A celebration of Robert and Jane McGill

Early in the morning on June the 13th , a group of Brits, Americans and Russians met at St Andrew’s Church to celebrate the lives of Robert & Jane McGill, a Scottish couple who were among the most prominent and active members of the British community in Moscow during the second half of the 19th C through to the revolution. It’s largely thanks to Robert that the magnificent St Andrew’s Church in Vosnesensky Pereulok was funded and built, and Jane, after his death, was the benefactress of the parsonage, and St Andrew’s House for governesses (now the Marco Polo Hotel), and a number of other buildings and projects designed to help the sick or poor in Moscow.

Robert McGill personally played a pivotal role in facilitating the initial development, modernization and growth of the whole Russian textile industry, and was a close associate of the Russian Morozov family, including Savva Morozov. Unfortunately, much of the memory of the McGills’ huge contribution to their adopted city and country was lost in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, and ultimately Jane’s own life and that of her brother Charles.

After hymns and prayers at the Church, the group left to pay their respects and lay flowers on the McGill’s grave in Vvedenskoe Cemetery, where a short remembrance service was held. Following a short walking tour of the Spiridonovka neighbourhood, where the families lived, the group were then joined by a piper from the Moscow Pipe Band, who escorted them to a commemorative reception and exhibition at the Marco Polo Hotel, which was originally built by Jane McGill as a residence for English speaking governesses in Moscow.