Fettes Row is one of the streets that
crosses Dundas Street about half a mile to the north of Princes
Street. It lies on the northern edge of Edinburgh New Town.
Silvermills is the once industrial
district that lay to the NW of the western end of Fettes Row.
Here is a view of the street, taken in 2010, looking to the east from
the top of the tower of St Stephen's Church. The curved street on
the left of the photo is St Vincent Place, leading into:
- the western part of Fettes Row (where the cars are parked) then
- the eastern part of Fettes Row, beyond Dundas Street, where the
trees and low Bank of Scotland building can be seen on the left-hand side
of the street.
Please click on any of the thumbnail images on this page to enlarge
New Town, Edinburgh
Thank you to John Knight for
sending me six photos taken in the 1970s before conservation work
really got underway in Fettes Row and before the new developments
were built to the north of Fettes Row.
"Here are some photos taken in Fettes
Row, before the north side of the street was redeveloped:
on the east side of Dundas Street by the Royal Bank
of Scotland and
on the west side of Dundas Street by the clamjamfry
of ugly blocks of flats known as ‘The Garden of Architectural Delights’
though I prefer ‘the abject failure of the planners’!
Looking SE from
looks to the SE towards houses on the south side of Fettes Row, to the
east of Dundas Street. Dundas Street is in the foreground.
gives some idea of what the northern frontage of the New Town must have
looked like before industry took over in Canonmills/Silvermills in the
Looking west from
"This view shows the west terrace prior to the
construction of the present ill-assorted blocks of flats on the north
The building half way along with the pediment
was Martin & Frost’s workshop. The boxy building at the end
constructed in the 1960’s was the office of Breck’s the plumbers.
The building behind with the curvy gable was
the Grand Theatre/Cinema in St Stephen Street, latterly Tiffany’s then
Cinderella Rockerfella's dance hall before it burnt down."
Looking west towards
look to the west along Fettes Row again. But this viewpoint is
just to the east of the junction with Dundas Street. The dreaded
Midlothian Kitchens and Bathrooms warehouse is on the north side of the
street. (Now, the Royal Bank of Scotland offices are there.
The street was continually blocked by these
huge lorries delivering cut-price sanitary ware. The trees luckily still
Looking east across Dundas Street
"This view looks to the east along Fettes Row
and across Dundas Street where the lorry can be seen. The lorries in
this photo are parked. The trees are as today.
I think the corner building had been a
is another view of Silvermills. This was, taken from the west end of
Fettes Row and shows the industrial heritage of the former Silvermills
Village based on the lade from the water of Leith.
The neat Georgian building was Silvermills
Forge in West Silvermills Lane. We tried to keep this when the area
was redeveloped but got no support from the planners let alone from the
developers, Stewart Milne Homes"
of Dundas Street
photo was taken by Alistair Hunter of Fettes Row West prior to
comprehensive conservation work starting on the street.
The pavilion block nearest the camera was the
first major project in the restoration of the New Town. It was
visited on completion by HM The Queen Mother in 1975
The repair work to the rest of the terrace
followed but little major work has been done in Fettes Row East, which was
and still is in a reasonable state of repair."
Edinburgh: January 2+5, 2012
I remember being a regular
visitor to Silvermills Forge, frequently over about ten years from the
mid-1960s onwards. I always found a welcome there when I called in,
to ask for small items to be made for my boat or car.
The little forge gave the place a good atmosphere. It was like
being transported to a different world - and so close to the centre of
I believe there
were about three men working there, one of whom*** lived in Fife where he
uses to fish (for oysters?) off the Fife coast of the Firth of Forth.
He told me that he used to get up early to send his catch in a special
wagon attached to the back of the early train to London, until British
Rail discontinued this service for him. I was surprised that it
survived as long as it did.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: January 8, 2012
*** Thank you to John Knight who
"That would probably have been Andy McErlain"
John Knight, New Town, Edinburgh:
January 9, 2012
Allan Dodds replied to the
critical comments about the architecture in Fettes Row, expressed by John
Knight in his Recollections 1 above.
Considered Architectural Solutions
"The photos show Fettes Row as I remember it
as a child.
However, I have to disagree with John Knight
who described the new development as "ill-assorted blocks of flats". They
are in fact well-considered architectural solutions to a planning problem
that was never solved in the days of the New Town development and they are
to my eye a success.
By extending and completing the New Town now,
the degenerate commercial edifices such as Auto Sales et al have been
consigned to the architectural flames where they rightfully belong."
"Perhaps, Peter, we could benefit from a
photograph of Fettes Row as it now stands in order to make our minds up?"
Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:
December 11, 2013
Fettes Row Photo
In response to the request
from Allan Dodds for a recent photograph of Fettes Row, here is a photo
that I took, looking along Fettes Row from the top of the tower of St
Stephen Street on a stormy afternoon in August 2010.
The road leading up from the bottom of the photo,
on the left
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph taken: August 12, 2010
In this photo:
- Fettes Row is the road on the left in this photo. The
nearest curved, pedestrianised part part of the road nearest the camera is
the extension of Fettes Row to the east towards St Stephen's church.
It was constructed at the same time as the new housing.
- Cumberland Street, part of Edinburgh's Northern New Town,
is the straight street running almost parallel to Fettes Row, but is
further to the right. i.e. further to the north.
- There are narrow lanes, on either side of Cumberland Street.
These run behind the houses and through the trees in this photo. They are
Cumberland Street NW Lane and Cumberland Street SW Lane.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: December 21, 2013
Ladybank, Fife, Scotland
Thank you to Dougie Cormack
"Can anybody answer any of my questions below?
1. Was Fettes Row blanked off with a
garage or some other building in the period from 1945 to 1949?
2. If it was a garage that blocked of
Fettes Row, was it connected with Alexanders of Semple Street the Ford
3. Do you have any other information
about Fettes Row?"
Dougie Cormack, Ladybank Junction, Fife: 20 July + 6
Reply to Dougie Cormack?
If you can answer any of
Dougie's questions above and would like to send a message to him,
please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on his email address to
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: 5 November, 2015