Colin McAndrew

& Partners

Robert Laird, Longstone, Edinburgh,  wrote:

New Buildings

"I worked  as an apprentice joiner for Colin McAndrew & Partners.

The company no longer operates, but in their day they  built Redford Barracks (or most of it).  Indeed, they had their own railway engine and line from Dalry out to Colinton *.

The company also built:

the National Library of Scotland

-  the Thistle Foundation complex

- various other quality buildings, in and around Edinburgh."

Renovation Work

"The company did renovation work on just about every government-owned building of any size in Edinburgh.

All the work I did as a lad was for the Ministry of Works, at:

-  The Castle

-  The Palace

-  various Edinburgh Museums

-  the Art Galleries on Princes Street

-  etc."


"As an aside, Sean Connery's brother worked for the company, as did the singer, Tam White - and me, of course.  Who knows?  There may be old workmates of mine from that era, who visit the EdinPhoto web site."

Robert Laird, Longstone, Edinburgh:  May 18+21, 2009


 *  The railway that Robert mentions above was discussed in August 2008, in the Colinton Recollections section of the EdinPhoto web site.

Peter Stubbs:  May 21, 2009

Robert Laird

If you remember Robert, and would like to contact him, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to him.

Thank you.     -  Peter Stubbs:  May 21, 2009



Kim Traynor

Tollcross, Edinburgh

After reading Robert Laird's comments about Colin McAndrew & Partners above, Kim Traynor who wrote:

New Buildings

"Not only that:  Colin McAndrew & Partners also won:

-  the first major post-war stone contract in the city, building the Fountainbridge Telephone Exchange.

 the largest post-war stone contract in the city, building The National Library of Scotland.

The firm also built Edinburgh’s first pre-fabricated housing scheme, on the Muirhouse estate, in the mid-1960s"

Kim Traynor, Tollcross, Edinburgh:  February 29, 2012



Robert Laird

Longstone, Edinburgh

Thank you to Robert Laird who added:

New Buildings

"I served my apprenticeship with Colin McAndrew & Partners  many years ago.

Mention was made of a couple of their larger projects, Redford Barracks and the National Library.

The company also constructed several other buildings including:

-  Napier House art deco flats on Colinton Road, built around 1945.

 Fountainbridge telephone exchange,
built around

Robert Laird, Longstone, Edinburgh:  March 14, 2012



Sheena Irving

Longstone, Edinburgh

Thank you to Sheena Irving who wrote:

National Library of Scotland

"My Dad, George Irving, and his brother David both served their Apprenticeships at Colin McAndrew in the early-1950s, before going on th Moray House for teacher training.

That was probably before Robert Laird (above) worked for the company.

My Dad worked on the National Library in 1957.  He can remember going to visit me at Simpson's Hospital on the day that I was born in 1957, then returning to work."

Sheena Irving, Edinburgh:  July 9, 2012

National Library of Scotland

The book 'The Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh' (John Gifford et al.) gives the following dates for the National Library:

-  1934-36:  Designed

-  1939:        Only the steel frame built so far

-  1950-55:  Building completed

-  1973:        Gallery added to Reading Room.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 9, 2012




Sheena Irving

Longstone, Edinburgh

Thank you to Sheena Irving for adding:

Opening of NLS


"I have a commemorative booklet published in 1957, promoting the work that Colin McAndrew & Partners had done on the National Library."

Web Site

"The NLS web site includes this comment: 

'On 4 July 2006, the National Library of Scotland celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of our George IV Bridge Building by the Queen.' "

.Sheena Irving, Edinburgh:  July 10+13, 2012




Colin Frost

Longstone, Edinburgh

Thank you to Colin Frost who wrote



"I served my time as an apprentice joiner for Colin McAndrew & Partners beginning 1963, in the workshop in Dalry.

The charge hand was Jock Reilly, two of the bench hands were Jimmy Ogilvy and old Bob.  (I forget Bob's last name.)

Other Work

"I also worked in the Art galleries, and the old Royal infirmary, the North British Hotel, the Caledonian Hotel, Redford Barracks, the City Morgue, the old GPO, Watson's College, the Convent of the Sacred Heart with Willie Bishop, Advocates Close and in the Council High Street Buildings for the Edinburgh City Council, and many more."

McAndrew's Apprentices

'initiation ceremony'

"My memory is not so good these days, but I remember with fondness my time with McAndrew's.  I hope the days of the apprentices 'initiation ceremony' are over.

Mine was not the most pleasant experience as I remember. The kiln house door played a large part!

However, I was luckier than the previous apprentice who's initiation included the crane in the yard in the depths of Winter!

At McAndrew's we had our own blacksmith shop. I wish I could remember the names. Each new apprentice started their working life making the tea for about 40 men. (That might just be a little exaggeration, but it seemed that many at the time.)"


"My mate Albert was apprentice with McNeish across the road."


"I have recently been diagnosed with Pleural Plaque, (asbestos scarring on the lungs) which probably happened when Willie Bishop and I fixed miles of the stuff in the lower passages under the main corridors in the old Royal Infirmary.

I remember clearly the doctors and nurses passing by, and no one stopped to tell us we should be kitted our with face masks and protective clothing!

How times have changed!   Each time you hit a nail, down fell hundreds of cockroaches.  It was so hot down there.

Colin Frost:  11 March 2015




Laura Kinnaird

Buckstone, Edinburgh

Thank you to Laura Kinnaird, Buckstone, Edinburgh, who write:


Post-war Photo

"Here is a post-war photograph of my 2 x Great Grandfather Alexander Sim Milne with his stonemason mates sitting in Colin MacAndrew’s Yard.

Colin MacAndrew's Yard

Alexander Sim Milne with his stonemason mates sitting in Colin MacAndrew’s Yard.

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Lorna Kinnaird, Brunstane, Edinburgh

Alexander Sim Milne

"Here is some information about Alexander Sim Milne and his family

Alexander Sim Milne:  b. 25th May 1859; d. 4th Oct 1903, Edinburgh

wife:  Elizabeth Jane Samuel Alexander, b. 1848; d. 4th March 1937, Edinburgh
r of  James Alexander and Elizabeth Samuel).


1.  James Alexander Milne, b. 1883, Edinburgh; d. 1922, Edinburgh

2.  Elizabeth Samuel Milne, b. 1884; d. 3rd Jul 1954, Edinburgh

3.  Alexander Milne, b. 23rd July 1886; d. 29th Dec 1932, Edinburgh

4.  Margaret Stewart Samuel Milne, b. 29th June 1892; d. 29th Feb 1976, Edinburgh


Laura Kinnaird, Buckstone, Edinburgh:  24 May 2013



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