Not too long ago, I thought this blog was getting too east coast, with more of Edinburgh, Fife and East Lothian than anywhere else. Then Streets of Glasgow happened and it got all Weegie. To get a bit of balance in this here establishment, let’s go east.
Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh, the arena used for much of the 1970 and 1986 Commonwealth Games, is in the process of redevelopment. The other day I saw a couple of photos online which had been taken from London Road, about fifty years apart. The one taken recently featured the velodrome while the other showed the old Meadowbank, once the home of Leith Athletic, which used to stand on the same site. The one common feature of the photographs was in the background, a tall, red tower which stands to this very day in Restalrig Drive. I went to primary school around the corner from it and the tower was a familiar part of my childhood landscape. Indeed it is prominent over much of eastern Edinburgh, visible from the East Coast main line too as it passes nearby. I took myself down there recently and from the street, right by the building (now flats), it is not possible to actually see the tower. From up the street, though, I could see the remnants of the letters ‘MUNRO’ on the centre of the tower. When I was at school, the factory was occupied by the tartan peddlars Kinloch Anderson. According to Canmore, Historic Environment Scotland’s very fine database of historic places, the factory was built in 1910 for Munro and Co. Ltd., makers of hosiery and waistcoats. The tower was in fact a water tower owing to the factory being higher than sea level. It shut in the 1990s, about the time I was in primary school, funnily enough.
When you’re a child, your reality is what’s normal, even if others would dispute it. I was lucky to grow up by the sea and have a good primary school experience. I didn’t realise until recently how the area I went to school in was actually really interesting. own the way is St. Triduana’s Chapel, which I wrote about recently and still haven’t been to, and over the hill is the Craigentinny Mausoleum, a little bit of Greece in a perjink suburb of the capital. It is always worth looking over that next horizon and keeping your eyes open. What you see in your neighbourhood might be familiar but it shouldn’t stop you from being curious or from just stopping to look up.