Following the Disruption in the Church of Scotland in 1843, the emergent Free Church of Scotland urgently required a new theological college (New College) in Edinburgh, an Assembly Hall and a home for the Free High Church (the member of St Giles' Cathedral who left at the Disruption). A complex of buildings was thus designed by William Henry Playfair and built from 1846 onwards. The Assembly Hall itself was designed by David Bryce and built in 1858-9. The back of the Hall facing Castlehill was extended east by J. M. Dick Peddie in 1885, with further work in 1902-3. In 1934 the Free High Church vacated its building, which was adapted to become the New College Library.
In 1900, the United Presbyterian Church and a majority of the Free Church of Scotland united as the United Free Church of Scotland; the Assembly Hall was henceforth used by the newly united church. The United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland united in 1929. The Assembly Hall thus became the Assembly Hall of the reunited Church of Scotland. Overlooking the Moderator's chair, the centre of the south gallery was adapted to become the "Throne Gallery" for the Lord High Commissioner. Prior to 1929, the General Assemblies of the (old) Church of Scotland were held in St John's Highland Tolbooth Church (now 'The Hub'),... Read More