The Era of Growth
Faced with the large increase in the population of Dundee in the mid-nineteenth century, Bishop Forbes (shown in the illustration on the right) set up a small mission in a thatched cottage in Blinshall Street and appointed Rev David Greig to look after all these people — particularly those who had belonged to the Church of Ireland. The numbers grew rapidly. Between 1851–1854, 433 people were baptized, 84 couples were married, 102 confirmed and the total number attached to the mission grew to 800. Bishop Forbes was busily engaged in planning his new St Paul's Church on Dundee's Castle Rock, but he realized the greater needs of the poor and made the building of St Mary Magdalene's a priority. The Church became the spiritual home for our people from 1854–1952. It can still be seen in Blinshall Street behind all the modern buildings.
The missionary growth was phenomenal. St Mary Magdalene's spawned many other missions — notably work in the Hilltown which led in 1859 to St Salvador's and work in Lochee which led in 1861 to St Margaret's. There also grew up two daughter missions within the congregation — Holy Trinity and All Saints'. Like many of the early clergy, David Greig was obliged to retire because of failing health and he was succeeded by three other excellent clergy — Rev George Anstiss (1868–1870), Rev Joseph Hunter (1870–1880) and Canon Francis Burdon (1880–1908), who built up the congregation in spectacular fashion. By 1898, the Church possessed 4,937 members, including 1,010 Sunday School children. Easter communions were ministered to 1,623 people. It was calculated from the records that, in its first fifty years, St MM had witnessed 11,036 baptisms, 1,320 marriages and 3,691 confirmations.
Rev David Greig