Davidson's Mains




Tom Mortimer


Thank you to Tom Mortimer who wrote:

Keenan's Fruit Shop

"I fondly remember Davidson's Mains in the 1960s.   I cycled from my home in Cramond and played with my pal, Francis, whose dad had a Keenan's fruit shop in Quality Street, Davidson's Mains. The family also had fruit shops in Blackhall and Barnton.

Francis is still around and is well known around the district.  I speak with him often."


"We would have great ice creams in the cafe next door.  It was run by two sisters, Isobel and Margaret Gibson.  Sadly, Isobel passed away a few years ago but Margaret is still well and long retired."

Fish & Chips

"I remember all the local shops, including Ramsey's fishmonger in Quality Street and Mr & Mrs Evaristi's* fish & chip shop at the top of the main street.  Mr & Mrs Evaristi* retired many years ago.  The shop has recently changed hands again.

I remember that Mr Evaristi* was always a bit mean with the portions, but they were ever so good.  A fish supper cost 2/3d, around  1967.

The Gala Day at Davidson's Mains was (and still is) held in June each year.  We would always go to the Gala then walk back home eating our fish & chips."


* Tom Mortimer wrote 'Mr & Mrs Everest', but I've now changed the names, after receiving the message from Simon Capaldi in Recollections 2 below.

Happy Days

"Happy days, long gone by!  I wonder if anyone remembers us."

Tom Mortimer, London:  September 23 + October 8+12, 2013

Reply to Tom Mortimer?

Do you remember Tom Mortimer or Francis Keenan?

If you'd like to send a message to either of them, please email me, then I'll pass on Tom's email address to you.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  October 12, 2013




Simon Capaldi

Sheriffhall, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Simon Capaldi for responding to Tom Mortimer's comments in Recollections 1 above.

Simon wrote:

Fish & Chips

"The owner of the chip chop and cafe was really called Mr Evaristi' and the cafe was called 'The Corbie Cafe' after the old name 'Corbiehill', meaning hill of the crows.

I'm pretty sure the cafe is now run or owned by someone outside of the family.**


** Yes.  This agrees with Tom Mortimer's recollections. 
(When Simon wrote Recollections 2, Tom had not yet updated 'Recollections' to say that
Mr & Mrs Evaristi retired many years ago.)

The cafe was very good.  Luckily, being friend of the owner, our portions were fine!"

Simon Capaldi,  Sheriffhall, Midlothian, Scotland:  October 12, 2013




Peter Stubbs


Fish & Chips

"I also used to enjoy fish and chips from 'The Corbie Cafe'.  That was in 1965-69, soon after I moved to Edinburgh.

I never knew the cafe owners, but 'The Corbie Cafe' made a very welcome stop in my Austin Hereford, on the way home to Inverleith after an evening's dinghy sailing in the fresh air at Cramond."

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  October 12, 2013




Jim (Jimmy) Little

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Thank you to Jim Little who wrote:

Our Homes

"I remember Davidson's Mains very well.

We moved from Leith to the asbestos prefabs at Muirhouse in 1946-47.  I lived at 33 Pennywell drive, Muirhouse.

There were no houses then between Pennywell Medway and Silverknowes Road, and from the golf course to Ferry Road, there were just farmers' fields.

 In 1957, we moved to Muirhouse Gardens.  By the early-1960s all of these fields became a housing estate. I was married in Davidson's Mains in 1959. I remember the Corbie cafe and the chippie very well."

The Route to Davidson's Mains

"In those days, there was a wee dirt road opposite what was then Pennywell path which took you to the bottom of Silverknowes Road.  We went up the hill and over the wee bridge into Davidson's Mains."

Boys' Brigade

"A bunch of us went to Boys' Brigade in Davidson's Mains Church every Friday night.    They were  56ths or 59ths.

I learned to play side drum and made it into the pipe band.  I am still playing in a pipe band but the parades seem to be getting longer now.

These are some of the names that I recall from the BB:

-  Boys from Muirhouse:

John Pugh

Trevor Thomas

Brian Kellett

Tam Scoon

Eddie Caroline

John ( Tubby ) Miller.

-  Boys from Davidson's Mains:

Alan Neilson

Guy Southwell

Alistair (Jock) Newlands

Dave Moffatt

Melville Craigie

John? (Nobby) Notman."

Davidson's Mains Park

"In Davidson's Mains Park, there were 2 fitba' pitches:

-  one was regular size and flat.

-  the other was on a slope  -  not like the old Easter Road slope  - more like the Orchard Brae."


"I had good times and many fond memories of D/Mains.It's strange how, when someone mentions a name or a place, so many memories come back."

Jim (Jimmy) Little, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada:  30 November  2013




Jim (Jimmy) Little

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Thank you to Jim Little for writing again, about 4 years after sending his Recollections 4 above.

Jimmy wrote:

Emigration to Canada

"In your last e-mail to me you asked if I still lived in Winnipeg. Yes, I do.  I came here 3 June 1969, so after 48 years, I'm settled in a wee bit now.

Once you learn to go to the correct side of the road for a bus and remember the light switch goes up for on, it's a dawdle.

I left the company I started at and got a job as a machinist in 1973 at Canadian National Railways.  After a couple of weeks I happened to be looking at the machinist seniority list and saw the name Leslie Clarine. "

Bruce Peebles

"I knew a guy named Graham Clanne when I worked at Bruce Peebles in Edinburgh.  I thought it can't be but Clanne was an unusual name so I found Leslie and, sure enough, he was Graham's brother. The population of Winnipeg then was just over 500,000 strange how things turn out.

The schooling, my apprenticeship at Bruce Peebles has served me well.

Davidson's Mains Boys Brigade

"I also learned to play snare drum in Davidson's Mains Boys' Brigade Pipe Band.  I never played again until I was 47 years old and joined a pipe band here in Winnipeg.

They had enough snare drummers so I leaned bass and tenor drums and for the past 8 years I've been Drum Major.   - No' bad fer a wee boy frae Sunny Leith."     

33 Pennywell Drive

"Here is a photo of me taken in 1950/51 in the front garden of what was then 33 Pennywell Drive.  The houses were the Asbestos prefabs.  Two houses to the west of No. 33, there was then Pennywell Medway."


Drummer in the Front Garden

Jimmy Little  -  1950/51

Jimmy Little, a member of Davidson's Mains Pipe Band, in his front garden at 33 Pennywell DFrive in 1950/51

Reproduced with acknowledgement to Jimmy Little, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Eagle Gates

"In the background of the photo looking  to the north, you can see, behind the beech trees, the gravel road from the Eagle Gates at Muirhouse Mansion (mentioned on the EdinPhoto web site) to the old towers.

Muirhouse Mansion

Eagle Gates

   Muirhouse Mansion  -  Eagle Gartes, demolished around 1960

The houses in the background were built in 1949-50.  They are just west of the Salvesen houses and were council houses. From my house it was a 5 minute walk down to the beach at Silverknowes."

Jim (Jimmy) Little, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada:  17 September 2017



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