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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

 

 

Recollections  -  Edinburgh Old Town

Tollcross

1.

Helen Lane
New South Wales, Australia

Sunday Dinners

School

2.

Isabella Vever
(
née Isobel Grieve)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Memories

3.

David Jackson Taylor
Sussex, England

Freer Street

School

Friends

Neighbours

Sunday School Trip

The Smells

Playground

4.

Alan Raeburn
Perth, Western Australia

Molly's Café

James H Walls

Plumbers

Plumbing Work

Buses

Record Shop

Memories

5.

Evan Reid
Perth, Western Australia

Molly's Café

James H Walls

Plumbers

Plumbing Work

Buses

Record Shop

Memories

6.

Robert Horn
Craiglockhart, Edinburgh

Molly's Café

7.

Terry Cox
Fairmilehead, Edinburgh

Question

8.

Ian Taylor
South Glasgow, Scotland

Yo-yos

9.

Margaret Cooper
London, England

Milk Deliveries

Christmas

Today

10.

Alastair Rankine
Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

Milk and Paper Deliveries

11.

Margaret Cooper
London, England

Paper Deliveries

Messages

12.

Terry Cox
Fairmilehead, Edinburgh

Meadowlea Dairy

Deliveries

Wages and Tips

Leaving Tollcross

Memories

13.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Accumulator Wireless

Gas Mantles

14

Margaret Williamson
(née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, Edinburgh

Accumulator Wireless

Gas Meter

Gas Mantles

15

Betty Hepburn
(née Boland)

Batteries

Gas Light

Pawn Shops

16.

Isabella Vever
(
née Isobel Grieve)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Memories

17.

Allan Dodds
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Memories

18.

Margaret Cooper
London, England

Coal Deliveries

Rag Man

19.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Asa Wass

20

Margaret Williamson
(née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, Edinburgh

My Family

41 Leven Street

21

Margaret Williamson
(née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, Edinburgh

Cigarettes

22.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Band of Hope

23

Margaret Williamson
(née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, Edinburgh

The Blue Sun

24.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Drumdyan Street

Pianos

Dolls' Furniture

25.

Rosari Laughlin
(
née Jeanette Rosari Durrell Nisbet
)

Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA

From 1952

Milk Deliveries

Police

26.

Isobel Grieve
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

High Riggs

27.

Margaret Cooper
London, England

Tollcross 'Wash Hoose'

Nursery

28.

Isabella Vever
(
née Isobel Grieve)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Shops & Entertainment

Friends

29.

David Taylor
Suffolk, England

Wash House Pram

30.

Tommy Hawkes
Canada

Early-1950s

-  School + Washhouse

-  Polton Street
Working Lads' House

31.

Tommy Robertson
Tollcross, Edinburgh

Record Shops

-  Brougham Street

-  Other Record Shops

32.

Sandra Allison

Freer Street

33.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)
Moline, Illinois, USA

Leven Street

-  Our Back Green

-  Return Visit, 1970

34.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)
Moline, Illinois, USA

Leven Street

-  Our Home

-  Sunday Outings

35.

Lorraine Galea

Clifton Rooms

35.

Ron Dingwall

Clifton Rooms

36.

Lisa Kelly

The Valdor Gang

36.

Lisa Kelly

The Valdor Gang

36.

Lisa Kelly

The Valdor Gang

39.

Graeme Hendry
Edinburgh

Drumdryan Street Kids

-  Family History

-  Old Postcard

-  Restoration

Recollections

1.

Helen Lane

New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Helen Lane, now living in NSW, Australia, who wrote:

Sunday Dinners

"Memories of my childhood in Edinburgh are still vivid.  I shed many tears on leaving in 1956, not just because I was leaving Edinburgh but because I was leaving my beloved grandmother Grace Wagstaff, who lived in South Oxford Street.

My parents, Morton & Dolly, along with my brother, used to walk from Home Street through the Meadows every Sunday to have dinner with grandmother Grace, Aunt Helen and Uncle Charlie. The menu never varied - steak and kidney pie and afterwards, apple pie."

School

"I attended Tollcross School.  My first teacher was Miss McLeod, who emigrated to Canada about 1954.  I went 'home' to Edinburgh in 1983 and again in 1991. I'm due another visit, if only I could persuade my husband to come with me."

Helen Lane, NSW, Australia:  Message left in Guest Book:  March 4, 2008

 

Recollections

2.

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve)

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Isabellal Vever (née Isobel Grieve) who wrote:

Memories

"Hi, I'd like to thank all the people who have sent  memories to your pages.

I was brought up in No 60, High Riggs and went to Tollcross School.   I  have many fond memories of that time.  When I want a little trip down memory lane I go to your pages."

I now live in Brisbane Australia and have done for the past 35 years."

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia:  May 28, 2008

 

 Recollections

3.

David Jackson Taylor

Suffolk, England

Thank you to David Jackson Taylor for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

David wrote:

Freer Street

"This site has given me a chance to show my children what life was like in Edinburgh in the 1940s and 1950s.

From 1944 until 1951, I lived at 10 Freer Street, ground floor flat, with:

-  my mother, Rose née Jackson

-  my father Charles

-  my grandad, Charles

-  my brother George.

There used to be a Mission Hall at the bottom of Freer Street, where I learnt to play chess at the age of five or six."

School

"I went to Tollcross School in 1949.

My first teacher was Miss Mcleod.

Later, I remember Miss Burns(?)  She liked to give the strap."

Friends

"Friends I remember were:

-  George Brown who lived next door to the Palais

-  Owen Streeter who lived on the terraces down Fountainbridge overlooking Asi Wassi's

-  Tom Mercer who lived I think Polwarth Gdns

-   and Billie Thompson who emigrated to New Zealand

The girls were:

-   Ann Barlow

-   Margaret Wilson,

-  Sheila Grant (or Gray?)"

Neighbours

"Some of the neighbours in no 10 were the Brysons and the Myles.  Jimmy Myles was a witness at my mother's wedding in 1942,

I think my mother lived at no 3 Freer St before the marriage, with her parents David and Rose Jackson who moved to Ferry Road Grove."

Sunday School Trip

"I remember going on a trip to Burntisland courtesy of the Sunday School."

The Smells

"What I most remember was the smells, all mixed into one:

-  the Rubber Mill.

-  the Brewery.

-  Mackay's sweetie factory.

-  soot.

Yet, when i visited my grandparents over at Ferry Road Grove, the smell was of the countryside.  I saw my first cow in the fields, just off Ferry Road."

Playground

"My playground included:

-  the canal head.

-  the foot of the castle - at the St Cuthberts end of Princes Street Gardens.

-  sneaking around the tram depot at the side the school

-  the foothills of Arthur's Seat."

David Jackson Taylor:  Suffolk, England.
  Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  March 24, 2010

Message to David

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

Peter Stubbs:  March 27, 2010

 

Recollections

4.

Alan Raeburn

Perth, Western Australia,  Australia

Alan Raeburn was born in High Riggs, Tollcross, then moved to West Pilton very early in life.

Alan wrote

Molly's Café

"Does anyone remember a little Café in Tollcross called Molly's? Molly made an excellent sausage on a roll.

She used to be very strict with anyone who caused trouble.  There was a juke box, and she always had the latest records to play.  I used to buy the ones that were replaced.

When i got married in 1969, I took the wife to meet Molly and she said, 'You have a good one there, son.  Keep a hold of her.' and I have.

Molly was a real talker and would give advice, when asked."

James H Walls  -  Plumbers

"When I left school, I started work as an apprentice plumber with James H. Walls, based at 6a Brougham Place, the last shop before The Meadows.

There were:

-  Charlie

-  his son, Jimmy, who died in his 30s

-  Jock Walls, who spent a lot of years in USA

-  Freddie Walls, who used to drive the company van

I remember Charlie always had a Vauxhall car.  He used to trade it in for the new model every year, and always a big car -  not for him a Viva or something small."

Plumbing Work

As an apprentice plumber, I worked in Goldbergs and some of the High Riggs houses - even the house that I was born in!  I worked all over Tollcross and at the King's Theatre.

I remember having to carry a ladder, with the plumber, to the King's and go round the right side of it, then climb all the way up to replace a piece of cast iron bend from the toilet at the top - no scaffolding then, as it was too expensive to hire.  Sixty feet up, it was 'never again!' for me.

I worked up through Marchmont (and met the wee man, Ronnie Corbett) and all over Newington and down through Morrison St to Dalry and Gorgie.

I used to have a pint at the Garrick Bar and play darts for pints.  I never got drunk, 'cause i never won many games."

Buses

"To be truthful about it, I did not like the plumbing game, so as soon as I could, after 5 years apprenticeship and 2 years journeyman, I went on the buses.  It was the best thing I ever did.  There was not a lot of money in it but I enjoyed it and that's what counts.

Record Shop

"Does anyone remember a shop on Brougham Place/Street that used to sell second-hand 45s, where you could sometimes trade-in records that  you had bought the previous week for different ones?

I cant remember the name of the shop, but it was an older guy who ran it and he was OK."

Record Shops  -  Reply

Please see Tommy Robertson's messages on this Records & Edinburgh Music Shops page.

Record Sleeves  -  Edinburgh Record Shops  -  Backtrack, 17 Backtrack, Brougham Street ©

Tommy owns Backtrack Music & Games shop at 17 Brougham Street, Tollcross.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  6 September 2013

 

Memories

"Isn't it amazing, when writing all this down, how the memories come flooding back?  Enough for now.  My brain hurts!"

Alan Raeburn, Perth, Western Australia, Australia:  April 24, 2010

 

Recollections

5.

Evan Reid

Ayrshire, Scotland

Thank you to Evan Reid who replied:

Record Shop

"In answer to Alan Raeburn's question about the record shop at Tollcross, I think it was called 'The Record Exchange'. 

Although I cannot be a 100% certain on the name, I certainly do remember the shop well.  I was a fairly regular customer and often popped in on my way home to Marchmont Road."

Evan Reid, Ayrshire, Scotland:  April 24, 2010

 

Recollections

6.

Robert Horn

Thank you to Robert Horn who replied to Alan Raeburn's comments about Molly's Café (4 above).

Robert wrote

Molly's Café

"Alan:  I do indeed remember Molly's Café.  I was brought up in Spittal Street and used to go there in the evenings with guys like:

-  Alan King

-  Billy Brady

-  Joe Marano.

We would sit for ages making our coke last, hoping that someone would put money in the juke box.  I'm talking early 1960s :

-  Buddy Holly

-  Everly Brothers.

 I can still picture Molly.  She was strict but it was a good place to be.  My mum came from the top stair High Riggs.  When you were sitting in the Garrick I might have been in the Clan Alpine across the road."

Robert Horn, Craiglockhart, Edinburgh:  October 29, 2010

 

 Recollections

7.

Terry Cox

Fairmilehead, Edinburgh

Terry Cox wrote:

Question

Mystery Photographer

The Meadows

"I used to play football in the Meadows, during the 1960s. There was man who used to organise the boys into teams, and generally spectate, and shout advice and encouragement.  I never knew him other than as 'Celtic', 'cos he always wore a Celtic scarf."

Tollcross

"He also used to stooge about Tollcross with a camera, and take photographs of the boys that he knew.  (The poor guy would probably be labelled as a paedophile these days.)

He would then take a note of your name and address, and a few weeks/months later would turn up at your door, and try to sell the photographs to your Mum.

I still have a couple of great photos that he took of me outside the ABC Cinema in Lothian Road, when I was about 9 or 10, still in short trousers.  I last saw him about 1970 walking up over the Links, carrying a carpet, and had a few words with him.

I was carrying a case of beer, on the way to a party, and offered him a can, but he said he never drank.  I don't think he was from around Tollcross.  Sometimes you wouldn't see him for weeks.

Does anyone know his name, who he was, and where he came from?"

Terry Cox, Fairmilehead, Edinburgh:  January 12, 2011

 

Recollections

8.

Ian Taylor

South Glasgow, Scotland

Thank you to Ian Taylor who wrote:

Yo-Yos

"I entered a competition in Blyths store in Earl Grey Street, in the early 1950s, coming second with 'walking the dog' and 'loop the loop'.

I won a pair of roller skates, becoming quite proficient on them in due course.

Recently tried to interest my young grand-children in the art of yo-yo, bur the call of electronic games was too loud."

Ian Taylor, South Glasgow, Scotland:  June 7, 2011

For more memories of yo-yos, please see Brian Gourlay's comments here:

Cinemas  -  Recollections 52

 

Recollections

9.

Margaret Cooper

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Thank you to Margaret Cooper who wrote:

Milk Deliveries

"When I was twelve years old, back in 1948, I got a job delivering milk. I had plagued Mr White who owned the dairy in Drumdryan Street where i grew up, for ages for a job as he had a few kids who worked for him delivering milk, but the rule was that you had to be twelve.

The job paid 7/6 a week, but it was seven days a week.  I loved it.  I had about twelve tenements to delivered to. The crates of milk were in a sort of wooden trolley with four wheels, about as long as a pram.

Off I would go, round Brougham Street, then round to Tarvit Street, then back round to Drumdryan Street.

There was a boy who worked for the Dumfriesshire Dairy who would sometime take my top flats.  I don't know if he was our now famous Mr Connery.  Maybe."

Christmas

"Christmas was extra nice.  Customers would leave money in their empty bottles - a shilling or two bob, but the ultimate was a half crown.

My first Christmas, I collected enough to treat my Mum to the pictures.  I took her to the Blue Halls and bought her an ice cream."

Today

"I suppose little jobs like that would be frowned on nowadays;  kids wouldn't do them anyway.  But, back then, they were a life-saver as it was quite hard-going after the war."

Margaret Cooper, London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  September 30, 2011

Recollections

10.

Alastair Rankine

Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Alastair Rankine for replying to Margaret's comments, above.

Alastair wrote:

Milk and Paper Deliveries

"Lucky you Margaret!  I was 12 that year and I had a job delivering milk for the Ashley dairy.  My route was Hermand Terrace, Stewart Terrace, Wardlaw Terrace, but I only got five shillings.

You are correct.  Kids wouldn't do it these days.

I also delivered papers at night. It was great fun,  and a nice earner."

Alastair Rankine, Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia:
Reply posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  October 3, 2011

Recollections

11.

Margaret Cooper

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Margaret Cooper replied to Alastair, above:

Paper Deliveries

"Hi Alistair:   I did deliver papers later on but the round was a bit hefty and it was all the way up by the Meadows."

Messages

"Another another thing i did was knock on doors and ask people if they wanted any 'messages'.  They used to give me sixpence a go for the messages.

Do you remember old people used to get free tobacco?  I used to collect it for them.  I wouldn't be able to do that nowadays."

Margaret Cooper, London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  September 30, 2011

 

 Recollections

12.

Terry Cox

Fairmilehead, Edinburgh

After reading Margaret Cooper's recollections (11 above), Terry Cox wrote:

Meadowlea Dairy

"I was interested to read Margaret Cooper's recollections of delivering the milk from the dairy in Drumdryan Street.  I think it was called the Meadowlea Dairy.

I worked there a lot later than Margaret, from 1965 to 1969. By that time it was owned and run by Mr Henderson, and the woman who worked there was called Mrs Robertson.

From the description, we were still using the same carts as Margaret - they were ancient, but very strong and reliable."

Deliveries

"I started delivering milk when I was 12, having delivered papers for Mary Campbell in Lauriston Place when I was 11, though you weren't supposed to work till you were 12.

The advantage of delivering milk was that you only went out once a day, but you had to deliver papers morning and afternoon."

Wages and Tips

"I started off on 12/6 a week, and finished on 15/- a week. You delivered milk every day of the year, except Christmas Day & New Year's Day, but you did an extra run out on the afternoon on Christmas Eve & Hogmanay to cover for that.

I was lucky.  From the day I started, I had the Lonsdale Terrace round, and the big advantage was the deliveries were all close together, so you could get round pretty quick. Also, Lonsdale Terrace was quite posh, so you got good tips at Christmas.

The last Christmas I was there (1968) I got over £40 in tips, which was a huge amount of money in those days, as well as about a dozen boxes of chocolates. The chocolates usually came after Christmas, so I assumed they were unwanted gifts. Sometimes they even had a few out of them, but that didn't matter - sweeties were sweeties!

Leaving Tollcross

"Alas, we were rehoused in 1969, as they were going to knock our tenement down (at the foot of Lauriston Place - it wasn't actually demolished till 1971) and we moved out to Slateford, and that was the end of the milk round.

Strangely enough, even though I live at Fairmilehead, I quite often go for a drink in Cloister's in Brougham Street, and you can see the old dairy from the window, though it's not been a dairy for many years."

Memories

"Happy days!  But then you remember having to get up at 6 in the morning, on a freezing cold winter's day, and they're not so happy!  Selective memory is a wonderful thing."

Terry Cox, Fairmilehead, Edinburgh:  January 12, 2011

 

Recollections

13.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Here is a message that Margaret Cooper left in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Margaret wrote:

Accumulator Wireless

"Who remembers the old accumulator wirelesses with big ugly square batteries which you had to take to the electric shop to be charged?   They were quite dangerous things, filled with acid.

The batteries always ran out on a Sunday night when Radio Luxembourg was playing 'Top 20'.

Later on, we got a Vidor portable batteries which was great, but times were hard.  The wireless spent its weekdays in McLintock's pawn shop along Earl Grey Street, Tollcross, and we would get it out for Saturdays and Sundays."

Gas Mantles

"Also, does anyone remember the old gas mantles.  I remember there still being quite a few of houses in Drumdryan Street at Tollcross struggling with this form of light.

These mantles were so fragile, the slightest movement would shatter them. Gas mantles were also was used to light the stairs in the tenements.

Ah, the good old days!  I'm surprised we didn't all wear glasses.

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book: February 6, 2012

Recollections

14.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Thank you to Margaret Williamson (née Hay)  for replying to Margaret Cooper's messages above, posted in the EdinPhoto guestbook earlier today.

Margaret Williamson wrote:

Accumulator Wireless

"Aye Margaret!  I remember going tae get my granny's batteries for the wireless ,and her sayin':

'Mind ye dinnae burn yersel', hen'.

I had to go from Glengyle Terrace to the High Riggs at Tollcross  where there was a wee shop, but  I managed it ok."

Gas Meter

"We had a gas meter.  I remember it was one of the penny ones, then it went to a shilling.  We always kept an extra shilling on the shelf, and my mum would say:

'Dinnae anyone touch this, or yer faither will skelp ye.''

Aye these were the days!"

Gas Mantles

"We lived next door to the Old Toll pub.  We used to have gas mantels, and one to light the pend and stair."

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA
Reply posted to a message in EdinPhoto guestbook,  February 6, 2012

Recollections

15.

Betty Hepburn (née Boland)

Waikanae, Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

Thank you to Betty Hepburn  for continuing the discussion started by  Margaret Cooper and Margaret Williamson in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Replying to the two Margarets, Betty Hepburn wrote:

Batteries and Snuff Box

"The two yea's bring lots memories rolling back.

I lived in Dundee Place, and remember chumming her along Fountainbridge (opp Freer Street ) to refill the old the glass batteries and getting her mothers Snuff box refilled."

Gas Light

"We had gas light as well, then we went 'all posh' and moved to to electric light.  We had gas lights at the street stair entry and in the stair.  They  used to keep blowin' oot on windy nights, then it would be pitch black in the stair."

Pawn Shops

"I remember the pawn shop at the top of West Port, and one just along from the Palladium (?) at Fountainbridge."

Betty Hepburn (née Boland), Waikanae, Kapiti Coast, New Zealand
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook,  February 7, 2012

 

Recollections

16.

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve)

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Isobel Vever (née Grieve) who wrote:

Home

"We lived 60 High Riggs.  There were 5 of us in room and kitchen with a side toilet,  but they were very happy times.  They were tough, but happy."

Shops

"We lived 60 High Riggs.

I remember:

-  Bennet's Tobacconist in earl grey street.

-  Lugton the Bookie who gave us a penny every saturday.

-  Miss McKillop's shop in High Riggs

-  Saltman the Fruit Shop"

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  February 8, 2012

 

Recollections

17.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Allan Dodds wrote

Gas Light

"Margaret Cooper asks (in 'Recollections 13' above) if anyone remembers gas mantles.

Well, a pub opened up in Eyre Place, Edinburgh in the 1990s as  a modern recreation of a Victorian pub. The pub was called Smithie's and Mr Smith the owner was an architect.

He designed and had built a perfect replica of a nineteenth century pub, complete with gas lighting.  Mr Purves' Lighting Emporium in St Stephen Street supplied the gas fittings, including mantles, which one may still purchase today, if you manage to catch the shop open!

Smithie's pub is still there but now, regrettably, lacks the atmospheric illuminations chosen by its designer.

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  February 10, 2012

Mr Purves

I've taken photos of Mr Purves, standing outside his' shop (or 'Lighting Emporium') in St Stephen Street.  I'll try to find the time to add them to the EdinPhoto web site.

He also had an old Jowet Bradford van.  I've seen it around the town a few times in recent years, but I've never managed to photograph it!

Peter Stubbs:  February 10, 2012

 

Recollections

18.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting more of her memories on the EdinPhoto guestbook.  Margaret wrote::

Coal Deliveries

"We lived on the top floor in Drumdryan Street.  The poor coalman had to carry a hundredweight bag of coal up four flights of stairs to reach us, then he had to manipulate it through our door, where behind this door was an old tea chest and he would tip the coal into it.

We then became the unsuspecting victims of our cat who would use it as a toilet. Ugh. Ugh.

I wonder now what the working lives of those coalmen were. 

Rag Man

Does anyone remember the rag man who would give you a balloon for some rags, and if you got hold of some decent rags he would give you a goldfish in a wee glass bowl - no plastic bags in those days.

My greatest wish at those times was for a goldfish in a glass bowl. Later, we discovered it was more beneficial to take our rags along to Asa Wass' rag store, along Fountainbridge and get a few bob for them.

Asa Wass was also used from time to time by the Valdor Boys and the Craigmillar Gang to settle scores.  It was a bit High Noonish, but they all lived to tell the tae."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  February 15, 2012

 

Recollections

19.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

I asked Margaret if she could tell me a little more about the gangs that met at Asa Wass' yard at Fountainbridge.

Margaret replied

Asa Wass

"Asa Wass had a rag store at Fountainbridge.  His premises were used from time to time by the leaders of gangs, such as the Valdor Boys and either the Craigmillar or the Pilton lads, always on a Sunday as everything was closed then.

Asa Wass had an archway and they would have their disputes there,  away from where anyone could see them."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Messages posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  February 21, 2012

Recollections

20.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)  wrote:

My Family

"I was born in the High Riggs, Tollcross, Edinburgh.  My mum, Peggy, worked in Morningside Newsagents and, lived with my Auntie Aggie (née Hay) and Uncle Bill Clark,  He was a postman for that area.

My dad was Robert Hay,  They called him Bob .  He was in the Royal Navy, but came home when I was about three and a half, and our family got a house at 41 Leven Street with a kitchen, one large room and one small room.  The toilet was in the was easy access.  It was in the  passageway.

When Dad came home from the Navy, he worked at a hospital for children in Sciennes Road.  He was a boiler fireman, stoking coal in big boilers to keep the hospital warm.

My Gran was Bridget Thomson from the Shetland Isles  and my  Granddad was Martin Quinn, a big burley Irishman from Limerick.  They lived in 14A Glengyle Terrace, which was only about 3 minutes from our house."

41 Leven Street

"My first recollections of our house in Leven Street was being sat on a square table that had 4 chairs. There was a big, black lead fireplace with gas mantles on either side and two mice running by the fireside.

Then, there were big grey blankets being put up on the windows, and seeing as we had two bedrooms, Dad put blankets on those as well. 

Many years later, when my mum was telling me about her youth and going to St Mary's school with her friends, I brought up my memories of 41 Leven Street.  Her jaw opened and she said:  'Ah cannie believe ye kin remember awe that.'

I said, 'Aye Mum.  I can remember a lot of things.'  So, there we were, going on.  We went through a lot of tea that day.

Our place was above the Old Toll Bar and, boy, was my Dad happy?   He went doon fir a pint too often, he did."

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA:  March 3, 2012

Recollections

21.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Thank you to Margaret Williamson (née Hay)  for writing again.

Margaret wrote:

Cigarettes

"Does anyone remember the cigarettes from the 1950s?

There was Woodbine, the cheapest, then Players and Senior Service.  You could buy a packet of five cigs, or just one or two. My Dad used to send me doon the stairs to the tobacconist,  just to get two, once in a while, I'm glad to say.

The shops were next to us, so I only had to go past:

-  Mr Grant the grocer, one stair, then

-  Mrs Boothroyd, who sold milk, rolls  and other sundries

to get to the baccy store. We got our newspapers there as well.

It was still there when I went home in the 1970s, but I don't know about it now.  Some of the shops are gone.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA:  March 3, 2012

 

Recollections

22.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for adding another comment in the EdinPhoto guest book.

On the afternoon that Marion Wilson added her recollections of the Band of Hope at Granton Square to the web site, Margaret Cooper added this comment about the Band of Hope at Tollcross:

Band of Hope

"My sister and I used to go to a Band of Hope at Tollcross, just opposite the clock, back about 1950.

We im ashamed to say that we never went for the religious teaching;  it was for the bag of buns they would give out, and we always seemed to be hungry."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Messages posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  March 4, 2012

Recollections

23.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Margaret Williamson (née Hay) wrote:

The Blue Sun

"I saw that a couple of people, or so, had written about the blue sun *** .  I remember it well.

I was on the outside landing of our stair, and at first I thought we were going to have a storm, but the colour of the sky was different.

Mr Falconer, who owed the Old Toll Bar, brought me some thin cardboard glasses and told me not to look at the sun without them or I might lose my eyesight.  I thought he was daft, but I put them on anyway - ye did what ye were telt tae dae, back then! 

I was only 10 yrs old then, but the sun was beautiful."

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA:  March 26, 2012

The Blue Sun

***   Yes.   People have remembered the 'blue sun' in their recollections on these pages:

Fountainbridge recollections

Rose Street recollections

Broughton School recollections.

Recollections

24.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Margaret wrote

Drumdyan Street

"I grew up in Drumdryan Street, Tollcross.  Back in the 1940s, my best friend was a girl named Davina Anderson.  She lived in No.13.  I lived in No.7.  We both lived on the top floor.

Because of the way the tenements were built, we could knock on the wall to each other.  This was the signal that we wanted to talk, so then we would get a chair to stand on push open the skylight window and have a wee chat.  All we could see was each other's head."

Pianos

"Davina's Mum, Maggie, was my Mother's close friend.  Being a bit older than my Mum, she had two teenage daughters Nancy and Dolly.  I remember Dolly was always in demand as she could play the piano.

It's surprising how many of these little flats had piano, and how many people could play the piano.  Great sing-songs went on around the piano, but what I remember most was the hush that would fall when Dolly played the Warsaw Concerto.  It's funny how I always remembered the name of that.

No-one ever complained about the noise."

Dolls' Furniture

"I always remember that when Davina's Dad came home on leave , he would make us dolls' furniture out of empty match boxes."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  May 8, 2012

 

Recollections

25.

Rosari Laughlin

(née Jeanette Rosari Durrell Nisbet)

Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA

Rosari Laughlin wrote:

From 1952

"After attending All Saints' School, I went on to Boroughmuir school in 1952, the year the king died.  I married an American in 1958 and my first son was born in Simpsons Pavilion."

Milk Deliveries

"I delivered milk for Jimmy Henderson.  On those cold dark mornings it could be a bit scary as there was always the chance of the occasional pervert hiding in corners."

Police

"One morning, one of my friends came screaming out of a stair on Brougham Place where a man had exposed himself to her. We saw him emerge from the stair and turn onto Lauriston Place.

I sent her back to the dairy to tell Mr H to call the police while I followed him to where he lived.  Then I showed the police and they arrested him.  Mr Henderson treated us to a vantis drink and a Mars bar.  I don't think I would be so bold these days though."

Rosari Laughlin:  July 22, 2012

 

Recollections

26.

Isabella Vever
(
née Isobel Grieve)

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

After  reading Margaret Williamson's Recollections 20 above, Isobel Grieve, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, posted this message in the EdinPhoto Guestbook.

Isobel wrote:

High Riggs

"Margaret:  Did your Auntie Aggie and Uncle Bill Clark live at No.60 High Riggs?  If that's the case, I lived next door to them.

Isobel Grieve, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia:  July 25, 2012

Recollections

27.

Margaret Cooper

Tollcross, Edinburgh

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for adding a message to the EdinPhoto web site.

Margaret wrote:

Tollcross 'Wash Hoose'

"Does anyone remember the old 'wash hoose' at Tollcross? It was almost opposite Tollcross School.

During the week, you would see Mums with zinc baths full of the family wash off round to the 'wash hoose' .

I think it cost a shilling to get in.  For this, you got:

-   a tub

-  a wee boiler

-  a scrubbing board

-  all the hot water you needed.

I think the soap powder was Oxydol,  and the bars of scrubbing soap was Sunlight.  There were also hot pipes called 'horses' to dry your wash on."

Nursery

"There was a nursery up the stairs where the kids were put while their Mums did the washing.  My sister and I hated the nursery.  We were convinced that the woman in charge was a witch!"

Margaret Cooper, London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  September 30, 2011

 

Recollections

28.

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve)

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve) first added a comment to this page in Recollections 2, about four years ago.

Isabella has now posted this message in the EdinPhoto Guestbook:

Shops and Entertainment

"I lived at High Riggs, Tollcross until 1957 when I moved to Moat Drive at Slateford, Edinburgh.

At Tollcross, I remember:

-  Bennets the tobacconist

-  Murrays the baker.

-  Miss Mckillop's sweet shop, in High Riggs

-  The Blue Halls picture house."

Friends

"I played with:

-   Linda and Frances Taylor.

-  Catherine Cheyne

-  Sandra Denholm

If any of these people could contact me, it would be good for old times' sake."

Isabella Vever (née Isobel Grieve), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Message and email address left in EdinPhoto guestbook,  August18, 2012

 

Recollections

29.

David Taylor

Suffolk, England

A few replies have been posted in the EdinPhoto guest book in response to a question from Margaret Cooper, London, asked there on 17 August, 2012:

"Does anyone remember the old wash hoose at Tollcross?"

David Taylor wrote:

Wash House Pram

"Yes, my mother used to put me and the wash in the pram and walk up from Freer Street.  I also remember the steamies at school which we could see from the back playground  -  a noisy and carbolic hothouse.

Dave Taylor,  Suffolk England:  Message posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook August 20, 2012

 

Recollections

30.

Tommy Hawkes

Thank you to Tommy Hawkes who replied to Margaret Cooper's question:

"Does anyone remember the old wash hoose at Tollcross?"

Tommy replied:

Early-1950s

School and Washhouse"

"I was at Tollcross School in the early-1950s, right opposite the wash house (now West Tollcross condos - see Google Maps).

Like your own, my mother used the hot water of the wash-house, as hot water was not available in the cold water flats surrounding the area.

Ponton Street Working Lads' House

"Down the street is the former Ponton Street Working Lads' House where room and board was provided to indentured apprentices in trades.  They were paid less than tram-fare a week for the extra labour masquerading as a training program for poor youth.

My best chum at Tollcross Primary was named David Taylor, same as the previous correspondent. We played "tarry tig" during breaks.

Miss Elizabeth Scott was Headmistress at the school.  Does anyone recollect any of this?"

Tommy Hawkes, Canada:  Message posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook,  August 26, 2012

 

Recollections

31.

Tommy Robertson

Edinburgh

Tommy Robertson wrote:

Record Shops

Brougham Street Shop

    Record Sleeves  -  Edinburgh Record Shops  -  Backtrack, 17 Backtrack, Brougham Street ©

"Alan Raeburn in Recollections 4 above asks about a record shop in Brougham Street that sold 45s.

I believe there may have been another previously, but Backtracks Music & Games shop 17 Brougham Street opened on 30 October 1989 selling LP records, singles, tapes, etc.

Now, 23 years later, we have added everything musical from instruments to record players, digital TVs and ipods.  Here is an internet  page about the Backtracks shop.

Other Edinburgh Record Shops

 I also have record covers from:

-  A Bartholomew Gramophone Record Dealers, 21 Elm Row

Record Sleeves  -  Edinburgh Record Shops  -  Bartholemew, 21 Leith Walk ©

Nicolson, 1 Haddington Place photos attached

Record Sleeves  -  Edinburgh Record Shops  -   Nicolson, 1 Haddington Place ©

-  Jenners, Princes Street

 

Tommy Robertson, Tollcross, Edinburgh:  October 23, 2012

 

Recollections

32.

Sandra Allison

Sandra Allison wrote:

Freer Street

The Cardownie Family

"I wonder if anybody remembers the Cardownie family who lived in Freer Street in the late 1930s. 

My grandmother, Agnes Cardownie had 6 sons and 3 daughters.  One of her daughters was my mother Margaret (Peggy), who is now sadly deceased.

One of my uncles, Jim or Richard, worked on the co-op milk deliveries with Sean (Tam) Connery."

Sandra Allison:  December 10, 2012

 

Recollections

33.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Thank you to Margaret Williamson (née Hay) who wrote:

41 Leven Street

Buildings beside our Back Green

"Beside our house at 41 Leven Street we had a close with a pend and a back green.  It was between the Auld Toll Bar and  Mr McNaughton's wee plumber's shop, which later became a cafe.  In the pend were:

-  Mr Balderstone's wee place where they worked on tile fireplaces.

-  Mr McNaughton's a work building, ,just a wee one.

A bigger building where the pub used to store beer.  They would bring in the kegs in a couple of times a week.

Return Visit in 1970

"When we returned to have a look at our hoose in 1970, we found 3 empty kegs lying around, so I assume the pub still uses this building for there beer.

There just happened to be one keg beside the back green, so my sister posed for me there."

The Back Gren of 41 Leven Street, 1970 ©

There is now a big door on the front of the pend and you need a key to get in."

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA:  December 3 + 10, 2012

 

Recollections

34.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Thank you to Margaret Williamson (née Hay) who for following up her recollections in 33 above with more memories of living at 41 Leven Street.

Margret wrote:

41 Leven Street

Our Home

"There were also other tenants next door to us:

-  Mrs Kirk, her husband and daughter, and

-  Miss Anderson

Each of these flats had a room and a kitchen.

We were lucky, having a large kitchen, a big room and a wee room.  The toilets were in the hallway.

Sunday Outings

"On Sundays, we would go either to the Braid Hills or to Blackford Hill and feed the ducks.  I fell in the Blackford Pond while feedin' the ducks and came home soaking, so for a long time I wasn't allowed to go back there.

So then we went to Greyfriars' Kirkyard, where we wandered around or looked at the old grave stones and dates.

A couple of my chums' houses and windows faced the kirkyard but we never thought it scary.   We just had fun, then we went over to the museum and walked doon to the Cowgate and up the West Port to get some chips at Brattisani's.

Aye, these are good memories.

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA:  December 15, 2012

 

Recollections

35.

Lorraine Galea

Lorraine Galea wrote:

Clifton Rooms

Tollcross

"I'm searching for a photo of the Clifton Rooms at Tollcross, if possible, one taken in the 1960s.

My parents had their wedding reception there in 1963, but unfortunately they don't remember the name of the street.  Perhaps one of the people viewing the EdinPhoto site will be able to tell me the name of the street."

Lorraine Galea:  May 14, 2013

Reply to Lorraine?

If you'd like to contact Lorraine, please email me.  Then I'll pass on her email address to you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 16, 2013

Lorraine: 

You could try sending an email to:

-  Edinburgh Room at Edinburgh Central Library AND

-  RCAHMS

to see if either of them can tell you which street Clifton Rooms were in, or where you might be able to find a photo of the rooms.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 16, 2013

 

Recollections

35.

Reply

1.

Ron Dingwall

Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Ron Dingwall for sending a quick reply to the question that  Lorraine Galea asked in her Recollections 35 above.

Ron replied:

Clifton Rooms

Tollcross

"The Clifton Rooms belonged to St Cuthberts Co-operative and were in Keir Street, where the Art College is now - opposite the Eye Pavilion.

St Cuthberts Section of St Andrews Ambulance Association held their meetings there every Tuesday."

Ron Dingwall, Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland:  May 6, 2013.

 

Recollections

36.

Lisa Kelly

Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland

Thank you to Lisa who read the comments about the Valdor Gang in Recollections 8 and 19 above, and wrote:

The Valdor Gang

"I am the grand-daughter of one of the Valdor Gang, William, Billy or Wullie Kelly who lived in Fountainbridge.  He was one of eleven brothers and sisters.

I have been researching them and wondered if you had any photos linking them to their old haunts."

Lisa Kelly, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland:  August 2, 2013 (2 emails)

Reply to Lisa?

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos or information to pass on to Lisa. But perhaps somebody else might be able to help her.  If you think you might be able to help, please email me, then I'll pass on her email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 2, 2013

Recollections

37.

Lisa Kelly

Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland

Thank you to Lisa for telling me more about the Valdor Gang.

Lisa wrote:

The Valdor Gang

Gang Members

"All I have at the moment are a few names of the gang members:

William Kelly ,  my grandad, was more commonly known as KO Kelly.   He was a fantastic singer!  

William married Ada Coutts.  They moved to Portobello and had two sons. , then they moved to Uphall, West Lothian where he spent the last 20 years of his life.

James Kelly (William's younger brother) was also a part of the gang, and as wild as they come!

James moved to London and he remained a notorious crook all his days.

Owen Mcgreevy was always a name athat my grandad spoke of.  From what I can gather, he was top boy. "

The Palais

"My grandad always spoke about the Palais, which I believe was the gang's old haunt. They ran the place."

Cassette Tape

"Owen Mcgreevy made a cassette tape in later life and gave one to each of the gang.  In it, he spoke about the things they used to get up to."

Sean Connery

"Sean connery, 'big tam', wrote a book about being a Scot.  In it, he states that he beat up a couple of members of the Valdor Gang,

But, I remember being told different.  I was told that the gang used to go out to fight and he stayed with the ladies. Ha ha.

 There was also a song about them too."

Sean Connery

"A lady asked a question about the Kelly's and Beggs families, i think.  I wondered if it was my family she was asking about."

Any More Memories?

"I'm trying to gather as much info on them as i can in the hope of documenting it some way. Surely there is someone out there who knows something!  :)"

Lisa Kelly, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland:  August 3, 2013

Reply to Lisa?

 If you have any information or photos that you think might be of interest to Lisa, please email me, then I'll pass on her email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 3, 2013

 

Recollections

38.

Lisa Kelly

Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland

I'm pleased to see that Lisa seems to be making some progress in discovering more bout the Valdor Gang.

Lisa wrote:

The Valdor Gang

"I put a post on 'The Spirit Of Leithers', Facebook Page, to ask if anyone had any info on the Valdor Boys.  Here is what I discovered:

Facebook Page

'Spirit of Leithers'

Comments about the Valdor Gang

1.

"There was a real hard crew called "The Valdor Gang" from Reigo Street in the, Tollcross area of Edinburgh (now demolished). It was in the 1950s, possibly earlier. I think they carried open razors and had razor blades sown in to the peaks of their bunnets and into the lapels of their jackets.

This was so they could slash folks' with their bunnets in a battle or if someone went to grab their lapels to bridge them (nut, head-but, etc) then their hands would get slashed.  This of course could be folk myth as they were a feared lot."

Contributor:  ??

2.

"The Valdor Gang were ranked 'Top 3' of the most feared gangs in that area, on 'Famous Street Gangs of Edinburgh'."

Contributor:  ??

3.

"I knew them very well.  Ask ask these old men now if they knew me.  I was there with a real hard man from Leith in a bar in Lothian Road when my friend from Leith slapped two of them down in front of many people and they just stood there and done nothing because they did not have their gang with them.

That's when I lost any kind of respect for these 'pretend to be hard' men.  They were a mean and viscous gang who terrorized many people ... bullies of the first order."

Contributor:  Tam McLuskey, Shannon Lake,
Westbank, British Columbia, Canada

Lisa Kelly, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland:  August 3, 2013

 

Recollections

39.

Graeme Hendry

Edinburgh

Thank you to Graeme Hendry for sending me this photo and telling me about it.  I found the photo to be appealing and thought that it captured the period well:

 38 children (just one of them moving when the photo was taken)
-   one and a half adults, and a dog.

Drumdryan Street Kids

Around 1919

   

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Graeme R A Hendry, Edinburgh.

 

Graeme wrote:

Family HIstory

"Whilst tracing my family tree, together with a cousin who lives in the USA, I've been looking for old photos and postcards of Edinburgh, ships that our ancestors sailed in, etc. to show to her."

Old Postcard

"Here is an old postcard that I picked up recently on eBay.  It has nothing to do with my own family history, but has:

 'Drumdryan Street Kids 1919?'

written on the back of it.

From the house frontage that’s visible, I think that’s probably where the photo was taken.  The clothes the children are wearing would be correct for just after the 1st World War."

Restoration

"This is the grubbiest postcard I’ve ever handled, not just the dirt of ages, and general handling, but it also has what looks like traces of somebody’s breakfast on it.

I've used Photoshop Elements in an attempt to remove some of the worst marks and correct the contrast, while trying not to radically alter the image at all."

Graeme Hendry, Edinburgh:  March 8 + December 11, 2013 (2 emails)
Photo added to Edinphoto web site December 11, 2013, with my apologies
to Graham for having taken so long to add his photo and comments to the web site.

 

Cable Car at Tollcross

Recollections

Contributors

 

 

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