Granton House

The Night of the Fire

1 January 1954

Granton House

Granton House was a  24-room three-storey mansion  situated  to the west of Gypsy Brae at Granton. 

The house was built in 1807 and demolished following a fire in the early hours of January 1, 1954.

Memories of the Fire

Thank you to Thelma Ramsdell, Nebraska USA, for sending me her memories, below.  Thelma was in Granton House when the fire broke out. 

Thelma wrote:

My Home

 Juniper Green

I was born and brought up in Juniper Green.  That was the best place to bring up children. As a  family we left when I was 16 years old.  I only have fond memories of growing up there.

I try to make a point of visiting Juniper Green whenever I am home

Baby Sitting

I was baby sitting for my twin nieces on the night of the fire, New Year's Eve.  My Aunt and Uncle  had gone out for the evening.  I was 15 years old at the time. 

The blaze was seen all over Edinburgh  -  by the party goers on Princes Street, even.

I have been thinking of who was living there at that time who would  be alive to day -  perhaps only the children, and they would possibly be too young to remember. There was a baby born that night, the mother went into labour as we were walking up Gypsy Brae.


I woke to choking smoke. I left my 5 year old  nieces in the bedroom so they would not catch cold, then went to every floor to waken the residents.  Most had been partying and did not want to get out of their warm beds.

I then ran up two flights of stairs to put something warm on the twins. My face was on a few papers that morning but it was nice to think no-one was hurt.

One of the Survivors

One of the residents who lived in a basement flat came through the smoke carrying her mattress and saying:

"The Lord says:  'Pick up your bed and walk'."

House destroyed by the Fire

Granton  house was a lovely building and was mostly made of wood and was set in beautiful grounds.  To see it burnt to the ground was so sad.  It burnt very quickly.

The only wall remaining was an outside wall that had been my Aunt and Uncle's flat. It had a picture of the Sacred Heart Of Jesus and it never burned.!!!

Taken to Craiglockhart Poor House

We had to meet at a specific place and get on buses to take us to the Poor House at Craiglockhart. We got a hot meal and it was warm there.

Everyone was given warm clothes and a bed for the night except me because I had a home to go to.

My Journey Home

I asked for money for the S.M.T bus to go home to Juniper. They could not give me money so I had to go around and ask these poor unfortunates who had just lost everything they owned, if anyone had bus money.

That devastated me more than anything and I cried all the way to the bus stop.



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