The Penny Tenement (condemned)

Beaumont Place



Inspecting the damage at Beaumont Place and Dalrymple Place  -  November 1959

©  Reproduced by courtesy of Evening News.   Click here for web site details.


The Penny Tenement

Beaumont Place

This photograph, appeared in 'The Scotsman' or 'Evening News' soon after the collapse of 'The Penny Tenement' in November 1959.

It shows officials of the Edinburgh Dean of Guild Court inspecting one of the condemned buildings at Beaumont Place and Dalrymple Place, with the large crack down the gable end of the building.


Was the building with the crack in this photo 'The Penny Tenement'?

Inspecting the damage at Beaumont Place and Dalrymple Place  -  November 1959 ©

Answer 1

Thank you to Vincent Canale who sent the following reply.

Our Home in Beaumont Place

"I have been looking at your web site with the photos of Beaumont Place and the Penny Tenement. I lived in No.1 Beaumont Place from 1937 to 1942 and recall the Penny Tenement clearly.

The building where we lived was on the right as you walked from the top end (Pleasance) down Beaumont Place towards the King's Park (as Holyrood Park was then known). The Penny Tenement was on the left side of the street with the massive wooden supports at the top end (the Pleasance end ) of the tenement."

The Building with the Crack

"I find it hard to understand the photo above that appeared in the Scotsman in 1959 showing a building with the terrible crack in it.  That building with the crack was NOT the Penny tenement. The Penny tenement is the building the wooden supports are leaning against, unfortunately just out of the picture."

The Penny Tenement

"I knew some families who lived in the Penny Tenement one of which were the Frazer's in No.12, the Welsh's in, I think, No 14 or 18? 

No 12 stair was directly opposite the opening to Forbes Street which ran straight through to Parkside Street.  St. Leonard's School which was taken over by James Clarks school was midway along Forbes Street."

Dumbiedykes Demolition  -  Why?

"This was a solid Georgian building that bridged St. Leonard's Street and Forbes Street and I cannot believe they could pull such a beautiful building down! 

This entire area was a living heart and soul of a beautiful old city, bordering on an ancient park yet they pulled all of it down. Lovely old buildings from Usher's brewery and the old Stewart's distillery down to Holyrood Road which included at least two schools, at least two churches, many old shops and thousands of homes. 

Wiped away,  a massive swath of Edinburgh's historical south side. London or indeed any such English city proud of their heritage would never have allowed the rape and pillage of their past, so why did Edinburgh allow the terrible dismantling of a great part of their lovely city to take place?

This must surely rate, as far as Edinburgh is concerned, the constitutional  crime of the century. The entire swath was prime land and therefore it must all come back to money and how much could be made from the sale of the hundreds of prime sites. It's true what the old song says: 'Money is the root to all evil.' "

Vincent Canale:   May 1, 2007

Further Comment

After reading the comments above about the demolition, Eric Gold, known to many as Eric McKenzie, wrote:

Dumbiedykes Demolition  -  Why?

"Vincent: I totally agree with you about the Southside of Edinburgh being decimated in the 1960s.  They should redeveloped it like the East End of London.  But a few places down here will follow the Dumbiedykes route, as a result of repossessions and compulsory purchases of real estate for the 2012 Olympics.

Having said that, houses, buildings and old docks over 200 years old still stand and have been made into luxury flats.

I thank you for your comments on God's country, the Dumbiedykes.  God Bless."

Eric Gold, East London:  May 5, 2007

Answer 2

Thank you to Tommy Aris, Doncaster, for sending me the comments below.

Thomas is husband of Emmeline Aris, née Pardy, who has also sent comments on Dumbiedykes to the EdinPhoto web site.

Thomas wrote:

"Vincent Canale is correct in stating the building with the large crack running down it is not the Penny Tenement.

The building with the large crack  is the gable end of no 17 Dalrymple Place.  This building in fact backed on to the supports of the penny tenement."

Tommy Aris, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England:  June 11, 2007

Further Comment

Thank you to George T Smith, British Columbia, who added:

Beaumont Place and Dalrymple Place

"I agree  -  the building with the supports was Beaumont Place  so the building with the crack must have been in Dalrymple Place.

To my recollection  the first habitable building in Beaumont Place was my grandmother's at No 6 -  but No 4  might have still been habitable.

I believe that originally, at the end of Beaumont Place,  there was a pub (with houses over it) which was unsafe or fell down sometime in  the thirties.

My earliest memories are of the stout timbers shoring  up the gable end from an empty site - a hole in the ground. No one  gave any indication that it was unsafe to live there.

The agents who  took the rents were Gumley & Davidson.  Who the landlords were, I never  knew.

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:  June 12, 2007



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