A Brief History of Edinburgh’s Residential Areas

Edinburgh has a host of residential areas varying from the size of a few streets to whole districts. Each neighbourhood has its’ own unique history.

  • Old Town

The Old Town in Edinburgh is a captivating hove of historical wonders dating back to past the late 1700s where nearly 70,000 people were crammed into the 138 acres of Old Town, as of the difficulties to build outwards, Edinburgh was built upwards. Some buildings in the Old Town can reach up to 14 storeys high. The Old Town is a medieval thoroughfare stretching for a few kilometres with Edinburgh’s Castle to The Royal Mile as the spine of the district that goes down to Holyrood Palace, Grassmarket and Scottish Parliament at the bottom.

  • New Town

Situated north of the Old Town is the New Town. Between 1766 and 1840 the New Town was developed into now one of the world’s largest Georgian Developments to house those who wanted to get out of the overcrowded Old Town. A network of streets, terraces and squares with Princes Street and Queen Street on the outer edges then St Andrews Square and Charlotte’s Square at either end of George Street, which was initially residential now George Street is a hub of bars, clubs and boutique shops.

  • Stockbridge

Stockbridge today is an affluent part of the New Town however was once its own sleepy village next to the big city. You can still experience the community with cobbled streets, classic architecture and independent shops, bars and restaurants.

  • Haymarket & Dalry

Off the beaten track for most visitors the Haymarket and Dalry districts are located in the West End of Edinburgh and close to the city centre. Haymarket made of mostly Georgian and Edwardian architecture and is a mix of residential and commercial real estate centre around Haymarket Station, whereas Dalry is mainly residential tenement flats and also home to Murrayfield stadium.

  • Tollcross

Tollcross was once the gardens that supplied Edinburgh Castle with food. Located at the top of Lothian Road South West of the centre you can find the Tollcross Clock, dating back to 1910. The clock was originally a pendulum clock but converted to an eclectic mechanism in 1969.  In 1974 the clock was removed however public pressure led to it being put back in its original place.

  • Marchmont

Built and developed between 1869 and 1914, Marchmont offered new housing for those who could no longer afford to live in the new town. Boarding the Meadows Marchmont consists mostly of Victorian tenement flats. Now the area is very student populated due to its close proximity to the Universities and city centre.

  • Bruntsfield

Bruntsfield is one of Edinburgh’s most desirable residential spots. Now a nice mixture of apartments and large houses it was once where James IV and the Scottish army march to its defeat at Flodden in 1513.

  • Morningside

South of Bruntsfield is the district Morningside. Most famous for The Morningside Clock that was used for Morningside Railway between 1884 and 1962, its concentration of churches at the Bruntsfield, Colinton and Chamberlain junction and most importantly the Canny Man’s pub. Opened in 1871 the eccentric Canny Man’s pub is home to a famous collection of paraphernalia and one not to be missed.

  • Leith & Leith Walk

Leith is the original port of Edinburgh and was the premier port of Scotland that lies a few kilometres north of the City. Leith, once an industrial area and in 1833 became a separate town altogether is now since 1920 connected to Edinburgh’s City Centre by Leith Walk and been drastically redeveloped playing host to some of Edinburgh’s finest restaurants and bars.

      10) Newington

Newington, an attractive, leafy area, again is populated by students due to the close proximity to the University and is only a mile away from the city centre. As an area it was mostly rural until the building of Edinburgh’s South Bridge in 1788 where residential development began and the original Victorian tenement architecture still remains.