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Recollections

in and around

Leith Walk

 

Recollections

1.

Alan Sinclair
British Columbia, Canada

Trace Horses

2.

George T Smith
British Columbia, Canada

Trace Horses

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

3.

Alfred Bouch
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England

Bell Man

4.

M Rigg
Edinburgh

Halloween

Bonfire Night

5.

Mary (Mari) Johnson
Jamestown, California, USA

Parade and Concerts

   -  Clydesdale Parade

   -  Carts

   -  Memory Lane

6.

Betty Wallace (née Baxter)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

RS McColl

7.

Kath White (née O'Donnell)
Thetford, Norfolk, England

Hugh O'Donnell

8.

Pearl Koch (née McNicol)
British Columbia, Canada

Bell Man and Lamp Lighter

 Rag& Bone Man

School

9.

John Elliot
Leicester, Leicestershire, England

Steam Lorries

10.

David Mitchell
Portobello, Edinburgh

Bell Man

11.

Bill Hall
Musselburgh, East Lothian

Bell Man

12.

Yvonne Cain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Shops - near Manderston Street

13.

Yvonne Cain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Montgomery Street Area

-  Shops

-  Montgomery Street Park

-  West Montgomery Place

14.

John Stevenson
Trinity, Edinburgh

Trace Horses

15.

Kenneth Williamson
Silverknowes, Edinburgh

Tramways Bowling Club

16.

Malcolm J B Finlayson
Arbroath, Angus, Scotland

Record Shop

1.

Alan Sinclair

British Columbia, Canada

Alan Sinclair wrote:

Trace Horses

"I have vague memories of trace horses, being hitched up in front of the horses pulling the  brewers' wagons up Leith Walk.

At the top of the Walk, they were unhitched, and the young lads looking after the trace horses would ride them, bare-back, to the Fit o' the Walk.

As the horses (Clydesdales) were colour-blind, they did not respect traffic lights, so motorists had to give way.

 I would like to hear from anyone who remember this."

Alan Sinclair, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada:  September 29, 2007

 

2.

George T Smith

British Columbia, Canada

George T Smith wrote:

Trace Horses

"While I have no personal recollection of the trace horses, I  do remember that the east side of 'The Walk' had smooth stone slabs  let into the cobbles to provide an easier pull for horse drawn  traffic coming up hill from Leith.

I do not think that the other side  of the road surface was similarly laid out but  I think other steep cobbled streets had similar 'rails' let into them."

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:  November 13, 2007

Update

Bob Henderson wrote:

"There were the same tracks on the up-going side of Liberton Brae. These disappeared after the trams stopped and the road was tarmacked."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh April 21, 2009

 

 

3.

Alfred Bouch

Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England

Question

Alfred Bouch wrote:

The Bell Man

"I was brought up in Edinburgh  and I wonder if anyone knows anything about the 'Bell Man' who used to walk around Leith Walk, at least, with a can of Brasso and some rags, polishing the brass stair door bell pulls and name plates, all for, I think, a sixpence a fortnight.

This was in the 1950s and into the 1960s.   He must have collected a lot of tanners in his time, but I have never seen or heard anything about him, not even on this site.  Can any of your correspondents shed some light on him?"

Alfred Bouch, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England:  April 6, 2008

If you know anything about the 'Bell Man', please email me, then I'll pass on your message to Alfred Bouch.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  April 6, 2008

Thank you to Pearl Koch (née McNicol):  See recollections 8' below.

 

4.

GM Rigg

Edinburgh

Thank you to GM Rigg for posting a message in the Edinphoto guest book.

GM Rigg wrote:

Halloween

"I remember:

toffee apples

-  dooking for apples

-  treacle scones on a string hanging from the pooley

-  other high jinks at Halloween."

Bonfire Night

"On Guy Fowkes' or bonfire night, someone always had on old settee that we could rip apart, looking for loose coins inside,  before burning it on the bonfire.

Our bonfire was always erected opposite the GPO sorting office, on the site of the demolished store house, once used by Grants of The Bridges."

GM Rigg, Edinburgh:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  April 15, 2009

 

5.

Mary (Mari) Johnson

Jamestown, Foothills of California, USA

Thank you to Mary Johnson who wrote:

Parade and Contest

Clydesdale Parade

"I remember the Clydesdale Parade, once a year.  It went down Albert Street and turned left onto Leith Walk.

The horses would come from the stables with decorations on, such as ribbons and bows, and their manes in pigtails.  They always looked splendid. 

These horses were entering a contest.  All the harnesses and bridles were shining, and sometimes the manes and hoofs were braided and ribboned."

Carts

"I remember so many carts being driven with the drivers standing up on the carts, very proud of their entries.

If memory serves me correctly, these horses and their carts carried the milk from the coop."

Memory Lane

"My grandfather was the night watchman.  He sat in the box in the middle of the street.

I think it would be very interesting to have more trips down memory lane, as those are very much part of history."

Mary Johnson, Jamestown, Foothills of California, USA:  November 22 + 23, 2009

 

6.

Betty Wallace (née Baxter)

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Betty Wallace (née Baxter) who wrote:

RS McColl

"I lived at 11 Albert Place, Leith Walk, and I recall the little RS McColl sweetie shop, right across from the Shrubhill tram depot.

I could go in there after school and buy a penny worth of sweeties. The lady would weigh them on little scales and put them in a little white paper bag."

Betty Wallace (née Baxter), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada:  January 18, 2010

 

7.

Kath Wyatt (née O'Donnell)

Thetford, Norfolk, England

Kath Wyatt wrote:

Hugh O'Donnell

"I'm hoping that someone will remember my grandfather, Hugh O'Donnell.  He lived at 334, Leith Walk from about 1910 till he died in 1934.

He worked at the docks and was married to Elizabeth.  He had four children:

-  Mary (b.1904)

-  Hugh (19006, d.1910)

-  George (b.1908, d.1910

-  Thomas (b.1912)

Thomas was my father.  I have no information on any of the family as my dad came to England after his parents died and settled in Paddington, London.

All I know about the family in Edinburgh is their address in Leith Walk and the details above.  So if anybody could tell me what school Mary and Thomas went to, or has any photos of any of the above, I would be truly grateful."

Kate Wyatt, née O'Donnell, Thetford, Norfolk, England:  May 3, 2010

Reply to Kath

If you'd like to send a reply to Kath, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to her.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  May 3, 2010

8.

Pearl Koch (née McNicol)

Thank you to Pearl Koch who wrote in response to Alfred Bouch's comments in 3 above.

Bell Man and Lamp Lighter

"I remember the 'bell man' in Leith Walk in the mid-1950s polishing the Brass plates on the doors as well as the bells.  There was also the man who lit the gas lamps,  I think they were related.

We emigrated to Oz in 1958.  We came back to Leith Walk in 1962/63 for a holiday.  The 'Bell Man' was still working there, but unfortunately the lamp-lighter was no longer lighting the lamps.

My Granny lived in 78 Leith Walk, which fortunately has been Heritage Listed.  The 'Bell Man' had a cuppa in her wee flat on many occasions – the cost of the cuppa?  - of course, it was a polish up.

My Mum and Granny are both gone now, so unfortunately I can’t ask them about him.  But I'll ask my Dad if he remembers the 'Bell Man'.  Dad may, as he was the Meter Reader."

Rag & Bone Man

"I also remember the rag and bone man, and trying to get money for trash in 1962/63."

School

"I attended Dr Bell’s public School  in 1956/57.   On our return to Leith Walk, my sister and I were attending Dr Bell’s when it was renamed 'Bonnington Annex'."

Pearl Koch (née McNicol):  November 15, 2010.

Thank you Pearl.  I've passed on your message to Alfred Bouch

Recollections

9.

John Elliot

Leicester, Leicestershire, England

Thank you to John Elliot who wrote

Steam Lorries

"I remember, well, the steam lorries (from the brewery?) chugging up Leith Walk when I was about three.

We lived in a fourth-floor flat on Leopold Terrace, at the corner with London Road, and I could just glimpsed them from my bedroom window.

One morning, my mother popped out to the shop after leaving me harnessed to my bed with a large safety pin and the window open. She returned to find me standing on the parapet with a crowd, including police and fire brigade below!

I only wanted to get a better look at the steam lorries on Leith Walk.  It seemed quite reasonable to me !!!

Finding your website brings it all back"

John Elliot, Leicester, Leicestershire, England:  November 22, 2010

 Recollections

10.

David Mitchell

Portobello, Edinburgh

Thank you to David Mitchell who for following up the comments in 'Recollections 8' above with more memories of the 'Bell Man'.

David wrote:

Bell Man

"I remember the Bell Man working in McDonald Road in the 1950s and 1960s.  As a toddler, I used to shadow his progress down the street  from my pedal car as he cleaned the brass bell pulls and door handles of his customers

He always wore denim blue overalls and carried his cloths and Brasso in a tin can under his arm, his hand on that side didn’t seem to operate.

He was a friendly chap and at the end of the street (or as far down it as I was allowed by my mother to go) he would polish the chrome radiator on the front of my car."

David Mitchell, Portobello, Edinburgh:  December 5, 2010

 Recollections

11.

Bill Hall

Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Bill Hall who wrote:

Bell Man

"The 'Bell Man' who cleaned brass bells and name plates used to come to us in Easter Road around the 1950s and 1960s.

His name was Willie.  I can't remember his last name.  He had a disability, possibly as the result of polio.  He was a shy, quiet and studious man.

Willie married later in life and lived in Williamfield Square opposite the Police Station in Portobello.  His hobby was Classical and Church musicI may be wrong, but I think he played the organ in a church in Portobello"

Bill Hall, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland:  December 16, 2010

 

Recollections

12.

Yvonne Cain

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

After reading Frank Ferri's memories of Benny's shoe shop in Lothian Road, Yvonne Cain wrote:

Manderston Street Area

Shops

"I can remember a shoe shop on the first street on the right off Manderston Street, from the Leith Walk end of the street.

I also remember a cake shop in the same street from the time when I  worked in the hairdresser in Manderston Street."

Yvonne Cain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:  July 2, 2012

 

Recollections

13.

Yvonne Cain

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Yvonne Cain for writing again, after seeing this photo of the re-painted old police box at the corner of the Montgomery Street Park, at the junction of Montgomery Street and East Montgomery Place.

    Police Box on the corner of Montgomery Street and East Montgomery Place ©

Yvonne wrote about the area::

Montgomery Street Area

Shops

"I remember two shops on the corner of Elgin Street or Terrace:

-  One was on was a paper shop where I used to get Dad's paper.  I think he used to sell bread rolls as well.

-  The other was run by a lady.  She sold everything in that shop.  She came every day left late.  She walked to Easter Road to get a bus, but I don't know where she lived."

Montgomery Street Park

"I remember cutting my finger on a piece of wire while in the park a couple of friends who lived in Elgin Street - Billy Brown and Suzanne.  I wonder where they are now."

West Montgomery Place

"I remember the block of flats in West Montgomery Place, across the road from the police box.  A few 'ladies of the night' lived there.  They could be seen at the brick wall near our garage."

Yvonne Cain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:  August 7, 2012

 

Recollections

14.

John  Stevenson

Trinity, Edinburgh

Thank you John Stevenson for telling me about transport up and down Leith Walk in the days of horse-drawn transport.

John told me:

Trace Horses

"Additional horses were kept beside Leith Walk at Pilrig to assist  on the steeper part of the road, the stretch between Pilrig and Edinburgh.

One of these horses was attached as a trace horse to a heavy load requiring it  to assist on hauling the load up the hill to Edinburgh.

The horse would return to Pilrig attached to the back of a different heavy load.  On this return journey, it would act as a brake as the load proceeded down the hill."

John D Stevenson, Trinity, Edinburgh:  February 5, 2013

  

Recollections

15.

Kenneth Williamson

Silverknowes, Edinburgh

Thank you to Kenneth Williamson who told me:

Tramways Bowling Club

"Tramways Bowling Club was at Shrubhill.  When I played there, I was shocked to see that old enamel destination boards from Edinburgh cable cars had been used to mark the edge of the bowling green.

I told the people in charge that they should take them out of the ground and store them somewhere where they would not deteriorate."

Kenneth Williamson, Silverknowes, Edinburgh:  May 23, 2013

  

Recollections

16.

Malcolm J B Finlayson

Arbroath, Angus, Scotland

Thank you to Malcolm J B Finlayson who wrote:

Record Shop

"I remember a record shop situated on the east side of Leith Walk opposite the junction with McDonald Road.

My paternal grandmother lived in McDonald Road.  On my six-monthly holidays in Edinburgh in the mid-1960s, I used to visit her and be given ten shillings which I would subsequently spend on records of artists from the early-1960s

IThe shop's name was 'The Record Exchange' had a bright yellow frontage and was a virtual goldmine of material.  I am uncertain of how long it existed, but it was certainly there from 1964 to 1967.

Over the years, I've retained all of the records that I bought.  This is just as well, as I feature some of the rarities on my radio programme, the music of the early 60s being my particular specialty."

Malcolm J B Finlayson, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland:  November 7, 2013

Hi Malcolm:

Second-Hand Record Shop in Edinburgh

There is still a shop on the east side of Leith Walk that sells second-hand records.  It also sells second-hand books.  The name of the shop shop is Elvis Shakespeare.

The address of the shop is 347 Leith Walk.  That's at Pilrig, a little further down the Walk than the shop that you mention.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 7, 2013

 

Recollections  -  More Pages

Contributors

 

 

Links to Other Pages

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 photogrpahers  -  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.  Details of who owns the copyright of photographs and other mateiral on this 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.   Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Frequently Asked Questions

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