St John Street

Edinburgh Old Town

Leading up the hill from Holyrood Road towards Canongate

The top of St John Street

 John Gray, Stenhouse, Edinburgh



Thank you to John Gray for allowing me to reproduce this photo.

John wrote:

Iron Guttering

"This photograph is of the top of St John Street (the road leading up the hill from Holyrood Road) where St John Street leads through the pend into Canongate.

Does anybody know why just one side of this street has been reinforced with iron guttering?"

John Gray, Stenhouse, Edinburgh:  May 30, 2010

Reply to John Gray?

If you know the answer for John's question, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  June 6, 2010




Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh, who replied:

Iron Guttering

"Dredging up memories of 65 or so years ago, the pend then had iron on both sides.  I would guess that the granite side is a relatively new replacement, probably done when the sets were re-laid.  As you can, see the pavement on that side is new- looking too."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  June 6, 2010




Frank Ferri

Newhaven, Edinburgh

Thank you to Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh, who replied:

Iron Guttering

"To my recall, There was quite a few instances of iron clad guttering in days gone by.

I can only conject that it had something to do with the heavy wear and tear caused by the prolific use of iron clad wheels of the horse drawn carts.  There were many of these at one time, constantly using entrances to closes for works, breweries etc."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh:  June 7, 2010




Liz Miller

St Brelade, Jersey, Channel Islands

Thank you to Liz Miller, Jersey, Channel Islands, who replied:


"I remember that pend at the top of St Mary's Street.  I passed through it into the Canongate as I came out the side entrance from Moray House School.

I recall it as being very dark and dingy!  I don't think it had a pavement in these days, and I think it used to have a metal strip on either side of the pend. 

I think (though I could be wrong) that these metal strips enabled the wheels of the brewery carts to pass more easily over the cobbles.  I seem to think that they may even have run the length of the road, and perhaps they might have been in Holyrood road, too. 

I'm sure I have also seen them in other parts of the city.  I think the stone sets were also a type of 'easy passage' for carts, so perhaps 'The Powers That Be'  have, in recent years, laid both types down to represent a bit of history when they upgraded the pend."

Nicky's Tuck Shop

"The shop in the background was Nick's Tuck Shop in the 1950s.  We schoolchildren used to love Nick's home-made ice lollies and ice cream.

Puff Candy was another favourite, not to mention liquorice sticks which we dipped into a 'poke' of fizzy sherbet.  It's amazing what one could get for a penny in those days!

Happy memories."

Liz Miller, St Brelade, Jersey, Channel Islands:  June 7, 2010




John Clark

Ontario, Canada

Thank you to John Clark, Ontario, Canada, who wrote:

Old and Modern Flats

"I'd like to thank John Gray for that wonderful picture.

The top of St John Street

My Mum was born and raised in St John Street.  She was born directly over to the right from where the photographer stood to take this photo.  Modern flats were built there, at least 20 years ago.  I have been told that they belonged to the university and were for accommodation."

My Mother

"My Granny Kivlin raised 9 children in a very small flat -  Sarah, Jeannie, Mick, Mary, Johnnie, Lizzie, Lawrence, Jennie and Anna. My mother Anna was the youngest.

When I look at John Gray's picture, I can just imagine my Mum running through that close towards the Canongate, going to school and the shops and playing with friends. She must have used that close thousands of times."

My Aunts and Uncles

"My Mum and aunts and uncles are now long gone, but I wouldn't mind betting that the name Kivlin is remembered by lots of people.  I think I have 51 first cousins from this family.

-  Auntie Lizzie alone had 15 children, and all of them had fairly large families.

-  Auntie Sarah Houston moved to Durham at a young age.

-  Auntie Jeannie  Stevenson and Auntie Mary Keighren lived next door to each other for most of their lives on the top floor of ( I think number 18 ) East Thomas Street.

Auntie Lizzie lived most of her married years in Craigmillar Castle Terrace.

Auntie Jennie lived at 58 Granton Crescent.

It's funny, but I never got to know my uncles, Mick, Johnnie, and Lawrence."

Do you Remember the Kivlins?

"It would be nice to hear if anyone remembers any of my family, especially from the St John Street days, but that's probably going too far back."

John Clark, Ontario, Canada:  June 8 + 9, 2010

Reply to John Clark?

If you remember any of John Clark's family, and would like to tell him, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  June 12, 2010


Royal Mile Canongate