'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Colinton Mains Shops Development

The shells of the buildings which would become the shops at Colinton Mains (J. Dickson) 

David McLean (Lost Edinburgh) very kindly sent me this absolutely wonderful photograph from the early days when the Colinton Mains shops were being built. The photograph belongs to a Mr J Dickson. It's a real treasure of a find, capturing a fascinating moment in time featuring the early development of the area; the shops were a great resource for the residents at Colinton Mains, but also for those of us who lived at Oxgangs and Firhill too. My early memories of the shops and shopkeepers include Neils the Butchers; Andrettis Grocers; McNish's Post Office; and McCalls the Newsagents. 

It's quite remarkable some of the fantastic and important photies which occasionally appear, that no one knew even existed, but can now be enjoyed because of the blessing of social media, Facebook sites and people prepared to share such items. In days gone by, such items would have remained undiscovered within family albums-now they can be enjoyed by thousands of us.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Kim Cook (Penwill) Comment re: Lesley Orr on post "St John's Church-An Update":

I stumbled upon this blog after accessing Lost Edinburgh on Facebook. Imagine my extreme surprise when I noticed your comment on St John's Church, Lesley Orr, as I knew you many years ago when we lived in Oxgangs Street. My maiden name is Penwill, first name Kim and I have a very fond memory of attending one of your birthday parties! Our family moved to Australia in 1967 and I have been back to visit Oxgangs on a couple of occasions while on my travels. I hope life has treated you kindly. 



Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Oxgangs; Comiston; Dreghorn Walled Market Garden-Mystery Solved? Definitely!

When Ray first got in touch with me I suggested kicking off with an old Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directory, but he didn't think his dad had a phone. Well, he did-thanks to David Shannon for tracking this down, which corroborates Douglas Blades' excellent detective work-'Sandy Nimmo-Market Gardener!'

ps As Douglas says: 'It's quite remarkable what can be found out! All good fun!'

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Oxgangs; Comiston; Dreghorn Walled Market Garden-Mystery Solved? Douglas Blades

My good friend, the inimitable Douglas Blades, may well have solved the mystery of the site of the old walled garden which was posted last week. If anyone wishes a high quality attachment of the two poor quality map images which I've posted below, please let me know and I'll e mail them to you.

'I'm sure this was just along from the (Oxgangs) Broadway on land which I always thought belonged to Harwells (of Colinton Dairy etc. fame) and I also think it was abandoned before 1965. I remember the bungalow lying abandoned and derelict after the folk moved away and exploring it. Yes, there was a walled garden and small blocks of flats were built on it but I think the wall remains.  Mr McCall, a Boroughmuir English teacher lived in one of the flats either just before or after he retired. I also remember that potatoes still came up here and there is a field beside it. We passed near it on our way to play at The Gully which was nearer Buckstone than Oxgangs and quite near what used to be the Pentland Hills Hotel (I think!)

I'll have a look at old maps next week plus Google earth and see what I can find to jog my memory.'


'Look at the old map (1932) first. Top right, Comiston. Below that, walled garden with a well marked towards bottom left hand corner.

Bottom left hand corner, larger square marked just outwith the walled garden is the cottage. Over to the left, Oxgangs, what is now the (Oxgangs )Avenue looks like it is just a path. 

Now over to Google earth satellite picture. From the old map, the only thing still with us today is the house below the word Comiston and its boundaries. You can see the two blocks of flats which were built within the walled garden and you can sort of follow the old road between it and the newer Pentand Primary School . The older house in its own grounds on what is now Camus Avenue also appears to still exist. The tree lines don’t seem to have changed much and Pentland Drive seems to follow the old field boundary. As we passed over it from the Oxgangs side the first field had been a potato field in its final days as cultivated land but the second field was fallow and just grass as far as I can remember.

Looking at Google street view it appears the old boundary wall has now gone. When the two blocks of flats were built it was still there but breached in places.

I reckon the cottage would have been at the end of what is now Pentland School Lane or at the end of the block of garages beside the lane.'

Douglas Blades

Monday, 8 February 2016

'The Top Secret 1971 Oxgangs/Boroughmuir Diaries of Retep Nnamffoh Aged 14 and a Hauf!"

If you're searching for 'The Top Secret 1971 Oxgangs/Boroughmuir Diaries of Retep Nnamffoh Aged 14 and a Hauf!" please note the posts will now be published daily throughout 2016 on a new separate sister site. I've now transferred the daily posts from 1 January,1971 to Saturday 6 February,1971 originally listed here to the new site. 

Although the 'Diaries' are closely interrelated to 'The Stair', because of the scale of this new project, I felt there was a danger of it overwhelming and cluttering up the original 'The Stair'' blog-site and making it difficult for viewers to navigate around the variety of material held here.

Please find the new link below-there is also another link on the right-hand side window too, under 'My Blog List.' Enjoy and please follow both sites!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mystery-Oxgangs; Comiston; Dreghorn?

I've attached some great photographs from a Ray Nimmo with the added bonus of a mystery/puzzle-trust it will generate much heat and even some light! It's from 1955/1956 and features Sandy, Amy Louisa & Carol Gay Nimmo harvesting in their Market Garden. Ray is not quite sure if it was in Oxgangs, Comiston, etc.-my initial thought is either Comiston or Dreghorn? 

Here's some extracts from Ray's e mail; ' me to locate the site of the walled garden that I spent the first five years of my living beside in a small bungalow.  It was owned by my parents at the time who tried unsuccessfully to run it as a 'market garden' and was sold on for development about 1959 (but did not make my parents wealthy!!).  

Try as I might, I cannot pin its exact location down.  My wife and I have recently come full circle back to Edinburgh after a life of moving all over the UK and now live in retirement in Greenbank. I am trying to get a better grip on my family history and locating this old garden is part of that search.  I attach the only photos that I have of the garden and as you can see it was quite substantial so it must have been associated with a large house back in the day (which may be the one at the back of the photo but I cannot recall it from my childhood).  It was near Oxgangs Farm (I recall helping the farmer sow crops sitting on the back of his tractor's seed drill (strictly verboten now!!) and watching the cows being milked).  Also the Oxgangs shopping precinct was relatively nearby and in the process of being built. Any information or help that you might have would be much appreciated.'

Monday, 1 February 2016

100,000 Visitors

When I launched this social history blog, I don't think I ever considered hitting this milestone.