.  Established in 1798 in the Lawnmarket, the printing works moved first of all to Hope Park in 1845 and then in 1880 to Parkside.  In the 1960’s, the firm was sold to the Thomson organisation and the buildings at Parkside were eventually vacated and the site redeveloped in 1968.

When Thomas Nelson junior died in 1892 he left a legacy of £50,000 to build halls to be:

“used as places to which persons of the working class and others can go to sit, read, write, converse and otherwise occupy themselves”

The Nelson Hall was built in 1913 and was well used and greatly appreciated by the local people.  The Nelson family’s guiding principle was:

“To die and give is well

To live and give is better”

 The hall has had a variety of uses, from a temporary school during the war, to a scenic workshop more recently.  It has now been extensively refurbished and returned to public use as a community centre.

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