Niddrie Mill

 Sunday School

Late 1890s

Niddrie House housing scheme

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to David Thomson, Edinburgh



David Thomson

Broughton, Edinburgh

Thank you to David Thomson for sending the picture above.  David, who was born in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh writes:

1890s to 1950s

"This photo is of the original Niddrie Mill School, in the late 1890's.

The school was bought by Lady Wauchope for use by Edinburgh City Mission and was occupied until the late 1950's when it was demolished to make way for the housing scheme now known as Niddrie Mill."

David Thomson, Broughton, Edinburgh:  January 15, 2006




Linda (now Lyndsay) Montgomery

Old Town, Edinburgh

Thank you to Linda Montgomery who wrote:

The Mission

"This photo of the mission brings back loads of memories for me.

I used to live in the Toll House at Niddrie Mill and used to go to the mission, if for instance there was a picnic or a party coming up!  I wasn't really very religious in these days, I'm even less now.

However, I remember the piggery that was at the top of the road that the mission was on.  It burned one night, and was knocked down, but the old mission still stood, I think until the council had built them a new one which was just down Hay Drive.   I don't know if it's still there, I left the area maybe 40 years ago."


"I went to Niddrie Mill Primary, and to Portobello afterwards.  It would be good to hear from anybody who remembers me.

I now live at High School Yards,  Edinburgh Old Town."

Linda (now Lyndsay) Montgomery, Old Town, Edinburgh:  July 11, 2008

Contacting Linda

If you'd like to contact Linda, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to her.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  July 14, 2008




Agnes Shepheard (née Robertson)

New Zealand

Thank you to Agnes Shepheard who read Lyndsay Montgomery's comments above and replied :

Hi Lyndsay:

The Old Mission

"My name is Agnes. I was looking on the net and saw your letter re my old home, the Old Mission.  I am 72 years of age and have great memories of living there.

My parents were the caretakers of the Old Mission for 15 years. We were a family of six, Mary and Sam Robertson, sons Andrew and Kenneth, daughters, Peggy (Margaret) and me (Agnes). Our address was The Old School House, sometimes known as 'Ye Olde Cart House'. We left in 1955."

Our House

"Our house was attached to the mission and although there was electricity in the halls, there was none in the house at first.   We used kero lamps until dad installed electricity throughout the house. The only toilet was an outside dry toilet, but within a short time my father put in a flush toilet.

There was no bathroom either so we put a bath in the outside washhouse, but during winter we had baths in an old tub we used in the kitchen, taking turns, girls one night, boys the next.

The Mission Hall

"The missionary who ran the mission was a Mr Curry.  He was assisted by Mrs Atherton who helped with the services:

-  Monday:  Christian Endeavour

Tuesday:  Women's Guild

-  Wednesday:  Senior Christian Endeavour

Thursday:  Band Of Hope, where a slide projector showed slides.

When the Mission Hall wasn't used on a Saturday, we had Birthday Parties and occasionally a wedding. I know two of my aunties had their receptions there.  We were fortunate enough to have a 12 inch TV for the Queen's Coronation on the 2nd June 1953. The hall was full of people and the TV was on a small platform so that everyone could see!

In the hall, above one of the fireplaces was a brass plaque which said that the mission was rebuilt in the 18th century and that prior to that had been an old Inn."

The Piggery

"The piggery that has been mentioned belonged to two brothers, Joe and Alfe.  The night it caught fire, my father alerted the fire service and he rescued the horses from the stables where the fire started, putting blankets over their heads and himself.  He was recovering from a severe accident he had had at Portobello Power Station at the time."

The Piggery

"I attended Niddrie Mill Primary School, which could be seen from our house, across the field and Niddrie Burn (The Figgy Burn) where we used to catch minnows."

The Wauchope Estate

"I was fortunate, as a young girl, to meet Lady Jane Wauchope. I used to walk around her estate and remember being chased by the woman who looked after the property.  Her name was Tess, and she carried a shotgun.

One day the front door of the mansion was open.  Being curious, I went in.  A voice said 'Who are you?'  It was my introduction to the grand lady, herself. She was having a last look. The mansion was set on fire by vandals."

My Mother's Memories

"I have a video tape of my mother in 1987, when she talked about the mission.  She said it was:

 an old inn

a headmaster's house

,a janitors house, and later

a mission.

She tells of attending school  and being told of an underground tunnel between the Wauchope Estate and Craigmillar Castle!!!

She recalls, as a young girl about 14 years of age, she helped wash the dishes after some gathering at the hall.  She lived in the Jewel Cottages at the time.

There was a sealed attic.  We found it when we pulled the old wallpaper off.  It had old vases, small children's chairs and miniature wicker furniture inside."

Johnny Bundles

"A tramp called Johnny Bundles used to call at our house to have a cup of tea on the 'Beggars Form' outside our door.  He lived somewhere in 'The Wisp', on the Wauchope Estate, in a makeshift hove, made with branches and anything else he could find.

He died, a fairly young man, and we were told by the police that he was a very wealthy young man who opted out of life, but to me he was an old smelly man, dressed in rags, who had a beard.

Mary, Queen of Scots

"It was rumoured that during the time that 'Mary, Queen of Scots', made her escape to Dunbar, she had her horses changed at the old inn."


"I loved the old place.  At the age of 18 when we left, I was pretty upset, but have great memories of our stay there."

I vaguely remember a family called Montgomery but it was so long ago. It's a pity all these old buildings disappeared in the name of progress?!!!"

Linda (now Lyndsay) Montgomery, Old Town, Edinburgh:  July 11, 2008


Edinburgh and Leith map, 1940 -  Craigmillar and Niddrie section, with key to housing areas ©

Notes and Maps showing areas
of Craigmillar and Niddrie


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