Edinburgh New Town

Atholl Crescent

Off Shandwick Place between West End and Haymarket


Recollections by Alan Fentiman

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

Thank you to Alan Fentiman for sending the memories below.  Alan used to live in Edinburgh and attended Trinity Academy 1967-72.

Alan wrote:

A Base in Town

"My sisters and I were children in the mid 60’s and lived at Gracemount.  We were fortunate that our Grannie Hardie lived in Atholl Crescent, in the centre of town. Her house was very handy as a base (and toilet) when we were in town.

She was also a larger-than-life character and always seemed pleased to see her many grandchildren. Her house was a spacious basement flat and we all have happy memories of that happy home, including damp ridden walls and cold stone floors."

Saturday Mornings

"On summer Saturday mornings we would get the bus down to Princes Street and go to the Ross Bandstand. I don’t recall much of the entertainment but there was singing and dancing which we all joined in.

Then, thanks to the proximity of grannie's house, we would make our way to Atholl Crescent.  Sometimes when we arrived she was in the middle of baking scones or making pancakes. There's nothing quite like either of these delicacies hot, with melted butter on them.

Even turning up unexpectedly, we were guaranteed something to eat and drink. Plain fare, but delicious. She could conjure up a plate of chips and a cup of tea before you had time to get back from the outside loo!"

School Holidays

"One of my own treats during the school summer holidays would be to spend the day with grannie. A typical day would be to get a number 31 bus from Lasswade Road down to the stop at Atholl Place. Gran’s house was only a short skip and jump from there.

I would sometimes be asked to empty the mousetrap - a detestable job but one which made me feel like a grown up in grannie’s eyes. She was always full of praise for a good job done when the poor wee mite was buried in the back garden."


"On some occasions I would chum her up to Dalry Road to help her with her shopping. This was usually rewarded with 3d to spend. Other times she would ask me to go and get one or two things for her.

I recall being sent to the 'Dummy' (Dumfriesshire Dairy Co) in West Maitland Street for milk and, I think, Scott Lyons for bread (or was there a bakers in Morrison Street?) I was to get 'a well-done wheaten loaf'. I rehearsed it so many times before arriving at the shop."


"If I had 3d to spend, I would usually dally outside the sweet shop just along from the 'Dummy' gorging my eyes on the wonderful array of loose sweets they kept in little glass bowls in the window. I don’t recall ever going into that shop as my 3d wasn’t up to it.  Instead, it was round to Jenny Halliday’s shop, I think in Grove Street. The sweets had to be very carefully picked with a mixture of nice tasty and long-lasting."

Return Home

"After what felt like a long, calm, relaxing day at my grannie’s house I would set off home – often walking all the way to Gracemount, sometimes doing that thing where I would run full pelt for a couple of streets, then walk again, getting my breath back. It was a long walk but I was usually in a happy mood – and it saved me 3d."


"Grannie moved from 18A Atholl Crescent in 1972 and passed away in 1993 at the age of 98The whole family misses her.

A clear thinking cousin had the lovely idea of placing a bench in her memory in the gardens at Atholl Crescent, just across from the basement flat at 18A. It sits there proudly today – a pleasant spot where we can still visit Grannie Hardie in Atholl Crescent."

Alan Fentiman, Bournemouth, Dorset, England:  July 5, 2008

Atholl Crescent Gardens

Here s a photo of Alan Fentiman, aged about 4 or 5, taken with his Uncle Alex Hardie in Atholl Crescent Gardens, close to his grandmother's house:


    Alan Fentiman and his uncle Alex Hardie in Atholl Crescent Gardens, 1959/60 ©


Recollections  -  More Pages

Recollections  -   Contributors