By Anna Goodall
I was brought up on the Old Dalkeith Road opposite one of the entrances to the Edmonstone Estate/House. The house was in ruins, but the Hostlers house and the two other gatehouses on the Old Dalkeith Road and The Wisp were still in use. The Hostlers, opposite the stables was in the middle of the woodland that has been recently built on. My late father built stables in what was The Orchard, surrounded by a 15 foot wall. John Kerr, who ran/runs the ”Canny Man” pub in Morningside lived there for many years.
The gardener for the estate was Charles Grigg, a friend of my fathers, who lived in a cottage on the Ferniehill Road. His cottage ran adjacent to a row of small cottages that I think have survived the massive building currently sweeping the green belt of Edinburgh. The owners were the Wauchope family who went to South Africa and apparently never returned. As children, we played in the woods surrounding the old house and there were many tunnels, one that went from the field gate a few hundred yards from the Old Dalkeith Road entrance and went towards Craigmillar Castle for quite a way! The other tunnel had it’s origins at the side of Edmonstone House, but was very deep so only the bravest kids climbed down into that one! It also ran into an underground stream that was sometimes very deep. As kids, we presumed it to be water coming from “Mickey’s Burn” that has been diverted when the new Royal Infirmary was built at Little France.
We have watched as the estate has become derelict, watched trucks taking the sandstone that once formed part of the big house and the gatehouses vandalised. As a child, it was beautiful. Rhododendrons flanked the driveway after a glorious display of daffodils and crocus. The old lady who lived in the gatehouse sold the apples from the orchard from her front room.
Just a little bit of history I thought you might like!
Anna’s full Book on Fernieside in the 1960’s can be found on Amazon. We thank her for writing this short reminiscence