The legacy of Thomas Nelson junior built the hall in 1913 to be used as a place "to which persons of the working class and others can go to sit, read, write, converse and otherwise occupy themselves". With that in mind, the hall has been returned to community use as part of The City of Edinburgh Council's Community Learning and Development section.
Nelson Hall is run in conjunction with South Side Community Centre by the South Side Community Centre Association Management Committee.
The South Side Museum is located in the Gray Room, displaying artefacts from the South Side’s industrial past, school mementos and many old local photographs.
Scoosh, the local out of school care club, are based at Nelson Hall every afternoon and during school holidays.