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A SMALL VILLAGE A MILE FROM THE COAST I was brought up in what is now termed an area of multiple depravation, you may identify it from the following description "a small village a mile from the coast" at least that's what you always told girls you met up the town. This always sounded better than telling them you were from Craigmillar. I remember one of the games we used to play in the summer when at Peffermill Primary School, half the school would gather at the top of the playing field while the other half gathered at the bottom. A game of Top and Bottom would then ensue , this basically involved everybody charging at one another clashing in the middle of the field. It was commonplace to take prisoners during the game this involved taking the unfortunates back to your base to be questioned unfortunately for the victims neither side had signed the Geneva convention. I also remember going to the George Cinema in Portobello (Kelly's Hero's) on a Saturday morning popping into the newsagent on the way down to buy a single fag normally a No 6, I was probably only around 10 years old. The strongest memory from my primary school days involves my then girlfriend going to the school leaving dance with somebody else. I later found out that a box of chocolates was the cause of the betrayal, I was really hurt as she had told me I looked better than David Cassiday. It's only really as an adult I have come to appreciate the beauty and history of my home city and could not live anywhere else as I would miss it too much. ........................................................................................................................ The people of Craigmillar and Niddrie have for many years been keen pigeon fanciers, Many fly birds at international competition level and win . Like fishing stories there are many a funny tale to be told. One example is of the local fancier who was partial participating in the art of ale tasting and his mother would always worry about whether she would get her dig money. Being a logical kind of guy he hit upon the idea of taking his best homer to work with him every friday and using rubberbands would strap a 5.00 note to the birds leg and send it on its way , His ma would receive the bird at the loft and get her dig money and the fancier could enjoy his other pastime................................................ This other guy who we will call Joe used to keep some fantails flying them out of his window box , Joe lived with his girlfriend Susi and its fair to say they were hard drinkers and weren`t very well of. For many weeks the local fanciers were keen to get their hands on a stray blue doo , try as they might no one could get their hands on the bird . One day Joe captured this bird and was envied by the others, much bickering followed as to who the bird belonged to, this was such a beautiful bird Joe had caught and had many offers of swaps, I`ll tell what I`ll do said joe , if you give me five fine tipplers you can have the bird, So the others got together and produced five of their best birds in return for this lovely bird , the deal was done. Many weeks later the guys met Susi and inquired how the birds were doing to which she replied Aye they where alright but a bit tough ?..................................................... My Niddrie Story........................................... When I was growing up , it`s no exageration to say that every family was poor,moneywise. Although nowadays there`s more money coming in the people are still poor . Anyway what this meant to us as kids is that we very seldom could afford the big brand names ,like Levis or Wrangler jeans. Our parents shopped at a tiny little shop on Niddrie Mains Rd called Peggy Duncans which sold just about every piece of cheap clothing that we`d need. So my mother used to buy me jeans from Peggy Duncans and of course getting new stuff was always exciting.My friends also had the same jeans ,but then we all used to brag to each other that our new jeans were Levis or Wranglers with the badges taken off and so on.The best is we all believed each other at the time!! The other thing I loved getting from Peggy Duncans was in the winter was a pair of ancle boots, these were nothing special just boots made of plastic with a sort of furry lining and chunky soles. Where these boots excelled howevery, was their inability to grip on ice and therefore were ideal for playing on slides in the winter time. We`d pack down all the snow really hard on a pavement or hill then slide along it until it became a solid sheet of ice. These boots were made for sliding!! you`d go some distance with them even in the Wee Man position!! Peggy Duncans is shut now and has been for many years I think it was taken over by Mr Lees Chinese takeaway shop. ...................................................................Hello you certainly gave me a trip down memory lane,and certainly brought tears to my eyes.I lived in a flat on Niddrie Mains Road between Hay RD and Wauchope Road,from 1937 till 1953 when we moved to the Inch. I attended Craigmillar Primary and then moved to Niddie Marischal.The Headmaster was a Mr Makepeace and he used to line us every morning to make sure our shoes were shined and woebetide any one who had not come prepared . Is Niddrie Marischal Secondary still there? a very modern school in its time. The girls used to take housekeeping and stay over for the weekend.Some of the teachers and the names we gave them Joe Gunn,Tex Houston,Tony Walker,Louie Grey,Bob Smith,(maths,History,English,Art, can`t remember what Bob Smith taught. Growing up in Niddrie was`nt the best place to be and the fact that it during the war didn`t help any. I remember the Gaff as we called it and then it burned down and was rebuilt . I`m sure it was the same people that owned the picture house in South Queensferry I believe it was called the Rio . Still in spite of all its short commings I still have happy memories and stories about Niddrie and I appreciate the memories you brought back. I`ve been in Canada now for over forty years and it was sure good to look back. Many thanks............................................................................The following artical appeared in a local news paper ...........If you lived as a child during the forties fifties or sixties its hard to believe how we managed to survive at all judging by todays standards. We rode in cars with no seat belts or air bags, Our cots were coverd with bright lead-based paints, We had no child proof lids on medicine bottles,no child proof locks on cupboards or doors and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets or protective pads, we drank water from the garden hose and not from a plastic bottle. We would leave home in the morning and no one worried unless we failed to come home when the street lights came on,no one was able to reach us all day no mobile phones.We got cut and broke bones and teeth there were no law suits, we ate cakes bread and butter and drank ginger but we were never over weight. We never had plastations or 65 tv channels,videos,DVDs,surround sounds,PCs or internet chat rooms we had friends instead. Our actions were our own and parents actually sided with the law if we broke it..................................................................Hi Scott what a great site and your pictures are fantastic. I lived in Harewood RD then Niddrie house square, but I left Edinburgh in 1964 for the merchant navy for 20 years then moved to London were I live to this day.My friend in Australia would be very intrested in you site , his name is Rab stoddart and came from the Hay drive area.My family and I came from the South side of Edinburgh Arthur St just off the Pleasance and moved to Craigmillar in 1961. If you have any old pictures of the white house I wouln`dt mind a photo and what happend to the Castle Tavern?.Thanks again for a wonderful web site.... Eric Gold London.

My name is Rob Cleary, I used to stay with my grandparents in no 102 Jewel cottages near portobello. My grandfathers name was Bob Cleary & my father James. They were kean bowlers & my grandad played for Scotland back in the late 50s untill the late 60s. The people I remember is Mrs Buchan whol used to run the local salvation army for the kids, Mrs Gallacher, the Miller family, Aunti Chrissie. The Gentles.

Let me know if you knew any of these people. My dad still lives in Edinburgh near Joppa with his wife Agnes & still winning at the bowels.

Great hearing from you.
My aunti has a few photos and I think still one of the Jewel cottages from the bridge looking down towards the lower end by the miners club.My cousins are coming over in Feb for my birthday, so I'll ask them to bring them with them. I have a few old photos with me standing in my ripped jumper outside my house in the Jewel. A few other names I remeber were the Conners who had girl twins, Jenkins who went to live in Bingham, the McGlynns Danny the father, Rina the mom, Danny the son, Pat McGlynn & John McGlynn (Pat eventually joined the "Bay City Rollers if you remeber them. The Gilroys, Andre Cherry (bowler), Tam Murry who used to play for the Jewel Violet football team, Tam Holleran who used to do the pigeon thing. Katie Baily who was Tams step mom. Dick & Richard who used to live on "the other side" as we called it of the Jewel, they used to breed budjies.
I remember the onion johnny as we called him who used to ride round on a bycycle with strings of onions attached to his handle bars, & the toffee apple man that used to come round in his wooden wheel barrow, the junk man who used to collect all the old clothing for a goldfish if you were lucky. The Jewel Violet playing field was directly opposite my house & I could watch the game from my window.

[Robert Cleary] 
From Steve McKinlay New Zealand
Hi there Scott,
My name is Steven McKinlay.  I've lived in Wellington virtually all my life but my "heritage" is in the Craigmillar Niddrie district. 
My dad is Dave McKinlay and my great uncle (Jimmy MacKinlay) was involved in bringing the Klondyke to a standstill before the second world war fighting for miners rights.  It's my only claim to fame (and here's me hoping to inherit a bloody castle or something).
Anyway, was pleased to find your site - I've forwarded to my dad. I'm sure he'll be very interested in some of your photography.  Great stuff - would love to see more.
Hoping to get out your way in June -
From Dave McKinlay New Zealand
Part 1
Hi Scott just had this web site forwarded to me from my son Steve and enjoyed reading and looking through your pictures, yes it has brought fond memories back to me although I didn't live in Craigmiller I was from Newcraighall  and lived in Bingham then moved to 170 Niddrie Rd  at the bridge next to the Jewel Cottages but went to Niddrie Marischal from 1950-54 I had a lot of class mates from around Craigmiller. When we lived in Bingham we used to have some ding dong battles with the catholic boys coming from St John's school Portobello, we would run into each other around the tunnel, there were some tough boys among those catholics one family that comes to mind were the Devlins Leo in paticular, well it was all part of growing up I suppose, there was the Gannons, my mother and Mrs Gannon used to scrub Niddrie Mill school floors no vynil in those days all timber floors, hard work.
I left Niddrie Rd to come to New Zealand in 65 and often talk to my work mates here about The Marischal and how it was a school that was well ahead of its time with practical class  facilities, metal work and woodwork even the gym with Jake Rennolds the PE. teacher and Miss Merrilees who took the girls, Chalmer's our english teacher, the school dinners too  oh! so many memories, I could go on forever Thanks I've enjoyed it .
Dave McKinlay  
Part 2
  Niddrie Rd. I think its now called Duddingston Rd.East it started at the cross roads at Niddrie Mill the Wisp Newcraighall and Niddrie Mains, there used to be a Co.operative store I can't remember if it was Portobello or St Cuthberts and also a pub and I think that was called the Marischal Arms or the Marchall Arms. The block 3 story we lived in  was the last one before you went through the tunnel to the Jewel cottages it was on a 45 degree angle to the road we lived in the middle right hand side. My uncle Bill McKinlay lived above the shops at Hay Drive and was there for a good many years before they moved to Duddingston off Milton Rd. I can tell you what else was there before you went through the tunnel to the Jewel the was a tin hut shop on the right hand side dead opposite from where we lived and it was called Fords and sold great pies, god if there is anything I miss it's a good Scottish pie gee ma mooth's fair waterin thinking of it. My father worked in the Klondyke and liked to have a bet on the horses the bookie was called Wee Jimmy and stood at the Niddrie side of the Tunnel this ofcourse was before betting shops were set up and betting became legal, it was always a nightmare putting his bet on, the thought of running into those tough catholic boys from Niddrie who would have pinched the money of me lucky for me it never happend I was a fairly good runner anyway. The only one of the Gannons I remember was Joe he was a nice guy I got on well with him I think he had a couple of sisters I think one was called Tereasa. Well Scott I am going on a bit getting carried away here, thanks again for answering, didn't expect it. Regards Dave      
Dear Scott
My sister and I were born in Portobello and have some interest in your photographs of Niddrie. We spent many happy days of our childhood in this area untill we left for Australia in 1952. We and our gang used to go under the railway bridge up to the Wisp and as far as Woolmet.Lots of Saturdays were spent having picnics up at OUR castle at Craigmillar.
 Hazel Brown Vangi Barnacle-Watts
Gday Scott,

I am married and my wife and I live at Elanora in the City of Gold
Coast, Queensland Australia.
Congratulations on a very good site. I found it when I was researching
the origins of my grandfather, William [Wul] Anderson Gilchrist Gibson.
He was born in Inveresk and I understand he spent his boyhood in the
family home in Niddrie Mill. My great grandparents owned two cottages
with the parents living in a cottage called “Ash Glen” and his married
older sister and husband living the neighbouring cottage. The cottages
were not far from the school. My greatgrandfather worked in the coal
mine and his profession was that of engine driver [whatever that may be].

It was a tragic family. There were 10 children in the family of which 6
died from TB. Wul and two of his siblings emigrated to “The Dominions”
to escape the curse.

Wul emigrated to Australia and spent most of his working life here.

He was married with a family of two when his father died and he was
requested to return to Scotland “to settle some family business”. So,
the family packed up and back to Scotland they went. They lived in
Scotland for about 18 months before they decided to return to Australia.
However, in the meantime, my mother attended school in Scotland.

Some years ago, my wife and I holidayed in Britain and we visited my
mother’s cousin, Rita <now deceased> living in Musselburgh. While we
were there, we went and saw the school that both my grandfather and
mother attended and the old family cottages. <I do have a photo that we
took of the school and can scan it and send it to you via Email, it you
would like to see it>.

Recently my mother died and I “inherited” her uncle Tam’s bible. This
was Thomas William Seggie Gibson who was only 24 years old when he died
from TB. He must have been a bit of a character and I doubt whether he
did much study of the bible as he has drawings and notes in the fly
leaves of the book.

Now comes the mystery, to me at least! Tam has his address as “Ash Glen
Cottage, Portobello’. I wonder whether Niddrie Mill was at one stage
considered part of Portobello.


Tom Fletcher

Hi scott.
just wanted to say i dont have any pics of my days growing up in
niddrie,but i will tell you iv'e got lots of memories,if i may i'll give
you some memories,maybe other folk out there will remember too..i went to
st francis primary school the teachers were ok in particular i remember mr
globoki (he was polish I think).mr dillworth was the head master.one
teacher i fondly remember has to mrs lowry as we say times were hard
growing up in the 70's she paid for me  to go on a school trip i remember
it like yesterday we all went to hadrians wall and had a really good
time,among another few teachers i remember miss rowlinson who is still
there anyone remember miss dailly and her netball classes.not so much
myself but i remember my younger sisters going to the community centre at
niddrie mains terrace,for xmas partys they always had a big bag full of
stuff but when you got to a certain age you were too old.then there was the
buzz of the craigmillar festival cavalcade where you would see wee faye
milligan bursting with pride singing or being larger than life on one of
the floats and harry trowell taking photos for the festival news(now the
chronicle).anyone remember the rag and bone man and the toffee apple
man.that was the days when you could get your neighbours out to play
skipping and peevers with you.oh and there was two balls tennis balls being
bounced off a stair wall while saying a wee rhyme.so much has changed
especially the housing which is now for the better,one thing remains though
and that is that there is not enough things for children to do.
Niddrie Resident

i lived in niddrie mains drive then.i was born in niddrie and im
still living in the area.yes things have changed alright.i was one person
who said i would never send my child to castlebrae high school mostly
because of the reputation it had,however i did put my kids there and im glad
i did,the school has now got a lot of recognition and awards it now has a
good image so it seems good things do come out of craigmillar not just all
bad.i was looking through the other links and one of the photo's has the old
scout hut in it i think that may have changed to a shop as i remember a wee
shop just before you go through the tunnel to bingham i think it was called
the cabin.also there was a two storey building there as well i think it was
a butchers shop with a chipshop above then it was a betting shop.the castle
tavern is still there.but the white house pub has been shut down, has been
for some time its a listed building and can't be knocked down.peffermill
school is no longer it was demolished to make way for new houses also
greendykes  school doesn't exist,  both schools merged to make make
castleview primary. the gaffe bingo is now demolished. where the brewery
used to be has houses built on it .anyone remember luca's ice cream shop on
the main road,thats closed.we also have a new hospital built right over at
the top of craigmillar castle brae it replaced to old royal infirmary
hospital and is still known as the royal infirmary.with all the regeneration
thats going on at the moment and in the future things can only get
better,that regeneration includes greendykes,the
marischall,craigmillar,niddrie,wauchope,niddrie house.well scott i hope that
you may find this useful and if you feel that i may be able to answer any
questions for you feel free to e mail me.
Niddrie Resident

hi scott, 
i mailed you some time ago i have been really busy,i was on my sentimental day and decided to look up niddrie on internet,then decided to mail you with my short story of growing up in niddrie.
I was born in number 4 niddrie mains drive then moved to 22 niddrie mains drive and lived there for nearly 30 years, i went to craigmillar primary school when the head teacher was mr whittaker a very kind and understanding man( that,s my memory of him anyway) mrs jacobs was my teacher,mrs buist was music mr mcgillvary aswell.
i loved niddrie and still do i although i dont live there anymore,i live in wishaw lanarkshire but all my family still lives there,stewart fraser(pigeon man)his father was the coal man away before i was born,his name was jimmy fraser (bowser).my dad stewart had a big family of brothers and sisters. my mum minnie was from the toon she was a poshy, They have a pigeon shop now in old niddrie marischal school they have had it now for ten years.
I remember st francis school and mrs dailly,she used to take the netball team.
craigmillar primary won every match against every school hands down cause i was the centre. my best pal at school was jackie restorick she still is and always will be,catherine clarkson, marion greenhorn,kevin motion,god it all brings back memories and i miss each and every one of them, i wish i could see them all again and oh MRS DUNLOP she was brilliant aswell she taught us netball i even played for scotland and won a medal.I remember all the fights with the bingham gangs through the tunnel, ronnie miller,alex purves,kate mcCormack,louise brody i remember it all and more i love your page its brilliant keep up the good work will write again soon. 
annette fraser townsley-
Hi there Scott and Kenny
I enjoyed looking at your Niddrie site.  I was neither born nor brought up
there but my family was and I am doing some research (as I'm sure many
people who contact you are).  My family - the Jamiesons - lived in Niddrie
from about 1934 to the early 1970's at the same house - 19 Niddrie Mains
Terrace, which is of course no longer there.  I have pictures of just what
Niddrie Mains Terrace now looks like if you're interested (taken earlier
this month), just a couple of pictures though from each end.
Anyway, the family were: Robert (Bob) and Annie Jamieson, who before moving
to Niddrie lived in Sandport Street (where Robert had a boot repairer shop)
in Leith and Prince Regent Street before that, also in Leith.  They moved to
Niddrie, I think in 1934, with their family of 7 children in order of age,
eldest first - Isabella McRae Jamieson (Isa); Robert Peter Jamieson; Annie
Rose Jamieson (who is my gran); Christina Thomasina Jamieson (Chrissie);
Lawrence James Jamieson (Lawrie); John Duncan Jamieson; and finally Jessie
Jamieson (the only one remaining of the seven).
Jessie was telling me of how people would pass a card round the stairs of
the houses, whoever had the card it was their turn to wash the common stair
and passage to the back of the house.  Women would be down on their knees
scrubbing and would scrub right up to the pavement outside.  As many of the
people who moved there came from slum clearances (so I am told) e.g.
Canongate, Grassmarket, the sanitary inspectors would come by the houses and
could even pull back your bedlinen to check for bugs!
I'm not looking for detailed information or pictures (but if anyone has any
that would be terrific).  As you can tell, I already know a bit about them,
in terms of facts.  What I don't know is what they were like as people,
neighbours and friends.  If anyone knew the Jamiesons I would be delighted
to hear about it.
I knew most of my grans siblings, although only briefly.  I also knew Robert
Jamieson (my great grandfather) for a short while before he died in 1973.
If anyone knew them I would be delighted to hear about it.  I'm hoping that
someone has, as the family lived there - and in the same house - for
probably almost 40 years and in my experience people in tight knit
communities were well acquainted with each other when they lived there a
long time.  I'm happy for you to put my email address on the site if people
want to get in touch (I don't know if you would normally do that, if not
then it doesn't matter).
Thanks very much
John Brownlie
John Brownlie
E-mail Address(es):
hello there,
i lived in 37 niddrie marshall place up to the age of 10.my dad john
(jackie) mitchell brought me up on his own until he died in 1984.he used to
work for the cleansing and was a local at the castle tavern and the working
mens club at the jewel.i went to greendykes primary school and the
headteacher at the time was mrs reid.i remember she had big hair and was
quite glamorous!i remember the big black metal fence all around the school
and me and my mates would pretend to be charlies angels...this was us just
running with our arms swinging foward in a windmill like motion and talking
in american accents!then ofcourse we would play peveries or kiss cuddle and
torture...think i got impetigo playing this!!i also remember the path
leading from my house to the shops.there was a chippy a greengrocers and im
sure there was a bookies too??i used to play there on the green infront of
my house and this irish wolfhound called kojak would come play with the
kids. he was a huge grey scruffy beast as big as a horse when your 6!i never
knew who he belonged to but i loved that dog.i remember a tarzan near the
burn it was so dangerous but thats what made it great fun...my sister had to
take me everywhere and she hated it,she was 7 years older than me.
the best one was when she used to take me to the gulliver she mustve been
about 14 or 15 at the time and everyone used to meet up to "bag off" in the
tunnels that made up the legs and arms of the sculpture and one time i went
to run through and a glue sniffer was there!!or snuegliffers as i called
them at the time.i also remember getting sneaked into some disco nearby god
knows where it was but i remember thinking it was amazing!i used to go to
brownies in a church hall near hay drive i cant remember the name of the
place though.

Hi there my name is Allan Meek and was just wondering if you know of any pictures of Greendykes Gardens. Most of my family were born in Niddrie but i was born in greendykes where we all grew up. We left in 1983 not long before my Dad died. I found some pictures of the place now with the old house now long gone. If you can help in any way i would be most gratefull. Keep up the good work and my mother also loves the pictures you have put on. Its great to look back if sometimes a little sad.



Hello my name is Pauline Bonilla (Macgregor) I was born and raised in Craigmiller, I lived in Harewood Road unitl I was in P7 then we moved to Peffermill Rd, I lived there until I was 17 and I got the chance to come to America, I have been here since 89, I came accross your website and wanted to let you know that you have no idea how happy I was seeing all those pictures on there, it brings tears to my eyes, you have almost all the pictures of places I use to hang out. This website is precouis to me.  Keep it going and thank you.
Anyone who remembers Pauline can contact her here scotelsalv@yahoo.com
I think what you have done is good,getting the niddrie folk"together", you move away but you never forget, i lived in Niddrie Mains Drive , just by the shops, there was Charlie Combs , newsagent and sweetie shop, David Shaw's the butcher, Keiths the grocers, and ofcourse Toni Neri the chip shop, we also had a dairy /Post office run by a miss Mckecknie, when she died her neice Jean Prentice took over, then there was Munns , jimmy Taits, and tullocks who sold out to another company Wrights.
I keep reading about The beautiful laundrette, when i was living there it was Hay's the grocers,
just up from Rio cinema(later known as the County), and Young's the bakers.
We never had a "Bookie's" we had a man called David Eardley (a bookies runner) who stood on the corners of Wauchope Place or one of the corners of the back greens Nidd Mains Dr. the Thistle  Foundation was a Hay field, sometimes potatoes were grown there.The brewery connection, there was Murrays, McEwans (Maltings), Drybourghs, Deuchars, and Maclachlans, and the saying went like this water water every where not a drop too drink, there are soo many things  i remember as i said it was a magical place and a HAPPY place,i was born there in 1935 and grew up there went to Craigmillar Primary, then on to the Marischal, went away to work, but always managed to get back home.
Jean Devine (nee Thomson)
Hi Scott, i said i might remember more, ,thinking of the happy times we had when we were kids in the 30, 40,and 50s the university settlement, on Niddrie Mains Ter was the hub of the community, that is where everybody used to meet, like whist drives, oh and dont forget the beetle drives, some time there would be dances held there, the Sunday school, even the brownies, guides , scouts and ofcourse the Boys Brigade, and during the war it was also used by the A R P, plenty of laughter,at the side door of the building was Doctor Burnett's surgery, and on the seconed ffloor was the "Wartime Nursery", and Mrs Grady was the caretaker of the building.
At Hay Drive there was another Hall,the Elphiston hut we also used that in the same way as the Settlement all the ARP childrens parties were held there, i am sure there must be some people out there who will remember as i do who might even add to your page as what you are doing is marvellous and appreciated. Where are all the people, who were there at the same time as myself, like "the Mouats, Gannons, McGilvery,Petrie, McIvor, Gormley,Duffy, Willis,Gallagher, Matthieson,
(i know where the Lewis family are) there are some i have missed and i know they will know who they are , i am hoping they might get in touch with you Scott.
Jean Devine (nee Thomson)

Hi Scott and Kenny


I just wanted to congratulate you for putting together a great site.  My name is Sean Gannon and I am the son of Joe Gannon (mentioned in a wee story from Dave McKinlay) and it is nice to know my father was as much of a good bloke back then as he is now!


I live in Australia but both my parents Joe and Maureen – (nee Laidlaw) from Niddrie Marshal - Daughter of bookie Jimmy Laidlaw (who originally came from the town) and Nancy Laidlaw – (nee Flemming) still live in Edinburgh and through the years I have heard many stories from my parents and other family members about growing up in and around Niddrie; from playing football in the drying greens at the back to having fun around the freight trains or just hanging out a Luca’s Ice Cream Parlour… Changed days from now one imagines!


It is great to see all of those pictures that you have accumulated (some of which only existed in my imagination) but now I can see for myself what it was like.  My parents have fond memories of these days and living in a real community that stuck together and helped each other out; that seems to have disappeared these modern times. (Even I remember growing up in Gracemount as a child and the sense of community that was around then… P.S. I am only 32 so it was not that long ago…).  I also recognize many of the family names included in others stories that my parents have mentioned through the years.


My parents now live on Captains Road in Gracemount and have done for many years.  Like my parents there are a lot of families from their childhood that now live up that way.  I will certainly pass this site info onto my Father and Mother and get both of them to put down what memories they can recall from their time growing up in and around this area.


You never know; this may just reunite some old friendships that were long lost…


Sean James Gannon

South Australia




Please pass this onto Dave McKinlay and he can forward his details to pass onto my Father if he wishes…  Also pleas place my email addy on the site for any future contact.


Thanks and regards

Sean James Gannon.


Dear Scott


What a wonderful surprise to find your site. I was born and bred in Niddrie Mill Place in the 60’s and to see your photo collection brought back so many memories. I went to Niddrie Mill Primary School and Niddrie Marshall High School. Times were tough but you never knew any different and back in those days to have clothes on your back and food in your stomach and a big warm hug from your ma was all you needed to consider yourself rich. Yes there were fights,  gangs , stabbing and the such but there was also a wonderful community and in the end we where all the same no better or worse. Thing have changed and i like many on your site live overseas in Australia. People here cannot believe what it was like to be brought up in such a neighbourhood and they sometimes look at me in disbelief when i tell them what poverty is all about, i had it lucky as i was the youngest of 6 , my four big brothers had it harder than i did. I hope that you have many more contributors to your site and the next time i am back Edinburgh way i will see if my family have any phot’s to add to your collection


Many thanks for making my day


From Louise McGurk New Zealand

What a great site Scott--thank you!!
I lived in the Jewel Cottages as a child in the early 50's My family name was Harper. I recall knowing a girl with red hair called Alison and an African?? boy called Johnny.
Behind the houses just through the rail tunnel, people kept chickens in runs and once my friends and I let them all out and everone's chickens got mixed up.
I remember going to the matinee at the George picture theatre in Portobello.
When the Queen was crowned we had a Gala day and a street party--I remember it was around that time when I first learnt to write my name and I was so proud of my achievement, I wrote it (in chalk) on every red brick wall on my way home from school (early graffiti artist??) The name of the school escapes me but I remember in summer walking there through a field of wheat which grew higher than me.
At dusk every night the lamplighter used to come around the streets lighting the lamps and we had gas lights in our house /terrace
I remember vividly the day we left my beloved Scotland to immigrate to  Australia, It was a cold, snowy winter's day in February. We arrived in the tropics of Northern Queensland 6 weeks later in the middle of summer. I loathed it, but over the years, grew to love Australia
 I returned to Scotland as an adult and found the Jewel was no more
I now live in Wellington New Zealand
kind regards
Louise McGurk

Hi scott  iwas born in 1935 in the drive went to craig millar school  teatchers  were mr Smith head master  miss  Brown an old spinster  and headmistress  MR Hendry mrs Cuthbertson  miss puller  janny was Mr Anderson who lived in bungalow on edge of school mrs morris sold 1d jam pieces at play time and if you were rich run up to shaws the butcher for 2 d hapney pie the best pie s i ever tasted grease an aw .the only car there belonged to Mr Smith boys saluted and girls bowed as he drove past ho betide you if you didn’t a couple had push bikes the rest got the bus the only other cars seen was dr burnett and an insurance man the truant officer conky known for his red nose came after you on his pushbike and chase yoy back to school.then to niddrie marishal school  head master MR makepiece other teachers were tex housten tojo Walker scotty science teacher jack renalds and miss merrilees  pt teachers,Maggie morton miss steel in the annexe with other mr Walker Mr Currie art teacher only  3 fingers.   More to come.



Hello Scott,
What a wonderful site.  I am hoping that there may be some of your subscribers who can help me.
I am researching my Scottish roots, but my main focus is my most recent family, my father, grandmother and her mother.  My grandmother was Margaret Provan Penman (she may have been known as Penman or Provan).  My dad was born in Oxford but brought up in Edinburgh, I have recently obtained my aunt's birth certificate (Jean Penman) and the address given on her birth certificate is 18 Nidrie Mains Drive, Craigmillar.
I wonder if there is anyone there who have any memories of my family.  My gran later went on to marry Edwin Waller (the marriage later turned out to be bigamous on his part).  I know that my great grandmother was Annie Penman - she married a man named Shaw in the 60's, however, I believe she had been in a relationship with him for many years as my great grandfather died in 1918.  Mr Shaw was living with my great grandmother as a 'lodger' despite fathering at least 3 children with my late great grandmother.
I am more than happy for anyone to contact me on my personal email of m19ichelle77@aol.com if you have any information surrounding my family.
Thanks again for all your hard work, it would be lovely to see more sites like this.  A real inspiration.
Hi Scott,
I came across your site by chance when I was looking for some old photos of Niddrie.
It brought back some memories that I thought I would share with everyone.
I was brought up from 1960- 1978 in the Marischal Crescent and then the Marischal Street across form the shops, John Craigs the grocers and the three aggies newsagents.
I remember that all our time was spent outside when we where growing up, playing kick the can, football tennis, football, golf up at Hunters Hall or at Milton Road. Can anybody remember lining up behind the McCallums and Restoricks to copy them doing handsprings over the fences, there where big long lines of kids willing to risk breaking there necks to prove they had the guts, how I'm still alive I often wonder!!
I went to Craigmillar primary school and then on to the Marischal then onto Castlebrae High School where I got the oppertunity to go on an Iceland expedition in 1975 (If you go onto youtube and type in Iceland 1975 it will come up with loads of pics of our time in Iceland) That was one of the best times of my life! a wee boy from Niddrie flying!! on a plane to Iceland! and exploring a strange land with volcanoes!!
I remember going to Sandy's boys club and getting our cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit half way through the evening, oh and nearly breaking my neck on the big trampoline that was in the sports hall. Jimmy the youth leader was a strange guy who use to drag his hand like a lion's claw down your arm like he was scratching you! weird thinking back now.
I also remember saturdays as being the highlight of the week when we use to go to the richmond church for the wedding scatters, that boosted your pocket money! but you had to sometimes dive under the wedding cars to get the money that had rolled away before anybody else got it, dangerous stuff for a penny or thrupenny bit!
We use to play in the old tip which ended up as the middle of the then new niddrie house! rats the lot, no fear for us! it was a big adventure!!
Is the burial vault still in niddrie house? I remember that they couldn't knock it down and it ended up right in the middle of the new houses! It was part of the old Marischal house that was knocked down to make way for the new estate.
My dad was one of the bus conductors on the no 14 that went from Newcraighall to the Gas works at Muirhouse he was known as top deck andy, and hes still going strong now, not on the buses mind you. He use to give me and my mates a free ticket to go from terminus to terminus and back again, it was a great day out for us.
Anyway I think I have rabbited on long enough. It was great to read all the story's, keep up the good work.
Brian Edwards.





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