Edinburgh at Work

Photography Project

Photograph of people at work in Burton's Biscuit Factory  -  with 'Edinburgh at Work' title ©




Companies Visited

Please scroll down this page to see links to some of the photos that I took on my 'Edinburgh at Work' project in  the 1990s OR

click on this link to see the some photos of 'Scotland at Work' covering other parts of Scotland.





Edinburgh at Work  -  Anderson's Cooperage  -  Leith Docks ©

1992 and 1993

Anderson's Cooperage

Anderson's Cooperage opened in Leith Docks in 1991.

It was a small company employing coopers who had previously worked for Kinnairds.

The company survived for a few years.



Edinburgh at work  -  Baker & Clairmount, linotype printers ©


Baker & Clairmount

linotype printers

In the early 1990, there were only two hot metal printers left in Edinburgh:

-   Speedspools (who used monotype equipment)

-   Baker & Clairmount (who used linotype equipment.

Both have since closed. 

Bank of Scotland Bank Notes about to be burnt ©


Bank of Scotland


I took photos of both Bank of Scotland (now HBoS) and the Royal Bank of Scotland burning their old banknotes, withdrawn from circulation in the early 1990s.

Here are the Bank of Scotland photos.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Brodie, Hamilton, Melrose  -  Tea and Coffee ©


Brodie, Hamilton, Melrose

tea and coffee

Brodie Hamilton Melrose was, an old-established Leith company that was based at 130 Constitution Street, Leith.

Around 1994, they moved to new premises at Dock Street, Leith, trading as 'Brodies'

Edinburgh at Work  -  Brodies  -  Tea and Coffee ©



tea and coffee

The workforce of Drysdale and Brodie, Hamilton, Melrose came together in 1991 following a takeover.

The company moved to new premises in Dock Street, Leith, around 1994 and traded 'Brodies'.

Burton's Biscuits ©


Burton's Biscuits

Burton's Biscuits have a modern factory at Sighthill.

They are the largest manufacturer of Rich Tea Biscuits in Europe.

Bruce Lindsay Waldie  -  Coal Merchants ©

1990 to 1993

Bruce Lindsay Waldie

Coal Merchants

In the early 1990s, Bruce Lindsay Waldie had an old coal yard immediately to the west of Haymarket station.

They then moved to larger premises with more modern equipment beside the railway, off Sir Harry Lauder road at Portobello.



A picture of Benjamin Franklin using a printing press  -  on the wall of the Cafe Royal, Edinburgh ©


Café Royal

Inside the main bar of the Café Royal there are some attractive murals of industries, made from tiles.

I believe that these were created for one of the early exhibitions in Edinburgh, possibly 1886.

Caledonian Brewery  -  Real Ale ©


Caledonian Brewery

Caledonian is a  prize-winning brewery making traditional ale beside the railway at Slateford.

Central Demolition - a worker supervises the burning of material during the demolition of Edinburgh's Northern General Hospital ©


Central Demolition

Based at Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, but frequently found in Edinburgh.

Chapham Inveresk, envelope manufacturers, McDonald Road, Edinburgh ©


Chapman Inveresk

envelope manufacturers

Chapman Inveresk works in McDonald Road produced envelopes until the works closed  on December 18, 1991.

At the time of my visit in November 1991, some of the machinery had already been moved to new premises in Lanarkshire.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Chancelot Mill, Western Harbour, Leith Docks ©

1993 to 1994

Chancelot Mill

flour milling

[Leith Docks]

Chancelot Mill was once a prominent landmark at Bonnington with a tower and large clock faces.

Around 1970, the mill moved to Western Harbour, Leith, now part of the Edinburgh Waterfront development area.

Christmas Tree Warehouse at Canonmills  -  December 1992 ©

1991  to  1996

Christmas Tree Warehouse


When Clarks Stonemasons moved from Canonmills to  West Shore Road in 1991, this left the premises vacant for the next four years.

They were used each December until 1995 to sell Christmas trees.

In 1996, the building was demolished and Christmas trees were sold from the yard.

Edinburgh at Work  -  George Christie's Building Yard  -  Albert Street, off Easter Road ©

1991  to  1996

George Christie Building Supplies

(Easter Road)

George Christie's, in 1991, had a large yard of building supplies and two floors of metal workshops and storage. 

The premises had been used previously by Cowans as a transport yard and stables.

The area has now been redeveloped as housing.

Clark Stonemasons  -  Canonmills, Edinburgh  -  carving stone ©



(Stonecraft) stonemasons at Canonmills

Clarks Stonemasons were based at Canonmills until 1991, when they moved to West Shore Road, Granton, leaving their Canonmills premises to be used for selling Christmas trees for the next couple of years, before being demolished.

Clark Stonemasons  -  West Short Road, Granton, Edinburgh  -  1995 ©



at Granton

After leaving Canonmills,  Clark stonemasons moved to West Shore Road at Granton - now part of the Edinburgh Waterfront.

David Lindsay Formerly with Clark stonemasons ( I believe) set up his own stonemasons business beside Clarke at Granton.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Crabbies Green Ginger, Great Junction Street, Leith ©

1992 and 1993


Green Ginger wine

Crabbies Green Ginger wine was made at Great Junction Street, Leith for many decades until it closed in the 1990s.

I believe that the Crabbies building has now been converted to housing.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Craig & Rose, Paint Manufacturers, Leith Walk, Edinburgh ©

1991 and 1992

Craig & Rose

Paint manufacture

Craig & Rose had a factory making paint, on the west side of Leith Walk, between Leith and Pilrig.

Their greatest claim to fame was that they manufactured the paint used for the Forth Bridge for over 100 years.

In the mid-1990s, the company moved to Fife.

Robert Cresser's Brush Shop at 40 Victoria Street, Edinburgh ©

1991 to 2001

Robert Cresser


Robert Cresser, brush makers, were established in 1873

The company had a brush shop in Victoria Street. 

The shop closed in the early years of C21.

Edinburgh at Work - Croan & Son, kippers ©

1991 to 1994

Croan & Sons



Croan & Sons had a large low kipper factory, close to Newhaven Fishmarket,  where they smoked kippers over a fire of oak sawdust.

The factory moved in the mid-1990s, further west along the coast to West Shore Road, Granton.



Duncan's Chocolate Factory  -  Beaverhall Road, Edinburgh,  1991  -  a worker ©



chocolate factory

Duncan's chocolate factory moved from Edinburgh to Bellshill, Lanarkshire, around 1994.  I believe that Duncans is now owned by a company based somewhere around Cumbria.

Jeanette Campbell tells me that she won a competition in her local newspaper to open the Duncan's factory at Bellshill, by pressing a button to start the machinery.  She is now looking for a photo of the occasion.  If you know such a photo, please email me, then I'll pass on the news to Jeanette.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Drysdale  -  Tea and Coffee ©



tea and coffee

Drysdale was founded in 1878.

When I took these photos in 1991, the company was based at Grove Street, Fountainbridge  -  but not for much longer!



Minor Repair to a bus iin Eastern Scottish Bus Depot at New Street, Edinburgh ©


Eastern Scottish

bus depot

Eastern Scottish bus depot was at New Street, near Waverley Station, until the 1990s.

After Eastern Scottish moved out, the building has been used as a car park.  The site is now [2004] due to be redeveloped.

Farrier and Horse ©


Equine Hoof Care

A travelling farrier, here seen working on a farm near South Queensferry.



Forth Rail Bridge ©

1992 and 1993

Forth Bridge 1990s

Painting the bridge

Some of these photos were taken in 1992 and 1993 when the bridge was being painted and the track re-laid.

Following major changes in  responsibilities for maintenance of the bridge, I returned to take more photos in 2005.

The 'health and safety' requirements had been considerably tightened, so I could not repeat the top photo (opposite).

The Forth Rail Bridge is now (in 2005) in the middle of a 7-year repainting programme. When complete, around 2009, the paint is expected to last for a further 20 years.

Workers on the Forth Rail Bridge ©


Forth Bridge 2005

Painting the bridge



Edinburgh at Work  -  Harry Ramsden Fish Restaurant ©


Harry Ramsden

Fish Restaurant

Newhaven Fishmarket, beside the harbour was converted in the early 1990s to become:

-  a smaller fishmarket.

-  a Newhaven heritage museum

-  a Harry Ramsden restaurant

The restaurant closed after a few years, and has now become a Loch Fyne restaurant.

Edinburgh at Work  -  James Hewit & Sons  -  Tannery at Currie, Edinburgh ©

1992 and 2006

J Hewit & Sons


J Hewit & Sons tannery is at Currie, about 5 miles SW of the centre of Edinburgh.

I believe that Hewit's tannery may have previously been the premises of Balerno Paper Mill which started in the 1770s.

Before moving to their premises at Currie originated at the City Tan Works around 1850 on North Greys and Morrison Closes between John Knox's house and North Bridge.

The company was still in business in 2006, but had gone, and the whole site had been flattened by 2013

This web page gives a potted history of the company.



George Jamieson in his taxidermy workshop at Cramond Tower ©

1991 + 2013

George Jamieson


George does his taxidermy work from a workshop beside his his home at Cramond Tower, Cramond, Edinburgh



The Lady Haig Poppy Factory, Warriston, Edinburgh - Photo taken January 2015 ©


Lady Haig's Poppy Factory

Lady Haig's Poppy Factory opened in Edinburgh in 1926 at Canongate Poppy Factory, the grounds of Whitefoord House, 53 Canongate.

It moved to Warriston, Edinburgh, beside the Water of Leith where it produced over 5 million poppies and 15,000 wreaths in 2014.

   Edinburgh at Work  -  Laing's Foundry at Powderhall , Edinburgh ©

1991 to 2006

Charles Laing & Sons


This Foundry is one of the few remaining small industries still operating in the Powderhall district of Edinburgh.

The company, a family owned business, was founded in the 1920s. 

It got into financial difficulties and went into liquidation, but the owner, Andrew Laing, soon re-established the business around 2011 as Laing's Foundry Ltd.

Much of the company's work, street furniture and railings, can be found in the streets of Edinburgh.

Roberet Lamb, Wood flour Mill, 23 Dunedin Street ©

1991 to 1993



Robert Lamb

flour mill

Robert Lamb ghad a flour mill at Dunedin Street, Warriston.

 Most of their output went to the linoleum manufacturers in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

The company closed around the late 1990s and new housing was built on the site.

Leith Dry Docks ©

1989 to 1992

Leith Docks

Dock Cranes
Dry Docks
Royal Navy

There is now less commercial shipping activity in Leith Docks  than there was a century ago.

Recent increased security measures have made photography more difficult.

Now, several major new housing developments are underway around Leith's Western Harbour.

David Lindsay Stonemasons  -  West Shore Road, Granton  -  1995 ©

1991  to  2005

David Lindsay


David Lindsay was based at West Shore Road, from 1991 but moved out of the area, probably in the late 1990s, to make way for the  Edinburgh Waterfront developments.

He still works in the stone industry, in Livingston (2006) but is no longer carving stone.

Lonsdale & Dutch  -  Tinsmiths  -  Howe Street, Edinburgh New Town  -   1992 ©

1991 to 2007

Lonsdale & Dutch


Lonsdale & Dutch is a small tinsmith in a basement in Edinburgh's New Town.

The company has worked for the National Trust and has produced a wide range of lanterns.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Lothian Region Drainage Dept   -  Laying drains underground near the new Edinburgh International Conference Centre ©


Lothian Region Drainage Dept

laying drains

Here, Lothian Region Water & Drainage Dept was installing new drainage deep underground close to where the Edinburgh International Conference Centre now stands in Morrison Street.

The tunnels were being blasted, drilled then dug out.  They extended for 300 meters underground.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Lothian Region Transport  -  Shrubhill Works ©

1990 to 1996


Lothian Region Transport


Lothian Buses

Edinburgh Corporation became LRT (Lothian Region Transport).  It is now 'Lothian Buses PLC'.

Several of these 1990s photos were taken at the LRT workshops at Shrubhill, now closed.  The site is soon to be used for housing.

Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  -  December 2002  -  Fire in the Old Town of Edinburgh  -  The South Bridge ©

1993 to 2002

Lothian & Borders
Fire Brigade

Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade now has new fire stations at Tollcross and Newcraighall in Edinburgh, a far cry from the very small stations in the Edinburgh suburbs of the early-1900s



George Mackay - Bolwing Green Bowl Makers  -  Photographed 1991 ©

1991  to 2006

George Mackay

bowling green bowl maker

George Mackay's workshop is at the foot of Blackfriars Street, near the Cowgate, in the Old Town of Edinburgh.

It is now run as a 'one-man' business by Ronnie, who has worked for the company for many years.

So far as I know, it is the only surviving old workshop in the area.  It is one of the few remaining bowls makers in the world.

Alexander McLennan with his hammer, in the middle of his blacksmiths workshop at Powderhall ©


Alexander McLennan


Alexander McLennan is still in business in 2004, at Powderhall.

Most of the other industries have now left the area.


 1992 to 1996

Miller & Co


London Road

Miller's Foundry established their foundry in London Road in 1867.  It lay  about a 1/4 mile to the west of where Meadowbank Stadium was built.

The foundry closed in 1991 and was demolished.

Meadowbank Retail Park was built on the site in 1996.

Monktonhall Colliery ©


Monktonhall Colliery

coal mine

My first tour of the mine was in the 1960s, soon after the mine opened, employing almost  2,000 workers.

In June 1992, operation of the mine passed to Monktonhall Mineworkers Ltd. 

I returned to the mine in 1993 to take some photos.  There were 187 workers. The mine had a 100,000 contract with SSEB that year, but the mine later encountered problems underground and had to close permanently.



Newhaven Fishmarket  -  1 ©

1991 to 1992

Newhaven Fishmarket

Newhaven Fishmarket, beside Newhaven Harbour, is still open but only a third the size it was in the early 1990s.

North British Distillery  -  The Cooperage Yard ©


North British Distillery

The NB Distillery is near Hearts' football ground at Gorgie.

Their maltings are at Slateford Road

Their cooperage and bonded warehouses are at Muirhall, West Calder, West Lothian.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Northern Lighthouse Board ©

1991 to 2001

Northern Lighthouse Board

Northern Lighthouse Board occupied premises in West Harbour Road, Granton, with a lighthouse frontage, until around 2002.

At the back of the site were workshops and a yard.



Rank Hovis  -  Caledonia Mill, Western Harbour, Leith Docks ©


Rank Hovis

Flour Mill
Leith Docks

Caledonia Mill (owned by Rank Hovis) was an old mill situated immediately to the north of Chancelot Mill at Leith Western Harbour.

Caledonia Mill closed on February 8, 1991.  The mill has now been demolished.

Ritchie watch and clock repairs below the shop at 54 Broughton Street ©

1991 to 1996

James Ritchie & Son

Clock Makers and Edinburgh Clock Winder

In Edinburgh, James Ritchie & Son had a shop and watch repair operation at Broughton Street.  This has now moved to Howe Street.

The company also held the contract for winding and repairing Edinburgh's public clocks.

Repairs of large public clocks were carried out at the company's works in Livingston, now moved Broxburn,  West Lothian.

Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  August 2002  -  St Andrew's Square  -  Bus Stop  -  Picture 1 ©



Workers seen in the streets of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Royal Bank of Scotland ©

1991 to 1993

Royal Bank of Scotland

Burning £1 million of used banknotes in the furnace at the St Andrew Square Office, Edinburgh.

This practice has now ended!



Edinburgh at Work  -  Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI ) fertiliser plant at Leith Docks ©



fertiliser manufacturers

Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI) is a subsidiary of ICI.

In the 1990s, it had a chemical plant at Leith Docks, along the northern edge of the docks beside the Firth of Forth, to the east of the harbour entrance, manufacturing fertilisers.

The plant has now closed and the site has been cleared.

Read more:

 SAI background

Saxe Shaw, using a quill to draw his cat ©


Sax Shaw

Artist, tapestry, stained glass worker

Sax Shaw studied art in Edinburgh.  He exhibited his paintings in Paris in 1948.

He was probably in his 70s when we met, as he worked at his home and studio at Howe Street in 1991, shortly before he died.

He told me that he has done some drawing or painting every day since he was aged 15.

St Cuthbert's Milk Deliveries  -  January 1985 ©



milk deliveries

St Cuthbert's Co-op (later Scotmid, from 1981, following a merger) delivered milk around Edinburgh by horse-drawn milk float for 125 years until 1985.

Their dairy was at Fountainbridge and stables were in Grove Street.

When the horse-drawn deliveries came to an end, the co-op  had 12 Irish gelding horses. 8 went to good homes and 4 were kept for weddings and other events.


1991 to 1994



Scotmid maintained their own coaches, coaches for a few individuals, and also the Queen's coaches, the work being done at the rate of one coach per year, until the work was completed around 1990.  The coachworks closed in the mid-1990s

Scottish & Newcastle Breweries  -  The Yard ©

1992 to 1993

Scottish & Newcastle


Scottish & Newcastle's Edinburgh brewery was at Fountainbridge, beside the canal.

First, the plant for filling kegs closed around the late 1990s.

Then, the brewery and plant for filling cans on the south side of Fountainbridge closed in 2005.

Edinburgh at work  -  Speedspools - monotype printers ©

1991  to 1994


monotype printers

In the early 1990, there were only two hot metal printers left in Edinburgh:

-   Speedspools (who used monotype equipment)

-   Baker & Claremont (who used linotype equipment.

Both have since closed. 

Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  August 2002  -  St Andrew's Square  -  Bus Stop  -  Picture 1 ©


Street Views

Workers seen around the streets of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh at Work  -   Window cleaners clean one of the domes on the roof of The Standard Life Assurance Company's new administrative office at Tanfield, Edinburgh ©


Standard Life
Assurance Co

Window cleaners cleaning one of the three domes on the roof of Tanfield House, a new administrative office for Standard Life Assurance Company

Tanfield House is close to the Water of Leith at Canonmills. It was built in 1991.

Stark Buillding Services Ltd  -  a joinery workshop at Spylaw Street, Colinton  -  March 2013 ©


Stark Building Services


This was a joinery business at Spylaw Street, Colinton  -  one of the few remaining industries still in business in Colinton when I visited the area in early-2013.
Edinburgh at Work  -  Stevenson & Cheyne, Bonnington, Edinburgh ©

1992 to 1993

Stevenson & Cheyne (1983) Ltd

Formed as a Management Buy-Out in 1983

I visited Stevenson & Cheyne in the winters of 1991-92 and  1992-93.

The company was then based in an old engineering works at Bonnington, Edinburgh, close to the Water of Leith.  It was the last remaining large industrial company in an area that was once a hive of industry.

Soon after my visit, Stevenson & Cheyne  left  Bonnington and moved to to Butlerfield Industrial Estate, Bonnyrigg,  close to the Newtongrange Mining Museum, in Midlothian.

Read more:

Stevenson & Cheyne background



Tarmac's Quarry at Ravelrig, between Balerno and Ratho ©


Tarmac Quarry


This quarry at Ravelrig, between Balerno and Ratho was still in business and busy when I visited it in 1991.

The quarry at Ratho, nearby had closed down the previous year, following a breakdown of equipment there



Edinburgh at Work  -  United Wire Works ©

1991 and 1992

United Wire Works

wire weaving

United Wire Works claims to have origins dating back to 1825.  It opened its factory at Granton Park Avenue, off West Granton Road, close to Granton Harbour, in 1925, using the former  Madelvic Car Factory.  It then built more factories in the  surrounding area.

The company is still at the same location (in 2008), and is still manufacturing wirecloth.




Waddell's Garage


Edinburgh at Work  -  Waterston's sealing wax works at Powderhall, Edinburgh   -  1994 ©

1994 to 1996

George Waterston

sealing wax works

George Waterston started to manufacture sealing wax in the Old Town of Edinburgh in 1752.

The business later moved to Warriston, and continued with a small workforce in the 1990s. 

The business was de-merged in Jun 2003 and was sold outside the family in December 2003

Whytock & Reid, Sunbury House, Belford Mews, Edinburgh - 1995 ©

1991 to 1995

Whytock & Reid


Whytock & Reid had large premises close to the Water of Leith near Dean Village, Edinburgh.  They held a Royal Warrant for many generations.

The cabinet making side of the business ran down gradually in the 2oth century.  The company closed in 2004.

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  William Waugh scrap yard  -  July 2006 ©


William Waugh

scrap merchants

For many years, William Waugh's scrap yard has occupied land between West Harbour Road and West Granton Road, close to Granton Square.

This land is now part of 'Edinburgh Waterfront', a large area earmarked for development over the next fifteen years.

So Waugh's Scrap Yard is likely to move out at some stage.




Project began in 1991

My project to photograph people at work in Edinburgh began in 1991.  I later extended it to include people at work in other parts of Scotland.

When I began the Edinburgh project, I realised that  I had already been taking a few photos of people at work around Britain, but not as part of any project.  Here are some of them, taken on holiday in Somerset in 1985.

People at work around Britain  -  Burning tar off the road at Exford, Somerset, 1985 ©



All Companies

Edinburgh at Work

   Photograph of people at work in Burton's Biscuit Factory  -  with 'Edinburgh at Work' title ©

Scotland at Work

   Carnoustie Castings ©