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A Brief History of the Baha'i Faith in
Midlothian and Scotland
The catalyst for the creation of this website was the realisation that during the period of 1998 - 1999 the Baha'is of Midlothian celebrate three important anniversaries;
1) The Centenary of their Faith in the UK
2) The 50th anniversary of the establishment of the first Baha'i Community in Scotland
3) The 30th anniversary of the first person to become a Baha'i in Midlothian.

The recorded history of the Baha'i Faith in Scotland began in 1913, when 'Abdu'l-Baha, the eldest son of Baha'u'llah, visited Edinburgh. His hostess, Mrs. Jane Whyte, was married to Dr. Alexander Whyte, a prominent minister of the United Free Church of Scotland, and they invited Him to stay in their home, at No.7 Charlotte Square, which is now owned by the National Trust, and is known as the Georgian House. Mrs. Whyte had met 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Holy Land in 1906, when she went on pilgrimage to the Baha'i Holy Places, with her friend, Mrs.Thornburgh-Cropper, who had become the first person to become a Baha'i in the UK in 1898-99.
More details of 'Abdu'l-Baha's visit to Edinburgh can be found here:

The Faith remained small in numbers, and it was only in 1948 that the first Baha'i Assembly in Scotland was formed, in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Baha'i community dates from this time, and the Edinburgh Baha'is held a celebration of their Twin Annversaries in November 1998. These were: the Centenary of the Faith in the UK, and the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Baha'i community.

A reception was held in the prestigious Playfair Library, Old College, Edinburgh on November 13th. The programme included guest speakers Dr. John Parris of the National Spiritual Assembly, which is the elected representative body for the Baha'i faith in the UK, and Professor Frank Whaling of Edinburgh University. The evening also included artistic presentations from the Edinburgh Baha'i Choral Group, Kerry-Ann Boyle; Sean O'Rourke and Kingsley and Suzanne Swan.

Midlothian Baha'i history is more recent than that of Edinburgh; the first member of the Baha'i Faith in Midlothian was Iain Palin, who declared his Faith while living in Eskbank, in 1968. He was then a student at Edinburgh University, and qualified in medicine in 1973. He worked in hospitals in Scotland and Northern Ireland and now works as a GP in Londonderry.

His wife, Elizabeth, is from Currie, and they have four sons. Iain has completed many years of devoted service to the Faith; having served on Baha'i Assemblies in Edinburgh, Inverness, and Londonderry, he has been a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the UK since 1980. He is also Director of the Baha'i Information Office, which is responsible for resourcing and training the local Baha'i communities and other bodies throughout the UK in their public information and external relations work for the Faith.

The Baha'is of Midlothian are proud to have Dr Iain Palin as our pioneering example of service, and are very pleased that a son of Midlothian is so central to Baha'i concerns in the UK.