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Foot of Leith Walk

Looking up the Walk

Photo 1

May 1955

A crowd gathers at the foot of Leith Walk in May 1955.  Who is in the crowd?  Who was the speaker?  There is an interesting mix of traffic in the background.

JL Stevenson, with acknowledgement to his son Hamish, and also to Kenneth Williamson for providing a copy of this photo.

 

Enlarge this photo

    A crowd gathers at the foot of Leith Walk in May 1955.  Who is in the crowd?  Who was the speaker?  There is an interesting mix of traffic in the background. 

 

Foot of Leith Walk

People and Traffic

Photo 1 above  shows a busy scene at the 'fit o' the walk'.  The photo was taken in May 1955, about 18 months before Edinburgh's tram system closed.

A crowd has gathered and a loudspeaker can be can be seen in the lower-left corner of this photo, in front of the statue of Queen Victoria.

There is an interesting mix of traffic in the background.  Those were the days when traffic at the 'fit o' the walk' was controlled by a Policeman in a white coat on Points Duty, rather than by traffic lights.

Questions

1.  Do you recognise anybody in the crowd?  Please click here to enlarge this photo and see the faces more clearly.

2.  Do you know who the speaker was and what his subject was?  Might it have been political?

3.  Do you have any comments about the traffic in the background?

I look forward to seeing if anybody responds to any of these questions.  Please email me if you have any comments or answers.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 11, 2014

 

Replies

Thank you to all who replied, sending:

-   their recollections (See Replies Index, below)

-  more photos.  (See Photo 2 and Photo 3, below.)

Photo 2

Possibly May 1951?

Zoom-out on Photo 1:  Independent Candidate, A Murray

See also: Reply 3 below and subsequent replies below

Reproduced with acknowledgement to Scran.   Ref. 13044 02102926.jpg  000-000-038-226-R

Photo 3

May 1955

Labour Candidate, JH Hoy

See also: Reply 8 below and subsequent replies below

JH Hoy, Labour candidate,  on his soapbox at the foot of Leith Walk  for his General Election Campaign - May 1955

Reproduced with acknowledgement to Scran.   Ref. 140414 05012633.jpg  000-000-057-933-R

 

 

Replies Index

1.

Andy Hall
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England

The Brewery Wagon

2.

David Bain
Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England

The Brewery Wagon

3.

Brian Alexander
Prestonfield, Edinburgh

Photo 1

-  Sunbeam Talbot

Photo 2

-  General Election Dates

-  Sunbeam Talbot

-  Morris Van

4.

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

General Election Dates

5.

Donald Grant
Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Small Van

-  Morris Mi

-  Morris Cowley

6.

Donald Grant
Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Small Van

-  Morris Mi

-  Post Office Telephones van

7.

Gus Coutts
Duddingston, Edinburgh

General Election, 1951

8.

Brian Alexander
Prestonfield, Edinburgh

General Election Candidates, 1955

-  A Murray

-  JH Hoy

9.

Kenneth Williamson
Silverknowes, Edinburgh

General Election Candidates, 1955

Man in the White Coat

10.

David Bain
Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England

Morris Minor Van

11.

Andy Hall
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England

The Brewery Wagon

Sunbeam Talbot 90

12.

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

Questions

-  In the Crowd

13.

Marjory Williamson
Edinburgh

General Election Candidates, 1955

- Murray, Meikie and Hoy

 

Reply

1.

Andy Hall

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England

Thank you to Andy Hall who replied:

The Brewery Wagon

"The brewery wagon on the left is from Scottish & Newcastle.  It must be fairly old as the Barrels on the rear look like hogsheads which I believe held around 54 gallons.  Health and safety would prevent their use today."

Andy Hall:  Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England:  April 12, 2014

 

Reply

2.

David Bain

Rotherham,  South Yorkshire, England

David Bain added:

The Brewery Wagon

"Mention of hogsheads above reminded me of my father.

He was a cooper, eventually becoming General Secretary of the National Union of Coopers.  He always referred to hogsheads as 'huggets'."

David Bain, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England:  April 12, 2014

 

Reply

3.

Brian Alexander

Prestonfield, Edinburgh

Thank you to Brian Alexander who replied:

Photo 1

Sunbeam Talbot

    A crowd gathers at the foot of Leith Walk in May 1955.  Who is in the crowd?  Who was the speaker?  There is an interesting mix of traffic in the background. 

"Photo 1 above is very interesting, particularly the  the light coloured Sunbeam Talbot 90 Mk I turning from Leith Walk."

Photo 2

General Election Dates

"Here is the original image, sourced from the SCRAN website.

Reproduced with acknowledgement to Scran.   Ref. 13044 02102926.jpg  000-000-038-226-R

The date attributed on SCRAN is 17 May 1951 and the caption reads, 'General Election Campaign at Leith - Sir A. Murray at Open Air Meeting'.

The dates given on the SCRAN site are not always accurate, but it is probable the date of 1951 is correct as it was an election year.    (I agree with your comments about the reliability of SCRAN dates.  Please also  see my Reply 4 below.  Peter Stubbs)

Sunbeam Talbot and Morris Van

The Talbot 90 Mk I was manufactured from 1948 to 1950, so that fits.

However, I was initially put off this theory when I looked a bit closer at what looks like a Morris Minor Van (with some kind of attachment on the roof) to the left of the image coming down The 'Walk' with a lorry on its left and a large van on the right and the Minor vans were not made until 1953!

Closer inspection shows a Split Windscreen on the 'Morris', the vans were never fitted with split screens so it can't be a Morris Minor, and that takes us back to 1951. I can't determine what make this small van is, if it is a van!

However, others may be able to throw more light on the matter.

Brian Alexander, Prestonfield, Edinburgh:  April 13, 2014

Comments

 

Reply

4.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

Hi Brian:

General Election Dates

Thanks for your comments, in your Reply 3 above, about the possible date of the photo

Yes, 1951 was a General Election year - but so was 1955!  In fact the General Elections were held on:

-  25 Oct 1951 and

-  26 May 1955. 

Photo 1 and Photo 2 both have a month of May attributed to them, so 1955 would seem to me to be the more likely year for the photo to have been taken.

i.e. about a week (rather than about 5 months) before the General Election.

A little more investigation into the political activities of Sir A Murray in the 1950s might help to confirm the date of this photo.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 13, 2014

 

Reply

5.

Donald Grant

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

David Grant wrote:

Small Van

Morris Minor

"I read Brian Alexander's comments above, regarding what he thought may have been a Morris Minor Van.  Unfortunately because I don't have a large enough version of the photo I'm unable to see the vehicle he mentions.  It my have been a Morris Cowley MCV."

Morris Cowley

"It's not generally known by people born after the mid- 1950s that prior to the introduction of the Morris Minor there was a much bigger and very similar looking vehicle produced i.e. the Morris Oxford.

A commercial version was released as a van, pick up and chassis cab model and was produced from 1950 to 1956 as the Morris Cowley MCV.

 It would be easy for the untrained to to mistake a frontal shot of the Cowley for a Minor. Here is  a photo of  Morris Cowley MCV to illustrate the similarity.  I have to say that although this photo appears on various websites, I'm unable to attribute copyright ownership." **

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  April 14, 2014

Reply

Photo of Morris Cowley MCV

 **   For copyright reasons, I've not added Donald's photo of the Morris Cowley van  to the EdinPhoto web site.

However, a copy of it can be found on this Wikipedia page.  It's the photo of the cream and maroon van that appears on the right-hand side of the page beside the heading:   'Morris Cowley MCV (1950-1956)'.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

6.

Donald Grant

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to David Grant for writing again.

Donald wrote:

Small Van

Morris Minor

"Further to my last email, I've managed to get a large version of the Photo 2 and can confirm that the van that Brian Alexander mentions is in fact a Morris Minor.

Contrary to Brian's statement, Morris Minor vans were indeed produced with split windscreens from 1953 onwards. The split windscreen would have survived until 1956 when the single screen was introduced across the range."

Post Office Telephones Van

"In all probability the van in Photo 2 is a Post Office Telephones vehicle and the attachments on the roof  that Brian mentions are the engineers' ladders.

Here is a photo of one of these vans.  Again I'm unable to attribute copyright for this photo."  ***

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  April 14, 2014

Reply

Post Office Telephones Morris Minor Van

 ***  For copyright reasons, I've not added Donald's photo of the Post Office Telephones van to the EdinPhoto web site.

However the photo can be seen by clicking on this Internet link.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

7.

Gus Coutts

Duddingston, Edinburgh

Gus Coutts wrote:

General Elections

1951

"Were there not 2 General Elections in 1951/2 (I'm not sure if they were both in 51) the first where The Attlee Government just held on to power and the second where the Tories under Churchill were returned" ****

Gus Coutts, Duddingston, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2014

Reply

1950 and 1951

**** Hi Gus:  This wikipedia page shows that the two UK General Elections that were held close together in the early-1950s were, in fact, held on:

-  23 February 1950 and

-  25 October 1951

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

8.

Brian Alexander

Prestonfield, Edinburgh

Brian Alexander added:

General Election Candidates

A Murray

1955

"A bit of further research shows that A Murray stood as an Independent candidate for Leith in the General Election held on 26 May 1955 and came third. He did not stand in 1951, so the correct date of Photos 1 and 2 above must be 1955.

Another Photo

1955

Here is  another photograph taken at the Foot o' the Walk, again from SCRAN and  dated 17 May 1951.

This time the date is clearly wrong as the image shows a speaker on his soap box ether supporting the candidate Hoy or Hoy himself.

JH Hoy did stand as Labour candidate for Leith, and took the seat, at the General Election in 1955 but did not stand in 1951.

The film advertised over the entrance to what was the Palace Cinema is 'Loophole' released on 28 March 1954. The speaker has a neck tie in his hand and seems to be making a point about it, or with it.

JH Hoy, Labour candidate,  on his soapbox at the foot of Leith Walk  for his General Election Campaign - May 1955

Reproduced with acknowledgement to Scran.   Ref. 140414 05012633.jpg  000-000-057-933-R

Brian Alexander, Prestonfield, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

9.

Kenneth Williamson

Silverknowes, Edinburgh

Kenneth Williamson who originally sent Photo 1 to me, wrote:

General Election Candidates

1955

"Thank you to all for your interesting comments so far.

A crowd gathers at the foot of Leith Walk in May 1955.  Who is in the crowd?  Who was the speaker?  There is an interesting mix of traffic in the background. 

-  The date of Photo 1 is definitely 1955.

-  I spoke to my wife, Marjorie, about Sir A Murray and she told me that when he was campaigning she and other children would chant:

'Don't vote for Murray, he's in a hurry,

Vote for Hoy, he's the boy'.

I don't know who Hoy was.

Hoy

In fact, 'Recollections 8' above give a bit of information about Hoy,

Brian Alexander sent 'Recollections 8' to me at about the same time as Kenneth Williamson sent his 'Recollections 9' to me.  

 - Peter Stubbs, April 15, 2014

Man in the White Coat

"The chap in the white coat is not a policeman.  He is controlling the points box so that the trams go in the correct direction. There were boxes throughout Edinburgh for this purpose."

Kenneth Williamson, Silverknowes, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

10.

David Bain

Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England

David Bain wrote:

Morris Minor Van

"The van mentioned certainly looks like a Minor to me and I would further offer that the attachment on the roof is a Post Office Telephones ladder rack. I must confess, though, that I thought they mainly had Morris 8s until fairly late on."

David Bain, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

11.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Allan Dodds wrote:

The Brewery Wagon

"The photo is 1955. However, the dray wagon on the left is Scottish Brewers as they didn't merge with Newcastle Brewers until 1960.

The logo on the driver's door is Youngers Ale."

Sunbeam Talbot 90

"The Sunbeam Talbot 90 was produced right up to 1957.  I was the proud owner of one!"

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  April 14, 2014

 

Reply

12.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

Questions

Thank you to all for your prompt and helpful replies to the three questions that I asked near the top of this page.

 A crowd gathers at the foot of Leith Walk in May 1955.  Who is in the crowd?  Who was the speaker?  There is an interesting mix of traffic in the background. 

 Two of the three questions have now been comprehensively answered.

That just leaves my question 1.  i.e.

In the Crowd

1.  Do you recognise anybody in the crowd?  Please click here or on the thumbnail image above to enlarge this photo and see the faces more clearly.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 15, 2014

 

Reply

13.

Marjorie Williamson

Silverknowes, Edinburgh

Marjorie Williamson wrote:

General Election Candidates

1955

"I remember the chant mentioned in Recollections 9 above

'Don't vote for Murray, he's in a hurry,

Vote for Hoy, he's the boy'.

I also remember that when Meikie was a candidate., we used to sing:

'Don't vote for Meikie, he's too cheeky,

Vote for Hoy, he's the boy'.  "

Marjorie Williamson, Silverknowes, Edinburgh:  April 23, 2014

 

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EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks