Tag Archives: Niddrie

Niddrie Mains Road

Community safety camera Photos 047

Driving past the centre of Craigmillar and looking out across the green fields and (slow, oh God how slow) new build homes and school, it’s becoming difficult to remember how it was oh so short a time ago.  Today I have a picture of one of the last of blocks as it stood a sole sentinal of the old Niddrie.

Copyright David Macadam 2013

The White House Niddrie.

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Edinburgh has a number of Art Deco joys scattered through the city like pearls in gravel.  However Art Deco seems an unappreciated style left to languish in odd corners to thole threats of demolition.

Not so The White House, an Art Deco roadhouse destined to be the centrepiece of a restored and rejuvenated Craigmillar.  Sitting in a parade of undistinguished shopping outlets on Niddrie Mains Road this “B” listed focus of our attention was built in 1936 by William Innes and was one of a number of roadhouses popular at the time.

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It has elements of the great transatlantic ships of its day and the shipbuilding traditions of Leith.  The lounge window is thought by some to be reminiscent of the card room on board the Queen Mary.

A roadhouse was a sort of cross between a hotel and a pub where as the name implies one might journey out in this new fangled motor thing, to take tea and scones.  Few now survive, the Maybury at the Gyle, the Wheatsheaf at Saughton, and the Hillburn at Fairmilehead, being the others.

The White House’s glory days swiftly passed.  It became a pub famous for its “happy go lucky“ clientele who might offer the unsuspecting stranger “an evening to remember” and whose staff were expected to “handle themselves well”.

It closed, and sat unloved and unregarded for decades, until now it has been refurbished by PARC Craigmillar at a cost it is said of around two million pounds.  Its role though is still undefined.  It doesn’t seem likely to become a public house again and today hosts a rather long lived temporary exhibition, and several rooms with poor acoustics rented  on an occasional basis as overflow meeting rooms to the Council building opposite.

Copyright David Macadam 2012

Niddrie Old Police Station

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Today a very unregarded item, that is soon to be no more.  Niddrie’s old police station at 32 Niddrie Mains Road has stood, set back slightly behind the parade of shops, since the early 1980’s.  Now another piece of Niddrie is to go.  After the Council vacate this month it is scheduled for demolition.

It does however possess some interesting features, namely the copper lined sandbag sills on all its windows.  These are designed to take several sandbags up on the window ledge in front of the steel shutters, protecting the occupants from petrol bombs and the like, making this station more in the line of a military guard house than civilian police station.  Designed to withstand urban disorder and the riots that happened back in the 1980’s and 1994.

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I don’t know of this feature anywhere else in Edinburgh.  Unless readers can put me right?

Copyright David Macadam 2012