Primrose Street





Don Gray

Dorset, England

Thank you to Don Gray, now living in Dorset, England, who wrote:

Home and School

"I was born and lived in Primrose Street in Leith and attended the Leith Academy primary school and Lochend Road school, although my schooling was disrupted by having to follow my dad around.  He was in the army.

Return to Edinburgh

"I now live in Dorset, and have made a couple trips back to Leith. I was shocked and disappointed to find that:

-  Lochend Road school building has been demolished .

the tenements in Primrose St have also been demolished"


"Does anyone know:

if the old residents were all rehoused in a specific area?

- where I might find images of Primrose Street from the 1940s era?

Any advice would be so appreciated."

Don Gray, Dorset, England:  September 16, 2010

Reply to Don

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

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  September 16, 2010




Andrew Gordon

Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Andrew Gordon who wrote:

Home and Shops

"I was interested to read Don Gray's memories of Primrose Street.  I lived at No.8 on the first floor and can remember:

-  the hardware shop on the corner.

-  the cobblers.

-  the newsagent.

-  Kennedy's, the grocery and fruit shop."


"I too went to Leith Academy Primary School and later Norton Park Secondary School."

Burns Street

"There are lots of other places in the area.

Burns Street, as I remember, had lots of garage lockups  -  and was there a scrap yard there?

Happy days"

Andrew Gordon, Borders, Scotland:  October 21, 2012




Andrew Gordon

Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Andrew Gordon for writing again, with more memories of Primrose Street, Leith

Andrew wrote:

Our Street


"One thing I do remember was that Primrose Street was cobbled, probably one of the last cobbled streets around.


"Across the road to the left and round the corner from our flat was Smith's the bakers and behind that into Primrose Street was the actual bakery."


"Next to that and set back a bit was a cottage that was derelict I cannot say who lived in it or owned it.  It was always a bit of a mystery."

Fruit + Veg Cart

"Further down the street on our side was a lane with stables, but I think only one horse kept there.  It belonged to a man who had a fruit and veg cart cart that he hitched to the horse."

Bleach Barrow

"The other local worthy was the man who delivered the bleach in a small barrow.  He had one arm and had a storage area in this lane."

Engineering Works

"Next to the lane was a small engineering works, possibly called Primrose or Leith Engineering.  I cannot comment on what was further down the street.  I cannot recall ever going further down the street than the Engineering Works."


"Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of the street.  I hope somebody else might have one that they can send in to the site.

My Dad had a Kodak Box Brownie camera, but I don't recall him ever using it."

Andrew Gordon, Borders, Scotland:  October 29, 2012

Reply to Andrew Gordon?

If you know of any old photos of Primrose Street, or if you'd like to send any other message to Andrew Gordon, please email me to let me know, then I'll  pass on his email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  October 30, 2012




Peter Sellar

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Peter Sellar who wrote:

43 Primrose Street

"I was born in Primrose Street in 1927. We lived at No.43 and I attended Lochend Road school.

Our back room window overlooked Burns Street where therewere more flats and a yard where we took our accumulator to be charged."

Recent Visit

"I had a walk along Primrose Street, on a trip home to Leith and, of course, found that all the old flats had been demolished.  I couldn't relate to the street now as new flats have been built along one side of the street only.

'Johnny aw thing'

"There was a small 'Johnny aw thing'. mid way along the street that sold odds and ends where mum sent me to buy a gas mantle.  That was the only light we had in our flat  and when the mantle burst it wouldn't shed the light properly.  I had to carry it home with great care because mantles were very flimsy.  I think they used to  cost a penny each."


"There used to also be a chippy on the brae going down to Leith links at the end of the street.  The owner used to skim little pieces of fried batter off the fryer and put them into a little newspaper poke and give them to the kids."

At the Ends of our Street

"At the end of our street, near Lochend Road, there was a large house with iron railings round it.  The family had an autistic child who played in the yard and the 'keelies' taunted the child as they passed."

At the other end was a grocer shop who let the kids  take the old potato sacks which we made into tents and played 'Cowboys and Indians' near the Giants' Brae.  When I got home I got heck for smelling so bad."


"Mum took the weekly wash down to the steamie in the Links in a pram.  While she was washing the clothes in the boilers I played on the swings, see-saw or the merry-go-round outside until she was finished, then we'd walk home with the washing which had been put through the mangle but was still wet.

When we got home mum would hang the wet clothes on a line outside the window, or if it was raining the clothes were hung from a pulley that dropped down from the ceiling in the kitchen. Guess I could go on and on but I better stop so hope this wee bit of nostalgia will be read by the younger folks."

Peter Sellar, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada:  20 June 2013



Leith Photos

Edinburgh Recollections