The Meadows

The site of the former Borough Loch, South Side, Edinburgh




Patricia Rand (née Tinney)

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to Patricia Rand, née Tinney, now living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, for sending her memories below.

Patricia wrote:


"We had an allotment in the meadows.  So that was fun, going to dig the veggies on a Sunday afternoon - and trips to the beach (which one?) with a bucket to pick mussels, coming home tired but happy."

Patricia Rand, née Tinney Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, November 7, 2009



Peter Butler

Hennenman, South Africa

Thank you to Peter Butler who wrote:

The Meedies

"keep dipping into the EdinPhoto web site.  I see quite a few comments and 'foties' of the 'Meedies', as we knew them.

Living in Bristo Street, as I did, I spent many hours at the Meedies, especially during the school holidays when we would be packed off with a 'piece' [sandwich].


"I remember seeing members of 'The Worshipful Company of Archers' practising with their bows and arrows in a fenced-off area we knew as Archers' Field, somewhere between Jawbone Walk and the Paddling Pool.

I understood that the Archers were a ceremonial bodyguard whenever the Sovereign was in Edinburgh, and that membership was by invitation only and was restricted to retired officers of the Services.

I presume that like so many ceremonial outfits, they were eventually made redundant and dispensed with.

Wasn't / isn't there a building known as Archer' Hall ?

Peter Butler, Hennenman, South Africa:  February 25, 2011







Peter Butler

Hennenman, South Africa

Worshipful Companies

"The Worshipful Companies are livery companies associated with trades and professions, some dating from medieval times.  There are now over a hundred Worshipful Companies.

There is a Worshipful Company of Fletchers.  (Fletchers made arrows.)  But there is not a Worshipful Company of Archers.

 Source:  Wikipedia

Royal Company of Archers

"I think the company that you saw in The Meadows would have been The Royal Company of Archers.

This is the Queen's Bodyguard in Scotland.  They were founded in 1704 and are still active.  They are based at Archer's Hall, Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh."

Source:  Wikipedia

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  March 3, 2011






Joan Martin (née Hogg)

Beckenham, Kent, England

Joan Martin wrote:

Royal Company of Archers

"I was interested to read the comments about The Meadows and The Royal Company of Archers

My boss in St. Andrew's House in the late-1950s and early-1960s was a member of the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland - a 'Queen's Archer'. 

He was an extremely tall man and when the occasion demanded, fully attired in uniform, complete with hat, feathers, spurs., etc., could be quite intimidating for me as a nineteen- year-old, sitting opposite taking his dictation!"

Joan Martin, née Hogg ('Hoggy'), Beckenham, Kent: March 6, 2011



Margaret Williamson (née Hay)

Moline, Illinois, USA

Thank you to Margaret Williamson (née Hay)  for sending her memories of living beside The Meadows.

Margaret wrote:

Air Raids

"I was going over the air raids at The Meadows that Allan Dodds remembers.  Oor hoose  was across from Barkley Church, with Wrights buildings next to it."


"I remember a Nancy McCauly (and her wee goldfish) and  a Tam Renton. We had so much space to play Peevers, Hide & Seek, and our favourite game, Rounders

The Meedies (meadows) was a great place to play.  There was  also golfing there."

We had a great time and as long as we got home before it 7pm, then it was ok."

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA  February 26, 2012




Graeme Cruickshank

Marchmont, Edinburgh

Graeme Cruickshank has led a series of walks titled 'Aspects of Edinburgh' around Edinburgh Old Town on Friday mornings, over the past five weeks.  The subjects of the walks have been:

1.  Marking the Mile
     - looking at markers in the Royal Mile commemorating some of the old structures

2.  Stepping out wi' Davie
     - a stroll from Old Town to  New Town, following footsteps of philosopher, David Hume.

3.  Walking wi' Rabbie
     - looking at some of the locations around the Royal Mile frequented by Robert Burns.

4.  A ramble round The Meadows
     - learning about the history of The Meadows and looking at what can still be seen today.

5.  Canal's End
    - exploring the original eastern end of  Union Canal around Port Hopetoun, opened 1822.

Below are brief comments taken from the comprehensive explanations given by Graeme on 'A ramble round The Meadows' on week 4.

The Meadows

The Burgh Loch

"In the eqrly-17th century, The Meadows, a 62-acre site to the south of Edinburgh Old Town, was covered in shallow water.  This was known as 'South Loch' or 'The Borough Loch.  The water was used by Edinburgh's breweries and was the main water supply for Edinburgh.

However, in 1621, arrangements were made for Edinburgh to be supplied by 'water from a distance', i.e. from reservoirs in the Pentland Hills.  It was soon decided  to drain the Borough Loch and landscape The Meadows as a park.

However this task proved difficult and was not completed until the 1860s, more than 200 years later.  The work involved many people including William Burnes, father of poet Rabbie Burns, working as a landscape gardener."

'The Cage'

"There used to be a fancy Summer House, known as 'The Cage'.  It was situated in The Meadows at the southern end of (Middle) Meadow Walk. 

It was erected  in the mid-18th century and demolished by the Town Council in 1824.  Veterans from the Napoleonic Wars used to meet there.  They became known as 'The Meadow Walk Warriors'."

Graeme Cruickshank, Marchmont, Edinburgh:  May 17+30, 2013

Graeme added:


'The Cage'

"Does anyone know of any illustrations of 'The Cage'?   It would be most interesting if anyone can come up with any."

Reply to Graeme?

If you know of an old painting, engravings or other illustrations showing 'The Cage', or any other information about it, please email me, then I'll pass on the news to Graeme.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 27, 2013




Jim Suddon

Morningside, Edinburgh

Thank you to Jim Suddon who wrote:

'Jonah, the Giant Whale'

"I wonder if anybody remembers going to the Meadows to see, for sixpence, Jonah the Giant Whale.  It was on the back of a trailer behind a high fence diagonally opposite the Dick Vet College. It stank somewhat although there had been a lot of chemicals used to preserve it.

I read later that this had been a venture to make money by a group of people.  Years later, John Peel used to read out correspondence regarding this venture as it seemed to have travelled all over Britain.

It must have been about 1952 or so when it was there. My mother sent me up to see it as she thought it was educational.

'Educational' was a word that we used to get money for a film or some event.  Often, it worked."

Jim Suddon, Morningside, Edinburgh:  August 31, 2012




Angie Wilson (née Anderson)

Cruzy, The Herault, South of France

Thank you to Angela Wilson who wrote:

Our Family

"I’ve just discovered your web-site and have been engrossed in it for ages.  I was born and brought up at Bristo Place from 1947 to 1960 when my father died and my Mother brother and I had to move."

Whale on Display

"I wonder if anyone remembers going to The Meadows in the early-1950s, and seeing a dead whale on a long trailer at the east end of The Meadows.

I've searched various Internet sites and can find no mention of it, but I’m sure it was there.  It must have been at summer time, I think, because it was a bit smelly.

My husband thinks I’m dreaming it, so it would be nice if someone else remembers it.   I hope you can help."

Angie Wilson (née Anderson), Cruzy, The Herault, South of France:  15 January 2016

Reply to Angela

If you remember the whale that Angela has asked about, and would like to reply to her, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on her email to you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  15 January 2016




Angie Wilson (née Anderson)

Thank you to Angela Wilson for reading Recollections 5 and replying::

Whale on Display

"Thanks for adding my Recollections 6 above.

I now see that Recollections 5 above also mentions the whale. That's cool;  I've now shown it to my doubting husband!"

Angie Wilson (née Anderson):  16 January 2016


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