Around Edinburgh -  Wardie School Playing Fields

Duddingston Camp

Camp for the Homeless following World War 2

Women and Children in the Kitchen  -  1951

Duddingston Camp   -  1951

©  Reproduced by courtesy of Evening News.   Click here for web site details.   Scotsman Photo H2320. (I have added the sepia toning)


Enlarge this photo

      Duddingston Camp   -   1951  ©


Duddingston Camp

Housing for the Homeless

Duddingston Camp was one of the camps in Edinburgh that provided temporary housing for the homeless who were not eligible for Council Housing, following the end of World War 2.

Date of the Photo

The photo above shows women and children in the kitchen of Duddingston  Camp.  The photo was taken on November 9, 1951.

Lochinvar Camp

I don't know much about Duddingston Camp or have any other photos of the camp.  However, here are some photos of Lochinvar Camp on Wardie School playing fields at Granton.  These were probably also taken in 1951.



Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Bryan Gourlay wrote

"It was interesting seeing the inside of the Nissen huts a few weeks ago. I walked past the huts at Duddingston many times as a small boy.

Lochinvar Camp   -   1957 ©

As I recall, the huts were about two deep on a narrowish strip of land.  They ran all the way along Duddingston Road West from just after the bungalows at the junction with Milton Road crossroads, along the boundary with Duddingston Golf Club.

Iím sure they went round the bends after Duddingston village, but canít remember if they went as far as the railway crossing near to the golf club entrance and the railway crossing at Craigmillar."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  June 8, 2008




Betty Campbell

Northfield, Edinburgh

Thank you to Betty Campbell who wrote:

Duddingston Camp

"It was great seeing the picture of the cookhouse in Duddingston Camp where me and my family lived for almost 5 years, before moving to a prefab in Craigour Drive.

The best part of seeing this snap of the camp was, lo and behold, I spotted my mum who died twelve years ago.

Thank you for the pleasure."

Betty Campbell, Northfield, Edinburgh:  July 23, 2008



Carol McGhee


Carol McGhee was originally from Edinburgh.  She has just returned to Australia, following a recent visit to Edinburgh.

Carol wrote:

Duddingston Camp

"My Dad served in the Royal Navy for several years.  At  the end of the War, accommodation was extremely scarce so lived at Duddingston Camp for some time.

Duddingston Camp   -   1951  ©

My parents wanted a better life for me and couldn't see a future in Edinburgh at that time, so we emigrated to Australia.  I was only  about 3 or 4 years old at the time, in 1951.  My parents would have only been about 27 years old.

My parents told me many funny stories about  living at Duddingston Camp.  eg.  Dad would fill the kettle and put it on a low peep when he went to bed.  When he got up, there was enough hot water for him to shave and have a cup of tea before leaving for work.

I can also remember Dad building a little picket fence to make a garden for me to play in, and he erected a little trellis around the entrance of our hut/home.

My Mum was very fussy about the way I spoke and was a stickler for manners.  I can remember being laughed at by neighbours who weren't as fussy as my parents."

Carol McGhee, Australia:  December 8 2009



Winnie Riddell Sipprell

Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA

Winnie Riddell Sipprell read the message from Betty Campbell, above, and replied:


"My family lived in the camps at Duddingston after I was born, in 1947, because of the housing shortage.  We lived in those little quonset huts, and my parents, Mick and Vi Riddell had three children during that time.

I was the eldest and remember some of the time we lived there.  All in all, it was a relatively happy time.  Everyone was in the same boat and struggling to make ends meet."


"I remember, there was an apple orchard close by, and we would go and get the windfall apples that fell to the ground, and bring them to share with our family and neighbors.

We did not think at the time that it was stealing,  but I am sure that the owner may have thought differently."


"I seem to recall that there was an incident of a child dying (murdered?)  that was talked about a lot  by the grown-ups, but the children, of course, were not supposed to know about it.  Since I was very young at the time, I am unclear as to the details."


"We walked to school.  I don't recall whether it was St Francis or another, but as we were Catholic, that's probably where we went school"

When housing finally became available, we moved to Niddrie and went to school there.  I don't remember too much about my class mates, other than that I was bullied quite badly.

My secondary school was St John's at Portobello, and I don't really remember any of my class mates there either."


"I moved to US in 1968."

Winnie Riddell Sipprell, Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA:  July 24, 2011



Gus Coutts

Duddingston, Edinburgh

Thank you to Gus Coutts who wrote:

Duddingston Camp

"I hadn't been aware that there had been a POW Camp at Duddingston until I saw mention of it in Bobby McEwan's comments in Recollections 18 on the Craigmillar page.

My memory of the camp, albeit from the ages of 4 or 5 at the end of WW2, was as an Army Camp latterly occupied by Polish troops, then subsequently as Emergency Housing.

Google Search

My curiosity aroused, I Googled 'Duddingston Camp Edinburgh' which turned up several interesting entries amongst which were:-

a) Not only was it a hutted POW Camp but it was suggested that Duddingston House was also used.

b) An excellent aerial photo of the area taken in 1947 . It doesn't show the extent of the camp because most of the camp was in amongst the trees extending from what is now the small Woodlands housing development at Duddingston X-Roads up to the road leading into Duddingston Golf Course at Craigmillar.  If one looks closely at the photo huts are just visible.

c) Several photos of when the camp was used as emergency housing.

d) One that really surprised me was about the unveiling of The Duddingston War Memorial opposite Church Lane in 1921.   This mentions the 'huts of the camp being visible behind the memorial'.  This suggests that the camp was originally set up in WW1."

Southfield Farm

"I can remember POWs working on Southfield Farm which was at the top of Durham Avenue where I was brought up."

Gus Coutts, Duddingston, Edinburgh:  February 10, 2013




Bill Arthur

Thank you to Bill Arthur  following up Gus Coutts' comments above about Southfield Farm.

Bill wrote :

Southfield Farm

"Interns would manufacture and sell wooden toys around the Southfield Farm.

The remains of the huts provided some of the bolts for our 'explosives'."

Bill Arthur:  February 10, 2013




Archie Foley

Joppa, Edinburgh

Archie Foley replied to Bill Arthur's comment d) in Recollections 5 above. concerning the date when the original Duddingston Camp was set up.

Archie wrote :

World War I Camp

"Yes.  There was a camp built at Duddingston in WW1.

 This newspaper extract describes an accident there while it was being built:."

Motor Wagon Accident in Edinburgh

Soldier Seriously Injured

'An alarming accident, involving injury to twenty six soldiers and damaging two motor vehicles occurred at the cross-roads, near Duddingston Mills, south of Portobello, yesterday afternoon about a quarter to four o'clock.

A squad of 44 members of a Home Defence Battalion, billeted at Musselburgh, were returning home, after a day spent in setting up huts near Duddingston.

They were making the trip on a large military motor transport wagon, and had reached the cross-roads when a motor car, conveying four military officers, came out of Milton Road, heading to enter Willowbrae Road, on the way to Edinburgh.

A right-angled collision was imminent. Both drivers did what they could to avoid this and the sudden swerve to the left caused the transport waggon to upset completely while the motor car dashed into the kerb.

"The 3rd Btn KOSB spent time there using Duddingston House as battalion HQ.'

Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh:  February 10, 2013




Doug Watt

Innerleithen, Borders, Scotland

Doug Watt replied to Gus Coutts who wrote Recollections 5 above.

Doug wrote:

Nissan Huts

"Like you Gus I cannot go back that far as we were in Glasgow during World War 2, but I was told that it was Italian prisoners that were in the Nissan huts during the war.

I did not know that the huts had been there since WW1 and did not know that Duddingston House was used by the army at any time."

Doug Watt, Innerleithen, Borders, Scotland:  February 11, 2013



Bill Arthur

Thank you to Bill Arthur  for writing again.

Bill wrote :

Southfield Farm

"The Nissan huts were still there when we lived at SOuthfield Road West.  That would have been in 1945 or 1946, just before the speedway.

The field was still there.  Joe Douglas was making guys for Guy Fawkes Nights and there were turnips close to the Figgate Burn Park."

Bill Arthur:  February 12, 2013


Lochinvar Camp on  Wardie School Playing Fields