Steam Roller

QUESTION:  Which Edinburgh street is this?

ANSWER:     Henderson Row



Steam Roller in Edinburgh, 1960s

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Mark Fellows.  -  If you know who took this photo, please e-mail me so that I can contact them.


Edinburgh Steam Rollers

Thank you to Mark Fellows, now living in Cornwall, for providing this photograph of a steam roller in Edinburgh in the 1969.

Mark wrote:

'The Prime or Pride of Miss Jean Brodie'

"This steam roller was apparently in the Edinburgh Transport Museum, that closed in the 1980s.  It also featured in the film: 'The Prime or Pride of Miss Jean Brodie'."

Mark Fellows,  26 miles from Lands' End, Cornwall:  January 2007


Mark's family owns an old Edinburgh steam roller, possibly the same roller as appears in the small photo below.

Steam Roller at Cluny Drive, Morningside  -  1959 ©



Where was the photo taken?

The buildings in this photo and the church in the background look quite distinctive, but I've not yet been able to discover where the photo was taken.


Initially, there were suggestions that the location of this photo might be Forrest Road or the foot of Broughton Street.  However, it turns out to be Henderson Row.  See below.

-  Peter Stubbs:  February 14, 2006




David Thomson

Thank you to Davie Thomson who wrote:

Henderson Row

"The photo of the steam roller was taken in Henderson Row

Some of the filming for Miss Jean Brodie was in Henderson Row, Marcia Blane's school being the building just to the left of the Edinburgh Academy which, as you say was Donaldson's School for the Deaf. 

Clarence Street was used to accommodate the crew and actors.  Gordon Jackson was seen popping into Clark's Bar in Dundas Street for his 'refreshments'. 

Some of the props used included a single decker bus from Edinburgh Council and the steam roller.  In the photo it appears to be standing just to the left of Edinburgh Academy, the photo being taken from the gates."

David Thomson:  February 11, 2007




Patrick Hutton


Thank you to Patrick Hutton, Edinburgh, who wrote:

Henderson Row

"Is it Hamilton Place/Henderson Row, by any chance? The church was opposite Edinburgh Academy. It is demolished now, and replaced by sheltered housing"

Patrick Hutton, Edinburgh:  February 14, 2007.

NOTE: Message 1 from Davie Thomson had not yet been added to
the web site when I received Message 2 (above) from Patrick Hutton.




Peter Stubbs


Henderson Row

Davie Thomson and Patrick Hutton are both correct.  The location looks a bit different now.  As Patrick says, the church (St Bernard's Davidson Church, 89 Henderson Row) has now been replaced by sheltered housing.  The shop behind the steam roller has now become a house.

Knowing that the photo of the steam roller was taken during the filming of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" in Edinburgh, we can now date this photo to 1969.


Steam Roller in Edinburgh, 1960s ©

The photo below shows the same location in February 2007.


   Henderson Row, 2007 ©

Peter Stubbs:  February 14, 2007




Linda Malcolm

Henderson Row

Thank you to Linda Malcolm who wrote:

'The Prime or Pride of Miss Jean Brodie'

"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was indeed filmed in Henderson Row in part of the Edinburgh Academy known as The Donaldson Building.

This was never part of Donaldson’s School for the Deaf  which, as you will no doubt be aware was just past Haymarket at Wester Coates, the building having been vacated last year (2007) when the school relocated to West Lothian." 

* BUT See 'Reply 5' below for a different answer.

Linda Malcolm:  March 3, 2008




David Thomson

Thank you to Kim Traynor who replied:

Henderson Row

"The Academy building in Henderson Row, now known simply as ‘Donaldsons’, had been a School for the Deaf until it merged with Donaldson’s Hospital in 1938.  Hence its present name."

Earlier History

"In fact, the first School for the Deaf in Edinburgh was  founded in 1750 near Holyrood Park, giving the name Dumbiedykes,  first to the road in which it was located, then to  the surrounding district.

This school moved first to Chessel’s Court in the Canongate in 1810, then later to Henderson Row."

Kim Traynor, Tollcross, Edinburgh:  October 8+9, 2009

School for the Deaf

I have more details about Donaldson's school for the Deaf elsewhere on this web site.  Please click on the thumbnail image below to read more:

Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Donaldson's Hospital ©

-  Peter Stubbs





Donald Grant

Thank you to Donald Grant for sending me this photo of the same steam roller, taken in August 2006 at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at Lathalmond, near Dunfermline, Fife.


   Steam Roller at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, Lathalmond, Fife  -  2006 ©





Katrina Thorburn

Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh

Thank you to Katrina Thorburn who wrote:


"One of the shops hidden by this steamroller was my father's shop - B Borzecki, Watchmaker.

Steam Roller in Edinburgh, 1960s ©

He had his shop there from the 1940s to the 1980s when he retired.

I was born at 115 Henderson Row and have lots of great memories of Stockbridge."

Katrina Thorburn, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh:  February 12, 2012




Arthur Sutherland

York, Yorkshire, England

Thank you to Arthur Sutherland who wrote:

St Bernard Davidson's Church

"Is anyone aware of any old photos of St Bernard Davidson's Church.  It used to stand in Henderson Row until it was demolished?

The photo at the top of this page is the only one that I have found of it."

Steam Roller in Edinburgh, 1960s ©

'The Prime or Pride of Miss Jean Brodie'

" Is this the only photo there is showing the exterior of St Bernard Davidson's church, or does anyone have any hidden away?

I recall the shooting of the film, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'.  I walked past that roller on the day and straight into a set which was being shot on the pavement outside the Academy.

I recall hearing a loud voice shouting:  'Cut!  Get get the idiot out of there.'  Who me? I wasn't bothered, this was my neck of the woods.

I remember that all the residents had to park their cars elsewhere and they were replaced by period vehicles.  They also had to remove their TV aerials, but I think they were paid £50 for their trouble.

Arthur Sutherland, York, Yorkshire, England:  July 31, 2013




Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Thank you to Allan Dodds, who read the comments from Katrina Thorburn in Recollections 7 above and added:


Gavin Nimmo

Henderson Row

"Katrina Thorburn would remember Gavin Nimmo's butcher's shop which was situated practically next door to Mr Borecki's second hand/antique shop in Henderson Row.

During the War my Mother would take me there almost daily in my pram. Here's an extract from  my book 'Laughin' on the Ither Side o' Ma Face', which describes the wartime experiences of a year-old infant."


Gavin Nimmo

Henderson Row

"Regular visits to Stockbridge were made as the few local Canonmills shops had little to offer during wartime rationing. Meat, such as could be obtained, was purchased at Gavin Nimmo’s shop in Henderson Row, now a private dwelling house.

Mr Nimmo was reputed by Mother to be fond of the drink, and his purple nose confirmed her suspicions without the need for any independent evidence or indeed professional opinion.

The sight of Mr Nimmo’s nose invariably filled me with nervous apprehension. In the cold winter months it would spontaneously produce a drip whose length seemed to defy the laws of physics as I had then deduced them. I remember watching in anticipation as the drip eventually broke free of its host, landing fair and square on the piece of mutton that he was preparing with his customary concerns for hygiene.

Mother, typically fastidious about such matters, pretended not to notice, and in spite of her habitual forthrightness, the offender was spared her disapprobation. Falling out with Gavin Nimmo would have meant no decent meat for us of any sort, not even offal such as tripe, liver, sweetbreads or kidneys which were regular fare in wartime and which I grew to detest."

Extract from: "Laughin' on the Ither Side o' Ma Face'  (Allan Dodds)

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire England:  August 2, 2013




Winnie Lisowski (née Veitch)

Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Winnie Lisowski for responding to Arthur Sutherland's request for a photograph of St Bernard Davidson's Church in Henderson Row.

Winnie wrote:

1957 Photo

"Scotsman Publications have a photo, No. L1829592, of St Bernard's Church - Henderson Row taken July 1957

Winnie Lisowski  (née Veitch), Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland:  August 1, 2013



Steam Rollers

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