Walking tour: Edinburgh colonies to the waterfront

ONE of three tours that can be downloaded from a Scotland-wide menu of 12, this tour – on the website (here) of the Scottish Ecological Design Association – takes walkers from McDonald Road Library, just off Leith Walk, to Ferry Road, near the city’s waterfront.

At a distance of 2.5 miles – with a journey time estimated at between 1.5 and 2.5 hours – the tour is billed, by SEDA, as comprising “innovative housing on Edinburgh’s northside, looking at differing models over the last 180 years”.

Among other things, it takes in ‘new colony housing’ inspired by the various ‘colonies’ around the city, developed by the Edinburgh Co-operative Housing Company during the 19th century.

Also on the tour, there’s housing designed by the late renowned architect, Sir Basil Spence, for the forerunner of the current City of Edinburgh Council, during the 1950s.

The staging posts are: MacDonald Road Library (start), Bellevue New Colony Housing (McDonald Place), Claremont Court (Broughton), Shaw’s Pilrig Model Buildings (Shaw Place), Pilrig Cottages workers housing (Arthur Street Lane), Cambridge Gardens (Cambridge Avenue), Pilrig House (Pilrig House Close), The Quilts (off Bangor Road), Industry Lane early colonies (Industry Lane), Hawthornbank Colonies (Hawthornbank Place), and Hamilton Wynd Fort Courtyard (Lindsay Street).

At the time of the map’s compilation, work was due to begin on the construction of new colonies-type housing on the ‘Leith Fort’ site on North Fort Street. They have since been completed, as reported here: https://www.polha.co.uk/housing/development-archive/leith-fort/

It is here that the tour ends.

The other two Edinburgh tours on the SEDA website (here) are: Edinburgh urban expedition and Edinburgh Ebeneezer MacRae.

Pictured: on tour from the colonies to the waterfront, hosted by SEDA, held in 2016. Picture courtesy of David Seel

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