Re-visiting Edinburgh’s Archive

Language is an example of how different parts of Edinburgh or institutions may describe their community, such as re-development, or advancement…then to others who would describe theirs as having been gentrified, which gives them a sense of feeling like they were sold or bought out.

These two terms of interest connote quite different meanings, and in each image, there is a theme of public services or spaces that have changed or are changing, from schools to a fire station, a market and a park. These images are a small note on how cities change, as for every street has a story to its own.

Old Observatory, Calton Hill, 1967

City Observatory, 1967 (Unknown)

Poked through panels lay bare to the elements as the observatory sits in disrepair. Once a tool to track the transit of stars in order to keep an accurate time for mariners, it was relocated to Blackford Hill and renamed The Royal Observatory. Today, the City Observatory is a museum.

4. Calton Hill

City Observatory, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

West Princes Street Gardens, 1890

West Princes Street Gardens, 1890 (Unknown)

Once called the North Loch, it was later drained in the 18th century due to the spread of diseases. The site, that is now Princes Street Gardens, then became open to residents of Princes Street, and later opened to the public in 1876.

1. Princes st Gardens

Ross Band Stand, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Stockbridge Market 1890

Stockbridge Market, 1890 (Unknown)

The Stockbridge Market was active between 1823 and 1906. All that remains today is the Greek-Doric entranceway that connects Hamilton Place and St Stephen’s Place. A new Stockbridge Market, that is on every Sunday of the year, is located just around the corner on Saunders Street.  

Stockbridge Market

St Stephen Pl, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Leith walk, 1890

Sanger’s Circus, 1890 (Unknown)

Sanger’s Circus was a travelling show that was seen nationwide. Performers and animals gradually make their way down a part of Leith Walk that is now predominantly student accommodation.

Leith Walk (TOP)

Top of Leith Walk, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Meadows 1863 James Valentine

The Royal Infirmary, 1863 James Valentine

A flock of sheep grazes in front of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary that opened in 1879 after being located at Robertson’s Close. It was then relocated again to Little France in 2003 and has now seen a re-development known as the Quartermile.  


Meadows, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Royal High school, 1874

Royal High school, 1874 (Archibald Burns)

The Old Royal High School was completed in 1829 to be then vacated in 1968. It has since seen community push back from a planned hotel development while other ideas of a music school have been platformed.

Royal High School

Royal High school, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Donaldson's Hopital 1925

Donaldson’s Hospital, 1925 (Francis Caird Inglis)

Sheep graze in front of Donaldson’s Hospital where the grass was rented out to a butcher for use. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1850, it has now since been made into luxury apartments. The old headmaster’s office is currently set at just over £1.15 million in price.

Donaldson Hospital

Donaldson’s Hospital, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 1957

Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 1957 (Unknown)

The newly built Great Michael Rise surrounds an anchor that is a symbol of Newhaven’s history in shipbuilding and fishing. Once a village outside of Edinburgh, new homes were built with families in mind. These industries died off towards the end of the 1980’.


Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Stockbridge Fire Station 1890

Stockbridge Fire and Police Stations, 1890 (Unknown)

Stockbridge Fire and police station were located on Hamilton Place. The fire station now operates as a public toilet and the police station has been an Indian restaurant for over three decades.

Stockbridge t&P

Now Public Toilets, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Leith Walk Tramlines, 1904

Laying Tracks, Leith Walk 1904 (Unknown)

Laying tram tracks at the bottom of Leith walk, labourers stair into the camera as Leith is connected ever closer with Edinburgh city centre. The tramlines were taken up in 1956, but plans of re-laying them down Leith are to be decided upon at the end of 2018.

Leith Walk(Bottom of)

Leith Walk, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

North bridge, North British Hotel(Balmoral) 1901

North Bridge hotel, 1901 (Unknown)

Once named The North Bridge Hotel and owned by The North British Railway Company, it was then sold in the 1980′ and renamed as The Balmoral Hotel in 1991.

North Bridge

Balmoral Hotel, 2018 (Ross Fraser)


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