Madelvic Community

Made in Granton

Exhibition:    Photos, Films, Talks

 

Saturday 24 October 2015

11am to 2.30pm

Admission:  FREE

Madelvic House, Granton Park Avenue, Edinburgh

Please see the two posters below and this Wordpress blog for further details

Poster 1

Exhibition 2015 - Made in Granton - Poster for 24 October 2015
Reproduced with acknowledgement to Trinity Community Council and Madelvic Community

Poster 2

Exhibition 2015 - Made in Granton - Poster for 24 October 2015

Reproduced with acknowledgement to Trinity Community Council and Madelvic Community

 

 

Comment

1.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

'Made in Granton'

The Talk

"I visited the 'Made in Granton' Exhibition on 24 October and enjoyed listening to the talk given by Kenneth Williamson with contributions by Donald McDonald and others.

Kenneth has a keen interest in transport, including trains and trams in Edinburgh and further afield, as can be seen from his Trainbuff.net web site.

I'd like to thank Kenneth for sharing so many of his memories of growing up in Granton.  (I hope my recollections of his talk, below, are reasonably accurate!) 

Kenneth spoke about:

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Granton Hotel was the original building on the  east side at Granton Square.  It is no longer a hotel, but its name can still be seen on the building.

When Queen Victoria visited Edinburgh in 1837, she arrived at Granton Harbour before the Edinburgh Officials had turned up to greet her, so she stopped at Granton Hotel for a coffee.

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Granton Tap was one of the bars at Granton Hotel.  Its entrance was in Lower Granton Road. 'The Tap' was very convenient for anybody arriving at Granton Harbour.

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Granton Ferry used to run to Burntisland from Granton in the 19th century.  Its demise began with the opening of the Forth Bridge in 1890.

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Granton Railway Station on Middle Pier closed in 1925, despite the building of many new  new streets of houses in the area at that time.

In 1963, there was a rail tour that ran past Trinity Station then along the North British Railway embankment beside Lower Granton Road to the site of the old station on Middle Pier.  This was followed by another excursion to Middle Pier, a few years later.

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A Coal Yard and Wood Yard were at the entrance to Middle Pier from Granton Square.  Kenneth used to work in the coal yard on Saturday mornings, breaking up coal then going around Granton selling it to the houses.  Some Saturdays all his coal was sold by 9.30am and he could go home again; other Saturdays,  it took him until lunchtime to sell it all.

Anybody of the ladies who wanted coal delivered to their house just hung out of their window as the coal man passed, and it would be delivered.  On one occasion Kenneth delivered coal to a house but the occupant did not want it.  She was just hanging out the window to have a chat with her neighbour.  Kenneth did not want to carry the coal away again, and the lady was persuaded to pay for it.

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Fish nets were made by ladies in their huts near the timber yard at the entrance to  Granton Harbour.

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Cobbler's shop, Hardy's sweet shop, Taxi Office.  were in a row beside the station on Middle Pier.

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Fish from the Trawlers. Some of the fish would be dropped deliberately by the men as it was being transferred from the boats to lorries.  The local people who had come down to the harbour would scramble to pick it up and take it home.

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Devlin's Yard.  Devlin had a fleet of trawlers. His yard was near Granton Square, between Lower Granton Road and Granton Road.

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Granton Square was a hub for trams.  They went to many destinations across Edinburgh.  Kenneth showed some of his photos of trams at the square, including one with the tram driver and conductor dressed in their summer outfits - flat caps with white brims.

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Esparto Grass arrived by ship from North Africa and was then transported by lorries and trains to Penicuik and Balerno for making paper. 

Tortoises and snakes and other beasts could be found in the grass when it reached Granton.  Many locals found these tortoises in the grass, took them home and built a little run for thm in their gardens.

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Steam trains brought coal from the Lothian coal fields to the harbour.  Sometimes, the fire in the steam engines set fire to the esparto grass.  When this happened, Kenneth and his friends would amuse themselves by finding more material to add to the fire and keep it alight.

The Duke of Buccleuch was paid 2d for every trainload of coal that crossed his land.

The engine drivers allowed Kenneth and friends  to travel on the engine footplates, but the boys had to duck down so that they would not be seen by those in charge when the engines went into the Caledonian Railway goods station.  This station is now part of Waugh's scrap yard, to the west of Granton Square.

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Brechin's Boat Yard was beside Granton harbour where Kenneth remembers once seeing a steam trawler with its sails being broken up.  The yard closed following a fire.

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Playing with Bows and Arrows was a popular activity for Kenneth and his friends at the harbour.  The boys bought canes, for arrows, from the local drysalter.  On one occasion, they attached nails to the ends of their canes and used  them to go shooting the rats that lived under the pier at the harbour!

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A Toll Road was planned by the Duke of Buccleuch, on his land to the west of Granton Harbour, but tolls were never charged.

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Ice Factories.  There was an ice factory half-way along Middle Pier on the west side of the pier.  It delivered ice direct to the ships and also came up with the idea of providing ice cubes for drinks.  There was another ice factory nearby.  It was along West Harbour Road.

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Gun Powder Storage.  This was a building on Middle Pier that trains could run through.  It is still there now, but empty. It is half-way along Middle Pier on the east side of the pier.  After being used for gun powder storage, the building became an office of the General Steam Navigation Company.

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Eastern Breakwater.  This is where Kenneth and friends went fishing.  They were not allowed to fish from Middle Pier or from the Western Breakwater which was very industrial.  Most of the time the boys did what they were told!

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Wardie Bay.  This was the place to swim, but not wearing today's fashions.  The boys had knitted swimming trunks!

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Lighthouse.  The lighthouse on West Harbour Road was used for training.  Occasionally the light was lit for trawlers, but it was a long way from the sea!

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Post Office.  The Post office was on the corner of Granton Square and Granton Road.  It later became Jaws takeaway.  Its name has since changed, but it is still a take-away snack bar.

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Church.  The church at the foot of Granton Road, near Granton Square was, built by the Duke of Buccleuch.  That's the church that he used to attend.

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Police Houses were in Granton Road, a few yards above the church.  They are still standing, but are no longer used as Police Houses.

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The Square Centre was near the foot of Granton Road, between the church and the Police Houses.  That's where guides, cubs and other groups for youths who met there.,

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Onion Johnny sold his onions from door to door around Granton

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The Rag & Bone Man offered toffee apples and balloons to the children in return for old clothes.

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A Seik can be seen beside the station in Middle Pier with his suitcase in one of Kenneth's photos.  He used to sell goods from his suitcase, from door to door around Granton.

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Granton Gas Works had its own station with trains for the workers running from Princes Street Station. The service was discontinued after a bus service began to operate in the area.

On arriving at the station, the workers climbed up to the first floor where they clocked in, then walked across the gantry to their work.

The old station building has been restored by Centrica, and it is hoped that a good use will soon be found for it.

It has large Coats of Arms for Edinburgh and Leith and a large clock on its frontage.  The clock is not electrical, but is needs to be wound up with a big  winding handle.

Inside the gas works, a 2ft gauge railway was used for moving the coal around.  One of Kenneth's photos showed the railway.  All the railway workers in his photo, are female, so the photo must have been taken during the 1st World War, 1914-18.

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Trains on the Caledonian Railway Line at Granton took bi products, coke and bitumen (used to make rubber products) away from the Granton Gas Works.

As the railway line approached Granton Square, it  crossed over West Harbour Road.  There were no gates or other means of separating the train from the traffic - just a railway man who stepped down from his cab to stop the cars as the train progressed.  Kenneth said he never heard of any accidents happening there.  'The train was big, so you kept out of its way'

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The Custom House was beside West Harbour Road near Granton Square, close to where the railway from Granton Gas works and the other industries in the area used to cross the road reach Granton Harbour.  It is now used by businesses, including a picture framing business.

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Granton Gas Works Pond was intended to be used in the event of fire at the gas works.  The area was 'strictly out of bounds' to the children, so Kenneth and his friends never went there.  It was believed that two children had once drowned there.

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A Diesel Shunter used to operate along the piers at Granton Harbour.  They shunted the coal waggons and took them up to Granton Gas works.

There was also a diesel shunter that shunted waggons at the Texaco sidings, between Granton Harbour and Granton Gas Works.  This has now been restored and is stored at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum in  Lathalmond, Fife.

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Regent Oil works were between Granton Harbour and Granton Gas Works.  They later became Texaco Oil.  The company produced fuel for aircraft that was taken to Prestwick by train.

Goods trains continued to run from the area and along the old NOrth British Railway embankment, over the bridge with the 'tram pinch' at the foot of Trinity Road and past Trinity Station until the 1980s.

The lines were lifted.  Some of the lines and trucks were taken to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society's line at Bo'ness, West Lothian.

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Football Matches took place every week between the boys from Granton and boys from Wardieburn, often with over 20 boys on each side.

On one occasion, Kenneth and his friends went to Beattie's timber yard and begged to be given sacks of sawdust.  They used the sawdust to 'line out' their football pitch, as they had seen done on some of the larger football pitches.  It looked good until the rain came.

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International Football Matches were played between the Granton boys and the crews of German trawlers berthed at Granton.  The Germans used to give cigarettes.

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Ruberoid and Caroline Foundry were two more of the industries to be found to the west of Granton Harbour, near the gas works.

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Flemings produced their inks at Caroline Park, near the gas works.  Sometimes the company was responsible for colouring the waters in the Forth red or blue or green!

Caroline Park, and its old walled garden, is now in private ownership.

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National Museum of Scotland storage rooms  are also nearby.  They are between West Granton Road and Waterfront Avenue.

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A Football Pitch could be found in the open ground to the east of Granton Gas Works.  The changing room there was an old tram.

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Crew Junction was on the railway line from Princes Street to Granton Gas Works and Granton Harbour.  The area was later developed with housing and 'Crew' became known as 'Crewe', as in Crewe Toll.

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Northern General Hospital was built at Ferry Road for treating TB sufferers.

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Pilton Halt was beside the Northern General Hospital and Bruce Peebles' factory.  To discourage the enemy from attacking the station and Bruce Peebles during World War II,, men with guns used to patrol the Pilton Halt platforms, but their guns were imitations made from wood!

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A Tunnel ran from Ainsley Park School to Granton Gas Works.  That's where the Ainsley Park pupils used to go, to smoke their cigarettes.

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An Electric Railway ran inside  Bruce Peebles' works.  It was very basic, built by the Bruce Peebles workers.  The workers later modified it, using parts from one of the paraffin companies' railways.

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Old prams with large wheels, used to be seen around the streets.  They were used for transporting children, and also for carrying fish that had 'fallen off lorries' and coal that had 'fallen off trains'.

Kenneth mentioned that, on one occasion, he saw a pram on board the platform of a tram, tied on to the tram with a rope.  He does not know what or who was in the pram.

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Granton Western Harbour was used both by ships  bringing in esparto grass and by oil tankers.   The harbour was large enough for the tankers to turn around inside it.

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Granton Road Station was on the line from Princes Street to Leith.  This was the point of departure for children from Granton School going to trips to the Trossachs and to 'Down the Water' from Glasgow.

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Medalvic Car Works  lies derelict, beside the building that housed today's 'Made in Granton' exhibition.

This was one of the earliest car factories in Britain.  It was over a century ahead of its time, in making electric cars around 1900!

 

 

Future Plans

for Medalvic House

It was announced, last Saturday, that there were plans to create a North Edinburgh Archive, to be housed in Madelvic House, the building where today's exhibition was on display.  An appeal was made for people to contribute items towards this archive.

 

 

 

 

 

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