Urban Detectives

Help us build an accessible record of the history of Scotland's towns and cities.

Love Parks Week: Victoria Park, Leith

Submitted by Bryony on Tue 19 Jul 2016

What’s in a name? This blog post by Bryony Jackson explores the many names of Victoria Park in Leith as part of 2016 Love Parks Week.

Become a Glasgow Urban Detective

Monday, August 1, 2016 - 18:00 to 19:30

Learn how to record the streets of Glasgow at this free evening workshop for Urban Detectives.

Become a Stirlingshire Urban Detective

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 17:00 to 18:30

Learn how you can add local landmarks to the map at this interactive workshop in Bannockburn.

The Story of Leith Project, Leith

Writers and playwrights sharing the story of Leith's past through performances and the creation of a soundscape.

The Impact of the Clydebank Blitz

Generations working together to record the changes to Clydebank since 1941.

Memories of the West Boat House, Glasgow

Neighbouring Amateur Rowing Clubs recording memories of their boat house and the river.

Merkinch Welfare Hall, Inverness

Documenting the restoration and transformation of Merkinch Welfare Hall in the heart of Inverness.

About Scotland's Urban Past

Town centres, historic buildings, the street you work in, your local park, the artwork around you – what is it that makes our urban environments unique and important to you?

Scotland's Urban Past is a five-year nationwide project about the history of Scotland's towns and cities, led by Historic Environment Scotland, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Latest contributions from our Urban Detectives

Contributed by ACTC

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Contributed by Bryony

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Contributed by Florance

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Contributed by Mary McGhee

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Contributed by live25live25

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Re-porposed police call box

This police box is now a cafe.

Posted by Peigi on 14-07-2016

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Inflatable tennis court

The dark turquoise domed structure in the aerial photograph is an inflatable tennis court.

Posted by Peigi on 14-07-2016

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Tenenemt

Sandstone tenement c1890.

Posted by Peigi on 14-07-2016

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Shipmaster's home

Recorded in the 1915 Aberdeen Weekly Journal as being home to Jean Rose, widow of William Erskine, shipmaster.

Posted by Bryony on 12-07-2016

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The restoration

Extracts of text from 1983 souvenir brochure SSHA 394 Gallowgate On the the occasion of the visit of HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN To Calton On Friday 1st July 1983 The Scottish Special Housing Association’s interest in Calton stems from its participation in the Glasgow Eastern Area Renewal urban regeneration project. As part of its contribution the Association has built in the Calton estate, some 300 new homes and has modernised a further 400 dwellings. Sixty-one of these are especially adapted for the use of the elderly and five homes are designed for wheelchair users. … The building to be saved The Scottish Special Housing Association’s redevelopment role in Calton provided a unique opportunity to save and restore a building known as 394 Gallowgate which dates from 1771 and was recognised by the Historic Buildings Council forScotland is a fine and very rare example in Glasgow of a vernacular 18th century brick tenement building. It was oncle probably part of a courtyard complex on the main road from the City to the south. Of particular interest is its construction in brickwork, which makes it one of the earliest examples of its type in Scotland, whilst an additional feature of historic interest is the apparent originality of its turnpike stair, also of brick, a feature which is commonly believed to have been added to tenements during 19th century improvements. The building also contains several other attractive features, characteristic of its age and type, particularly the nepus gable containing two windows and supporting a chimney head, rusticated quoins and rolled skew putts. In 1980 the building was in a dilapidated condition and early proposals for the area suggested demolition. However at this time the Secretary of State fro Scotland listed the building as a Category B listed building of special architectural and historic interest. … The proposals implemented Within the external shell, 394 has been completely gutted except from some internal walls at ground level. On each of the four levels a new flat has been formed within the shell. The turnpike stair at the rear of the building provides access to the upper flats. … Architect: T.J. Reilly Engineer: R.M. Brown Quantity surveyor: A McKinnon Consultants: Thomas Laurie Associates Contractor: Unit Construction Company Limited

Posted by KayMcM on 04-07-2016

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family business

James B Rolinson was my grandfather. He set up the business there in 1935. My father and uncles joined the business after WW2. As a teenager I worked there on Saturdays and school holidays. I remember going up the spiral staircase at the back of what we now know was a brick built vernacular tenement which is where they kept the safe. It was very dark and spooky. I used to take the takings in a leather pouch to the British Linen Bank one block away along the road. Many customers paid in cash and it's the only time I ever saw £100 notes. After 1977 the business moved to Mount Vernon and finally closed about 1980.

Posted by KayMcM on 26-06-2016

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"Mysterious Affair in Edinburgh: brother makes Startling Discovery"

"MAN DEAD AND SISTER SUFFERING FROM POISONING. While a man was going to call upon his sister Margaret Fairbairn, 9 Summerhall Square, Edinburgh, he found he was unable to gain entry to the house, but he got a little boy to go in through the window and open the door. The door of the bedroom, where his sister was, was secured from the inside, but the sister's nine-year-old daughter opened it. Upon entering the room he found that his sister was lying in bed ill, and a friend named Alexander Haines, Gladstone Place, Leith, was lying on the floor close by. A broken flower pot was lying beside him, and it looked as if it had been knocked down when Haines fell. On calling in a doctor he certified that the man was dead. The woman was taking to the Infirmary suffering from poison. The child was not detained. The child, it appears, had gone home about half-past three. Her mother was unwell at the time, and Haines was sitting beside the bed speaking to her. So far no light has been thrown on the mystery." From the Evening Telegraph, Tuesday February 1st, 1921.

Posted by AnnaM on 07-06-2016

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Tillicoultry Allotments (original est 1933)

These allotments were established in 1933, making them on of the earliest in Clackmannanshire. They site is still maintained as allotments with just under 30 plots on site.

Posted by warrenbailie on 30-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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St John's Primary School

St John's Primary School took part in an SUP project in Spring 2016. Most of their work focused on Queensferry Road, Rosyth.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Queensferry Road

Queensferry Road was the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Backmarch Road

Queensferry Road and surrounding streets were the subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Hamilton Place

Queensferry Road and surrounding streets were subject of St John's Primary School's SUP project in Spring 2016.

Posted by SUPschools on 20-05-2016

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Cable Duct Ventiator - Not Gas Main Ventilator

Circa 1905. Cast-iron Art Nouveau style ventilator, sited on traffic island at head of Justice Mill Lane, at junction with Holburn Street. The ventilator is not for gas but marks the end of the cable subway running from here, under Crown Street, to the former Electricity Works and Tram Car Depot in Millburn and Crown Streets, to which it provided necessary ventilation.

Posted by Florance on 26-04-2016

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Bakers

George Thomson & Co were bakers located at 45-47 St Nicholas Street. This street is now the site of the St Nicholas Shopping Centre. The main building in the picture id St Nicholas Kirk.

Posted by Florance on 24-04-2016

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"Soapy" Ogston

The soap works in the Gallowgate were owned by the Ogston family including Col James ‘Soapy’ Ogston. The Ogston family also have links to Ardoe House and Kildrummy Castle

Posted by Florance on 24-04-2016

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Rope Makers

This company of Rope makers dates back to 1780 and had a number of locations in Aberdeen an d moved to Queen Street in 1939. No current details of the company. Ref "The Doric Columns" website

Posted by Florance on 24-04-2016

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Harvesters Link

Re-opened pedestrian route under the railway between between Wester Hailes shopping centre and new Wester Hailes healthy living centre.

Posted by Eoghan Howard on 23-04-2016

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Festival of Architecture 2016

The Scottish Government designated the year 2016 as the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. 2016 was also the centenary year of The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). To celebrate this, the RIAS curated and coordinated the Festival of Architecture 2016, which was supported by VisitScotland and Creative Scotland. The year-long Festival encompassed over 150 partners and 400+ events throughout Scotland.

Posted by leadeye on 23-04-2016

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Building Naming

This tower block at 2 Hailesland Park was named Midcairn after extensive refurbishment in the early 1990's

Posted by Eoghan Howard on 23-04-2016

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Building Naming

This tower block at 1 Hailesland Park was named Kilncroft after extensive refurbishment in the early 1990's

Posted by Eoghan Howard on 23-04-2016

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Public Launch

This is thought to be the first digital totem pole in Scotland, if not wider. It was publically "launched" by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh in December 2012. A video of this event can be accessed here WH Totem Pole Launch

Posted by Eoghan Howard on 23-04-2016

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Argylle Cottage

This was the schoolmaster's house to the adjacent school.

Posted by Peigi on 23-04-2016

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Now changed use

This building has now been converted to Satrosphere Science Science (now re-named Aberdeen Science Centre). It is a family friendly science centre open to the public.

Posted by SUP Training on 23-04-2016

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Now demolished

Aberdeen prison has down been demolished 2015/ 2016 to make way for housing.

Posted by SUP Training on 23-04-2016

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Building Naming

This tower block at 3 Hailesland Park was named Drovers Bank after extensive refurbishment in the early 1990's

Posted by Eoghan Howard on 23-04-2016

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Filmhouse Cinema 1

The main screen at the Filmhouse (Cinema 1) is now where the main church hall used to be. The stained glass window is still in situ.

Posted by leadeye on 23-04-2016

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Odeon Cinema

This location is now an Odeon Cinema. On top of operating under the Odeon banner, the cinema also screens films as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Posted by leadeye on 23-04-2016

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DUCHESS ANNE’S HOSPITAL

DUCHESS ANNE’S HOSPITAL Duchess Anne Hamilton was the 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, She lived from 6 January 1631 to 17 October 1716. and she is remembered as “Good Duchess Anne” She was a noblewoman who rebuilt Hamilton Palace and did a great deal to assist in the development of the town by building a school, almshouse, a woollen factory and a spinning school. Duchess Anne’s Hospital was an old house that stood at the corner of Castle Street and New Wynd, today the site of the Almshouse is occupied by a house across from where the entrance to the Asda car park is. The hospital or Almshouse as it was known was occupied by a number of poor families, it was built around the middle of the 17th century as a hospital and had been occupied up until the beginning of the 18th century where it became disused as a hospital and ever since it had been occupied as a dwelling house. In the year 1858 there were still 6 or 7 individuals who were receiving 8s from the house of Hamilton in view of a house rent. The slum building was later demolished.

Posted by Garry McCallum on 17-04-2016

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Rosyth Crossroads tiny building

This tiny polygonal building is currently used as an information point but has had other uses such as a veterinary practice and hairdresser. The hipped roof is slated with a terracotta ridge and painted roughcast exterior walls.

Posted by Peigi on 15-04-2016

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A. Cameron and Co.

Not to be confused with F. A. Cameron Ltd. in Church street. My mother worked in this store from 1975 to the early 1980s, having previously worked in Copland and Lye in Glasgow. I remember all cash transactions were manual with handwritten receipts and big brass vacuum tubes that took away notes and delivered change. On the rare occasion I was allowed in the staff room I wondered how people could stand it as everyone smoked like chimneys. There was a piece of local character, a tramp who I think was called Benny. Every year the Camerons staff would make him a Christmas parcel with new clothes and treats.

Posted by Peigi on 07-04-2016

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31-3 Harbour Road, Eyemouth

Contrary to outward appearances this is not the building that appears in archive photographs pre 1980. An earlier building on the site was entirely demolished and rebuilt in the early 1980s to a specification provided by local architects Bain Swan that largely mimicked the external appearances of the original building. The current building houses a cafe and a dive boat charter business Marinequest.

Posted by DannyD on 07-04-2016

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Pictures of Tayport Harbour

Pictures 34,37 and 40 taken in July 1943 seem to show the harbour with the RAF Air Sea Rescue launches that were stationed there during World War 2. My father George Herbert " Bert" Throw was stationed at Tayport with the Air Sea Rescue Service during the war. The service rescued downed pilots and seamen including enemy personnel in the Tay Estuary and North Sea as far as Norway. I visited Tayport in New Year 2016 to see where my father had been stationed and made enquiries beforehand. It seems the slipway which one of the launches is pictured by ( half way down the harbour wall) is still known as the RAF Slipway and a local councillor said that he remembered the launches still being operational in the 1950s - confirmed by RAF documentation. My mother also lived there and my parents who were married just before the outbreak of war remembered very happy times there. The pictures of 1943 show the railway now disappeared and much of the area which looked like old railway marshalling yards has now been occupied by housing.

Posted by Robert Throw on 15-03-2016

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1890s - 1900s

My Grandfather Alexander was superintendant of these baths. Apparently he was a keen swimmer himself, and one of a band who would swim between islands in the Forth of Clyde. Does anyone have any information about this activity?

Posted by stuartromsey on 05-02-2016

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The Rubber Company

My grandfather, Joseph Gorst was MD of the Rubber Company of Scotland up until his death in 1959. The company was sold soon afterwards to H K Porter.

Posted by Andy Gorst on 07-11-2015

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The Golf Tavern

The best pub in town.

Posted by live25live25 on 02-06-2015

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