Beaverbank  Motors

The Beaverbank area of Edinburgh is situated beside the Water of Leith, about a mile to the north-east of Princes Street.

Thank you to Matt Rooney, New Cumnock. Ayrshire, Scotland, for the recollections below of industries in the Beaverbank area, including   Duncan's Chocolate Factory and Beaverbank Motors.

Aged 28, 1961

    Matt Rooney, aged 28,  with his landlady's dog

Matt wrote:

Beaverbank Motors

"My time at Beaverbank Motors was weird at times, as I learned more about hunting the shops for cigarettes than learning to be a Mechanic, and I used to be sent on little errands, like the Glass Hammer, Tartan Paint and best of all The LONG STAND, where I was missing for almost 2 Hours.

What The Mechanics didn't know was that I'd been through all this with Duncans, so I played them at their own game.

I went to visit all my old pals at Duncans and a lass called Margaret who worked in the Tyresoles Office  -  and being pally with the men and lads in Lambs Cooperage, near the garage, I got them to make me a Long Stand and had the cheek to get the Mechanics to give me a hand to carry it.

I had worked out how long it had to be so that it would fit between the work benches at the head of the Garage near to the pot bellied stove which had to heat the whole garage -  and Peter if You've been to the Wee Foundry down Beaverhall Place that's where the Garage used to be."


Yes, I know the  foundry.  Please click on the picture below to see some photos of it from the 1990s,

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

-  Peter Stubbs

"The garage was jointly owned by two cousins. One was a Turner to trade and the other was the Foreman Mechanic.  Unfortunately, I cannot recall their names.

The Boss was very friendly with William Merrilees of Police fame, and 2 Local contractors, father and son, their initials were A.R and J.R, possibly  Carmichael.

There were others in their Group.  I'm not at all sure who, but I do Know they would gamble at the Drop of a Hat."

"The boss of Beaverbank Motors was an entrepreneur.  I cannot remember his name, but he was always buying  what we thought were very odd purchases.

-  Around 1948 he bought 5 Battery Carriers.  They were similar to Bren Gun Carriers, and were used by the Tank Regiments to carry their spare batteries.  The mechanics and the two apprentices took out  the engines, Ford V-8's, which were dismantled and worked on until they were ready to be sold.  The boss then sold the remainder as scrap and made a profit on that.

-  Another time, he bought 6 Austin Army Lorries.   They were then converted by a coach builder and the engines were checked over by the mechanics and then painted and sold.

 The Head Mechanic was Mr, Michie.  The next one was Walter, a mechanic in the R.E.M.E. during the war. The Boss had a Gentleman Accountant / Secretary who had Played Football for Hibernian when he was younger."

Matt Rooney, ( now aged 73)  August 2005


More from Matt Rooney.

Other jobs - including Duncan's Chocolate Factory

Verse and Rhyme


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