Edinburgh New Town
- Between India Street and Howe Street
History of the Street
Jamaica Streeet was planned, in 1802, as
the only street of artisan housing in Edinburgh's Northern New Town.
The street was were demolished in 1960 and the site was redeveloped as
Jamaica Mews in 1981.
Source: The Place
Names of Edinburgh (Stuart Harris)
Demolition - Update
Tim Jeffrey, London
Thank you to Tim Jeffrey who wrote:
"I lived in a top floor flat at 7 India Street,
overlooking Jamaica Street, from 1964 until 1978.
I remember walking along Jamaica Street to go to Sinclair’s grocery
store, so the street was lived in at least
though into 1965.
remember, well, the
trepidation I had as a 5-year-old
walking along a very run-down street;
I normally took the longer Heriot Row route.
Jamaica Street lay derelict and empty for a
period, so it cannot have been demolished
until at least 1965 or 1966. I remember watching
the ‘bongers’ for hours as it was demolished.
Does anyone have any photographs of Jamaica Street?"
Jeffrey, London: August 18, 2010
Thank you to Ian Sergent who wrote:
Living in Jamaica Street
father, Robert Sergent, was born
in Jamaica Street and lived there in the
He left in 1955, came to England
and joined the RAF just to get out of the poverty and have three
meals a day.
hard to believe some of the stories he tells me -
they sound more Victorian than 20th century.
He had a brother,
Alan, and has two sisters,
Agnus and Jenny.
grandfather (my father's father) was
doorman at the Regal Picture House.
"In Edinburgh, my father was friends with Jim Patience. He
would like to get in touch with Jim again, if at all possible.
Does anybody know where he is now? I
hope you can help."
Ian Sergent, Redditch, Worcestershire, England: September 10,
you know how to contact Jim Patience. If so, please email me,
then I'll pass on your message to Ian.
- Peter Stubbs: September 10, 2009
Thank you to Robert Williamson who wrote:
"Ian Sergent has been looking for a friend of his father, Jim
Patience. There is a Jim Prentice now living in Alberta.
He comes from Leith, at about the same time"
Eddie gave me the email address for Jim Patience of Alberta.
I've now passed it on to Ian Sergent.
Robert (Eddie) Williamson, Pickering, Ontario, Canada: May 14, 2010
Thank you to Pat Brown who wrote:
Living in Jamaica Street
dad moved to Jamaica Street from Boness when he was about 11 after
his mother died. He never told me about what it was like there and I
would be thrilled if I could find out now.
He was the youngest of 11 children and he was called James Brown.
Could you tell me about him and where he lived?
His brothers' names were Robert, Matthew, William and John
His sisters' names were Annie, Jennie and Lizzy
There were also others that I don't know anything about.
It would be nice if you could tell me about them as well."
Pat Brown: May 11, 2010
don't know anything about Pat's dad's family myself, but perhaps
somebody else will know about them. If you'd like to send a
message to Pat, please email me, then I'll pass it on.
Peter Stubbs: May 13, 2010
Thank you to Stewart Mayne who wrote:
Banned from Jamaica
"My mother was born and brought up in India Street,
from 1919 until the war. She used to
tell me that she and her brother and sister were banned from Jamaica
Street when they were little.
Once, they sneaked off there and bought
sweeties. Eventually they confessed to their father what they had
done because people had told them they would be poisoned by the
sweets sold there.
Luckily he said that they would be unlikely to be ill,
but might have had short measure. He was
very sensible and became a noted judge."
Visits to India Street
When I was little, I used to go with my
mother on the tram from Morningside to visit the grandparents at
India Street. I don't remember going into Jamaica Street
which seemed to be full of tenements.
I do recall a barrel organ lady on the corner of Charlotte Square,
and the milkman making a noise on the cobbles with his pony and
The India Street house had a rear extension with bath, designed by
Basil Spence (!) and a coach house on Gloucester Lane (?).
My memories are vague because it was 60 years ago."
Stewart Mayne, near Ashbourne,
Derbyshire, England: June 28, 2011
Thank you to Al Love who wrote:
asking how Jamaica Street used to be. Well, I can tell you my
experiences of the street as I lived at No.40, first flat,
for a short time with my Auntie Nan Hamilton my uncle
Jimmy and cousins Richard and Wilma in 1949-50.
Here is a photo of my Aunt Nan, in
her younger days, standing on the bridge at Deanhaugh Street,
Reproduced with acknowledgement to Al Love, Leith, Edinburgh
reason for my stay in Jamaica St. was my Mother passed away in June
1949 and the family thought it would be
too much for my Father to look after my Sister and
myself, so we went to stay with my Dad's
Sister, but strangely he couldn't live
street had a terrible reputation,
but I enjoyed my short stay there because I liked my
were quite a few Pubs and on a Friday and Saturday
night we would sit at the window, no telly then, and watch
the drinkers spill out of the Pubs at
There never failed to be a fight of
some kind and if you have ever watched under-the-weather
drinkers fighting, it's better than any
Keystone Cops movie."
"On the corner of Jamaica Street and Howe
Street was Collars Limited where my Father
used to get his stiff collars starched."
and her family eventually emigrated to
America and lived in New York and I had the good fortune to
visit them in 1958 when I was on route to Christmas Island
during my Army Service.
that perhaps one of my Cousins might just read this.
Al Love, Leith, Edinburgh: July 30, 2009
Message for Al Love
(cousins or anybody else) would like to send a message to Al,
please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: July 30, 2011
Dorothy Finlay (nee
Thank you to
Dorothy Finlay who wrote:
The Banks Family
Peggy and Alan Banks lived
in Jamaica Street in the 1950s. Alan
was a skipper on the trawlers. Peggy had
red hair and five bairns. Does anyone remember them?"
Dorothy Finlay (nee Cossar),
message posted in EdinPhoto guest book, January 25, 2012
Thank you to
James Patience who replied:
The Coghill Family
at 34 Jamaica Street
in the 1950s. I
don't remember a Banks family living in the
family I remember living there, who had a
dad on the trawlers, were the Coghills.
They lived at 28 Jamaica Street. The father was lost
when the trawler sank in the 1950s."
James Patience: message
posted in EdinPhoto guest book, January 25, 2012
wrote in the EdinPhoto Guestbook:
34 Jamaica Street
"My Mum's birth mother lived
at 34 Jamaica Street at the time of her
death in 1952. Her name was Grace
Hossack Cameron. She was unmarried.
Does anyone have any recollection of her
or could tell me about the place then .
Rachel Godden, Lanark,
: message posted in EdinPhoto guest book, October 22, 2012
Within a day
of posting her message in the guestbook, Rachel had received replies from
two people who had lived ad Jamaica Street - Dave Ferguson and Jim
Patience - but unfortunately neither remembersed a Grace Hossack Cameron.
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Danny Callaghan wrote:
Rosemary (Rossie) Carr
"When I went to St Mary’s York Lane
School from 1950 to 1957 one of our class mates -
Rosemary (Rossie) Carr - came from Jamaica Street.
She was the class Tom Girl. I
heard that she went on to become a very respected lawyer, so never
judge a book by the cover. Rossie is on the extreme right of this
Danny Callaghan: Falkirk, Sterlingshire,
Scotland: October 25, 2012
Gordon Small wrote:
Jamaica Lane and
"I had a garage in the late-1960s
sixties in Jamaica Lane. They were demolishing Jamaica Street
at that time.
There was great hoo ha over all the
copper and cables going missing."
January 30, 2014
Willingham, Cambridgeshire, England
Michelle Beasley wrote:
Margaret Mary Ross
"I have no family
left now, but have been trying to find out more about my family who
grew up in Edinburgh.
became excited when I saw photos of people who lived in Jamaica
Street and might possibly have known my family. They lived
almost next door to them."
Margaret Mary Ross, lived at 27 Jamaica Street with her sister,
Elizabeth (married name McGarry), and their father, John Ross, in the 1940s.
My grandfather was on
war service in the Royal Navy, docked in Leith, when he met my
grandmother. They met at a local dance hall and married
in Edinburgh in 1944.
anybody remember them? If so, I'd love to hear from them."
near Willingham, Cambridgeshire, England: April 16, 2014 (2 emails)
Reply to Michelle
you'd like to send reply to Michelle,
please email me, then I'll pass on her email address to you.
Stubbs, Edinburgh: April 20, 2014