Edinburgh Cable Car

When and Where?

ANSWER:  Tollcross

Edinburgh Cable Car  -  when and where?

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk



Cable Car

The destination on this cable car is 'Mound and Tollcross'.  If you know when and/or where this photo might have been taken, please email me.

Thank you.   -  Peter Stubbs:  June 2, 2008




Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Thank you to Bryan Gourlay for his quick reply.   Bryan wrote:


"I've no idea when the photo was taken – but it looks remarkably like this longer view of Tollcross from a photo from the Capital Collections site."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  June 3, 2008


I agree with Bryan's comments above.  I cannot reproduce the photograph that Bryan refers to here, but the link above should take you to the page on Edinburgh City Libraries' 'Capital Collections' web site that includes this photo and a description of the location - looking east from Tollcross towards High Riggs and Lauriston Place.

Edinburgh Cable Car  -  when and where? ©

High Riggs is the street with the washing hanging out, on the left of the cable car, in the photo.  It used to lead from Tollcross to West Port, but now only the eastern end of the street at West Port still exists.

Brian subsequently  sent me two 'companion pictures' of Tollcross also displayed on Edinburgh City Libraries'  'Capital Collections' web site.'

Peter Stubbs:  June 5, 2008.




John Hadden


Thank you to John Hadden who reached the same conclusion as Bryan Gourlay, above.  I had not yet added Bryan's comments to the web site when John's email arrived.

John wrote:


"There are not a lot of clues on this one.

I am going to suggest that this could have been taken at Tollcross, looking from a short distance along Home Street, and up Lauriston Place.

The street shown at the left could be High Riggs and the curve fronted building behind the tram could be on the junction of Lauriston Place and High Riggs.

The low wall and railing in the foreground could be a urinal that was shown in the 1894 street map as located in the middle of Tollcross.

I think that this would place the tram approximately halfway between the High Riggs junction and Tollcross.

As the tramway on the Mound was proposed in 1896, I think it seems reasonable to suggest some date after that.  However the style of dress of the pedestrians doesn't look much later.

How does that sound?"

John Hadden:  June 3, 2008

Thanks John:

Everything you say about the location makes sense

As for the date, I believe the photo may have been taken in the very early 1900s.  DLG Hunter's book, 'Edinburgh Transport: The Early Years' says that the tram lines up the Mound were used by horse-drawn trams initially, and that the cable under the Mound was not installed until 25 August 1901.

The number painted on the cable car appears a little indistinct in this photo:  it may be '63'.  If so, this cable car would have been one of a large batch built 1889-90.

Peter Stubbs:  June 5, 2008.

John subsequently wrote:


"A quick follow-up to yesterday's email.  I feel more confident about the location after finding this image * on the Edinburgh Council web site."

In fact, this is the the image that John mentions is the same one as Bryan Gourlay refers to above.

John added:

"There is also another image on the 'Capital Collections' web site,  looking in the opposite direction that shows the other item of street furniture that can be seen on your cable car photo."

John Hadden:  June 4, 2008




Donald Grant

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Donald Grant who also identified the location as Tollcross.  I had not yet added Bryan's comments or John's comments to the web site when Donald's email arrived.

Donald wrote:


"I've had a trawl through all my books and believe I have identified the location for the cable car photo.  It appears to have been taken at Tollcross and the car is at the bottom of Lauriston Place.

There is a photo on the centre pages of a book I have called 'A Nostalgic Look At Edinburgh Trams Since 1950' by Graham H. E. Twaddle."

For copyright reasons, I'm not able to reproduce the photograph that Donald mentions.  However, Donald gave a good description of the photograph which was taken in 1956.  Donald wrote:

"The building on the left of the picture in the book appears to be the same building as in the cable car photo. As for the date, it would have to be after 10th September 1901 when Mound to Marchmont services commenced.  As far as I can determine there were no cable car services to the Mound prior to that date."

Donald also referred to a large Ekco advert that was displayed high on the wall of the building with the curved frontage.  He added:


"A piece of trivia, incidentally. The name Ekco, a once famous brand of radio, television and electrical goods, came from the company founder, Mr. E. K. Cole, or so I was told by an old journeyman of mine."

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  June 4, 2008




Neil Lawrence

Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

Thank you to Neil Lawrence, for also identifying the same location, without having had the benefit of reading answers 1, 2 and 3 above.

Lawrence provided a large scale map of the area around Lauriston Place, Tollcross, and wrote:


Edinburgh Cable Car  -  when and where? ©

"I was looking with interest at your photo above.  I think the location for this photograph was Tollcross.

The curved building at the back looks very like the old Elizabeth pub that was at 172 Lauriston Place, right on the corner of High Riggs.  When it was demolished the site became the infamous Goldberg's triangle car park."

Neil Lawrence, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh:  June 4, 2008




Terry Cox

Fairmilehead, Edinburgh

Thank you to Terry Cox for also identifying the location as Tollcross, without having had the benefit of reading answers 1, 2 3 and 4 above.

Terry wrote:


"I can’t say when the photo was taken, but it looks like the car is coming down Lauriston Place, to do a left hand turn into Brougham Street.

That looks like the pub called the Tollcross Bar at the back of the car, with High Riggs going off to the left. The man in the foreground is sitting on the wall round the Gents toilets, which were underground.

The pub was demolished in the mid to late fifties.  The usual is view is from further back, with various adverts on the gable end above the pub front. My interest is that just off to the right out of shot is the tenement where I was brought up – it was demolished in the early seventies."

Terry Cox, Fairmilehead, Edinburgh:  June 4, 2008


Terry's comments above about the 'usual view' are born out by the photos that Bryan Gourlay and Donald Grant refer to above, particularly the photo that Donald mentions with the Ekco advertisement on the gable end.

- Peter Stubbs:  June 6, 2007




Terry Cox

Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

Terry Cox added:

Tram Lines

" I checked with a photograph that I have at home, alleged to be from 1914, showing the adverts, and it confirmed the location.  The photo is alleged to be from 1914, though I have no way of confirming that.

The tram lines are the same on both photos, going into Brougham Street."

Terry Cox:  June 6, 2008

Pub and Restaurant

"One other comment. Neil Lawrence mentioned the Elizabeth pub.  I wouldn’t like to contradict that, but I always knew it as the Tollcross Bar.

Perhaps he is confusing the pub's name with it with the Elizabeth (or Elizabethan, my memory is a bit hazy on it) Restaurant which was on the other side of the road, almost at the junction with Brougham Street."

Terry Cox, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh:  June 6, 2008




Donald Grant

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Donald Grant who has has sent the following message after reading Answers 4 and 5 above.

Donald wrote:

Tram Lines

"I've just seen Terry Cox's comments on the photo (5 above).

Note that it is on the left of the two sets of tracks. That should mean that it has just turned right out of Brougham Street and is about to proceed up Lauriston Place towards its destination at the Mound."

Donald added:

"It's interesting to see that in the right foreground another set of tracks can be seen but without the central cable conduit.

I'm tempted to say that they are the remnants of an abandoned horse tram route as they seem to come to an abrupt halt but I could not give an authoritative answer on that."

Pub and Restaurant

"Neil Lawrence names the pub as 'The Elizabeth'.  Whilst I can't dispute that .  I just don't know.

But it's interesting to note that there is an 'Elizabeth Restaurant' just in shot in the photo that I referred to in 'Answer 4' above.

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  June 6, 2008





Chichester, West Sussex, England

I mentioned that the destination board on this tram read 'Mound and Tollcross'.

Edinburgh Cable Car  -  when and where? ©

Thank you to Brian who wrote:

Destination Board

"My father was a great tram enthusiast.  He lived in Dundee when the last trams were running.

I still have this sign that he collected from one of them."

Edinbrgh Tram Destination Board  -  "via Mound and Tollcross" ©

Bruce, Chichester West Sussex, England:  February 22, 2009



Alex Palmer

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thank you to Alex Palmer who wrote:


High Riggs

"The street at the back of the tram looks like High Riggs, and that the photo was possibly taken from Tollcross, where there were tram stops, a men's lavatory and a police box."

Alex Palmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota:  April 16, 2011




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