Edinburgh Recollections







Alan Stewart

Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Thank you to Alan Stewart who wrote:

Clermiston House

College of Domestic Science

    Some of the family and relatives of Alan Stewart on the steps of Clermiston House, in the early-1960s ©

"My dad, Harry Stewart, had the pleasure of being caretaker of Clermiston House for the College of Domestic Science (as it was then) after they acquired the site in the early 1960s.

Though I thank them for the chance to live in such a great environment, I also curse them for demolishing a sound building (the house itself) and removing anything that gave reminders of the past."

The Previous Family

    Clermiston House, in the early-1960s ©

"The family who last lived in the house before the college acquired it (sorry cant remember their name) were a little bit eccentric (nicely) and had an en suite room especially for their Pekingese dogs.  It smelled of dog pee long after they had gone.

There was even a small dog cemetery, complete with headstones (removed by college) to the front of the house near the impressive statue (removed by college) of King James V on a horse.   It's a pity that I was not really interested who he was in these days.

    Morag Stewart5 and dog, Lassie, sitting on the statue in front of Clermiston House, in the early-1960s ©

There was also a revolving summer house on the front lawn (removed by college).


"I remember cycling down Clermiston Road.  I was near the top with a parcel to post dangling from the handlebars.  It swung into my spokes and ruined quite a few.

I stopped my bike and a man came out of a house to see if I was OK.  He asked where I lived and then identified himself as a son of the previous owner of Clermiston House.

He taped up my parcel and gave me some money to repair my bike.  It was a kind deed which I remember to this day.

Inside the House

"The house was superb.  It had a huge dining room stretching the length of the house, with magnificent chandeliers in many of the rooms.

We lived in the basement and one of my joys was to sneak upstairs to have my bath  in the floor to ceiling marbled bathroom, or pull myself upstairs in the dumb waiter.

It was the Inverarity family who lived in the house.

It was a magnificent place which was watertight and sound.  How could it ever have been allowed to be demolished?"

The Grounds

    Looking across the huge lawns towards the side of Clermiston House, in the early-1960s ©

"The grounds were pure joy.

-  large lawns. The photo above is taken looking across the huge lawns to the side of the house.

curling rink


farm buildings

quash court

sunken gardens with a pond full of tadpoles and newts in the middle (since full of concrete)

walled garden with large greenhouse

 disused outdoor swimming pool (another great source of newts and tadpoles)

long drive, alive with daffodils in spring and, best of all, the multi coloured rhododendrons.


"The Winfield family, who worked for the previous owners, were given a small cottage in, what was then, the corner of a field at the top of the road up from Corstorphine.  They were to have this cottage until the death of the mother.  The wall to the cottage used to have a post box built into it."

New Houses

"Clermiston council housing was being built at the time and, though I went to Corstorphine Primary School, I played with the kids from the scheme which was slowly filling up.  My dad used to let them play football in the field which was to the front of the house.

Keeping Pigeons

"Keeping pigeons was also big in these days and the woods between the scheme and the house were a prime place for kids, pigeon lofts to be built

I remember tumblers were much sought after, and remember going into town to a pet shop in Cockburn Street, just down the steps,to get fantails.

Does anyone remember the kids' recognition call?  It was a bit like 'eeoo eep.' 

Riding a Bull

"I remember, in the bottom field, trying to ride a smallish bull,  bareback, and being sent through the air.  I obviously survived."

No Damage

"The kids were a good lot, in general.  They never did any damage to the estate which, was right on their doorsteps.  My dad used to do his rounds in the evening with our fat family dog and gave plenty warning of his approach with occasional loud shouts of 'Get the hell out of there', even if he couldn't see anyone."

The End

"Clermiston House was a great place which had a sad and unnecessary end"

Alan Stewart:  Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland:  Oct 23 + Nov 11, 2010




Danny Callaghan

Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Thank you to Danny Callaghan who wrote:

Clermiston House

"It was sad to read of the demise of Clermiston House.  This was when they started to build the Edinburgh College of Domestic Science at Clermiston.

        Clermiston House, in the early-1960s ©

The Dough School, as it was more commonly known, was located at that time in 1 to 4 Atholl Cres, occupying the first 4 'houses' and taught domestic science teachers and chefs etc.  

The Dough School was a fond name.  Glasgow also had a Domestic College called, fondly, the Dough School."

The Dough School

"After the Dough School move to Clermiston, the building in Atholl Cres was demolished retaining the frontage and rebuild with large floor plates as headquarters for General Accident Insurance in Edinburgh.   Subsequently GA moved out and the building was taken over by Grant Thornton accountants and investment advisers."

Queen Margaret University

"Over the years, the Dough School started to diversify its courses and changed its name to Queen Margaret College, then to Queen Margaret University College and now is Queen Margaret University. 

Queen Margaret University has now has moved to a new campus near Musselburgh.  It is very much to the fore in nursing and other medical courses.   A full history can be found on the  Queen Margaret University web site."

Danny Callaghan, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland:  November 11, 2010



Marjorie Loquet (née Laidlaw)

Dorset, England

Thank you to Marjorie Loquet for posting this message in the EdinPhoto guestbook:

Clermiston House


"The owners of Clermiston House before those you mention were the Dukes of Sutherland also known as Leveson-Gower or Granville Leveson-Gower."

Marjorie Loquet (née Laidlaw), Dorset, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, January 10, 2011



Marjorie Loquet (née Laidlaw)

Dorset, England

Marjorie Loquet has written again.  Here is a message that she posted recently in the EdinPhoto guestbook:


Clermiston House

Servants in 19th Century

"Does anyone know any of the servants' names at Clermiston House around 1848 -1872?  

Are any of the relatives of those who worked still alive?

-  Have any stories about these workers or about the masters of the house, been passed down?

I am particularly interested in William Levison-Gower and his wife."

Marjorie Loquet (née Laidlaw), Dorset, England:
  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, December 19, 2012



Barbara Fleming

Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Barbara Fleming wrote:



Children's Home

"Im trying to locate a Children's Home in order to trace a child who lived there in the 1970s.  He's one of the people in a family tree that I'm researching.

This child’s half sibling remembers as a small boy visiting his brother in the home, in the 1970s when he would have been 8-years-old.  He thinks the home was called Clarewood and that it was in Drumbrae, Edinburgh.

Can you, or anyone involved in the history of this area, throw some light on which home this might have been?  It is not listed on Barnardo's list.  If I cannot find a correct name for the home my search at this point may be in vain."

Barbara Fleming, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  June 10+11, 2014

Reply to Barbara

Hi Barbara:  I think that if you look under the name of Clerwood Children's Home (rather than Clarewood Children's Home) you may find what you are looking for.

If you have any information about the home or memories of it, and  would like to contact Barbara, please email me, then I'll pass on her email address to you.

                           Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  June 10, 2014




Ray Melville

Rosyth, Fife, Scotland

Thank you to Ray Melville who wrote:

Fox Covert Hotel

"The Fox Covert Hotel was in fact built around a bungalow, named Fox Covert.  I'm sure it was a guest house to begin with and was owned by Fred Ford, the builder.  Part way through its development, the original house could still be seen among the extensions.

Clermiston House

"I don't remember Clermiston House on the west of Clermiston Road Maybe it became Queen Margaret College.  

My memory is a touch hazy about Drum Brae Drive, as that area was built in the mid 1950sI don't know if Drum Brae Drive was constructed then or existed previously.

Cycling Proficiency was taught on the Drum Brae estate roads before any houses were built there, around 1956 or 1957."


"I stayed at 'Edmondsbury' which was 69 Clermiston Road.  It was a large estate with a fine house, built in 1880, now demolished.  It had two mews houses over the old stables and coach house, one of which I lived in with my parents.

The estate was cleared around the early 1970s, I think, and flats were built there by W & JR Watsons, whose head office was at that time in Romano House, near the Corstorphine Railway Station.  Although I lived there from 1953 till 1966/7 I cannot recall the houses as described.

1912 Map

"I've just looked at the Bartholemew Map of 1912, and have found these houses at Clermiston on the map.

-  Hillwood was an old  house on the corner of Cairnmuir Road and Clermiston Road.

Clerwood was further to the north, opposite Queen Margaret College.

Clermiston House was around where Rannoch Road is now and would have been beside Buttercup Farm.

The Lea is also shown on the map, but I have no memory of that at all

Ray Melville, Rosyth, Fife, Scotland:  June 11, 2014




Linda Chatwin

Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Linda Chatwin who wrote:

Clerwood Children's Home

"My colleague, Barbara Fleming,and I are looking for David Stuart Willis, one of the children who resided at Clerwood Children's Home in the 1960s and 1970s.

Can you help at all?

Linda Chatwin, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  August 13, 2014

Reply to Linda

If you can suggest how Linda might be able to contact David Willis, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on Linda's email address to you.

      Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 17, 2014




Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ian Thomson who wrote:

Clerwood House

"My memory from the 1940s is that Clerwood House was opposite the Buttercup Farm, close to Corrie Woods.

I seem to remember an under-aged football team named Clerwood, but I don't remember a boys' home."

Plumbing Work
The Buttercup

"Those were happy days, doing the plumbing work at 'The Buttercup',

I doubt I could shove the old iron barrow up 'The Clermiston'  now."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  August 18, 2014




Maureen Ritchie

Thank you to Maureen Ritchie who wrote:

Drum Brae

"I moved to Drum Brae Drive in March 1955.  Before, we were bussed to Carrick Knowe Primary when the estate grew, we spent the summer term at Fox Covert House.

I cannot find any reference to this house, and would welcome any information that people can give me. This house was in amongst a wood just off Drum Brae Drive behind where the Clermiston Inn is now.  I was 6.

Is this the domestic science college."

Maureen Ritchie, Tenerife:  7 February, 2014

Reply to Maureen?

If you'd like to send a reply to Maureen, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on her email address to you.

Peter  Stubbs, Edinburgh:  February 2, 2014




Alan Stewart

Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Thank you to Alan Stewart for writing again, after reading Maureen Ritchie's Recollections 9 above.

Alan wrote:

Clermiston House

College of Domestic Science

    Some of the family and relatives of Alan Stewart on the steps of Clermiston House, in the early-1960s ©


The College of Domestic Science was built on a field at the rear of the old Clermiston House.  In the early 1960s there were at least 6 fields surrounding Clermiston House and they were used by an Edinburgh butchers to graze cattle.

I can remember a huge international Boy Scout Jubilee in the large field nearest to where the Fox Covert Hotel stood.

The smaller field next to it, going down the slight slope was where the college was built. The link below to the Canmore web site gives an exact position of where the old Fox Covert House stood and also some digital images of architects' drawings."

Edinburgh, Clermiston Road, Foxcovert House

Alan Stewart:  Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland:  March 7, 2016


Clermiston House

Edinburgh Recollections