Edinburgh - Wardie School Playing Fields
the Homeless following World War 2
Women and Children in the Kitchen -
Reproduced by courtesy of Evening
News. Click here
for web site details. Scotsman Photo H2320. (I
have added the sepia toning)
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.
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.
Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Bryan Gourlay wrote
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.
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,
Thank you to Betty Campbell who wrote:
"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.
you for the pleasure."
Betty Campbell, Northfield, Edinburgh: July 23, 2008
Carol McGhee was originally from Edinburgh. She has just returned
to Australia, following a recent visit to Edinburgh.
"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.
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
"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
"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
"I moved to US in 1968."
Winnie Riddell Sipprell, Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA:
July 24, 2011
Thank you to Gus Coutts who
"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
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.
My curiosity aroused, I Googled 'Duddingston
Camp Edinburgh' which turned up several interesting entries amongst
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."
"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
Thank you to Bill Arthur
following up Gus Coutts' comments above about Southfield Farm.
Bill wrote :
"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 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
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
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.
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
Innerleithen, Borders, Scotland
Doug Watt replied to Gus
Coutts who wrote Recollections 5 above.
"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
Doug Watt, Innerleithen, Borders, Scotland: February 11, 2013
Thank you to Bill Arthur
for writing again.
Bill wrote :
"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