Apr 032019

54 Queen Street today

54 Queen Street. Edinburgh, EH2 3NS

This is the original site of the first Citizens Advice Bureau, opened in Edinburgh on 13th November 1939, alongside another branch on 18 Charlotte Lane. The impending threat of World War II lead to the British government opening bureaux across the United Kingdom, as a resource to help the public deal with such issues as tracing soldiers lost in battle or taken as prisoners of war. They also helped with domestic needs, such as gas masks for babies, ration cards, evacuation, pensions, and questions about marriage laws. The Edinburgh branches were operated by the city’s Council of Social Service until 1972, when all the bureaux became independent. Although the Citizen Advice Bureaux were first intended as a short-term measure, it became clear after the war that there were many more issues the public needed government support from, including rehousing, employment, training, education, and the introduction of welfare benefits. As of 2018, there are five Citizen Advice Bureaux and 23 outreach points in Edinburgh.

Citizens Advice Bureau logo today









Citizens Advice Bureau waiting room, 1979









Photo credits: Lucy Ridley, Citizens Advice Edinburgh

Jan 152019
Photograph showing the Gas Works holder is on the left, Scottish HQ across the road on the left and the original station on the right

Once you arrive at the crossing, the Gas Works holder is on the left, Scottish HQ across the road on the left and the original station on the right

Waterfront Avenue, Edinburgh EH5 1JD

The Gas Works had railway networks with two types of lines serving goods and workers. An internal system of narrow gauge lines used steam locomotives and dealt with the ashes from the production process and with other waste and by-products. In addition, standard trains, part of the Caledonian Railway Granton Branch, operated from the Princes Street Station. This meant that coal deliveries could be taken into the Gas Works conveniently, and coke and other products sent away. The Granton Gas Works Station was opened on 27 February, 1903. This was a substantial station built to take the workers to and from the Gas Works. As there was no other form of transport to this area at this time, it is suspected that more than just the gas workers took advantage of the service.  The station was closed in 1942 by the LMS Railway as transport links to the area improved. During the World War II, the Gas Works was a target for bombing, although it was not actually hit.

Black and white photograph of Granton Gas Works Station about 1903

Granton Gas Works Station about 1903

Black and white photograph of a Scottish Gas Works, Granton Works locomotive inside the Gas Works

Scottish Gas Works, Granton Works 0-4-0 2′ 0″ locomotive inside the Gas Works

Jan 152019
Photograph of a field near the gasworks where Granton House once stood
The nearby location of Granton House (now demolished)

Forth Quarter, Edinburgh EH5 1FH

Near this site once stood Granton House, a 24-room three-storey mansion with a balustraded roof, built by the Earl of Hopetoun in 1807 on the Duke of Buccleuch’s land as part of a 99-year lease. In 1883, the house became the property of Lord Gifford (1820 – 1887) the Scottish advocate and judge. Visitors to the house included Sir Walter Scott and Florence Nightingale who, following her visit, wrote to the family and said “I think Granton House the most poetic place I ever saw.” The house was purchased by the Edinburgh and Leith Corporations Gas Commissioners around the time that Granton Gas Works was built (opened in 1902), for use as the official residence of the Chief Engineer and Manager. The first Chief Engineer and Manager to occupy the house was Mr W. R. Herring. When Edinburgh and Leith amalgamated in 1920, the house passed to Edinburgh Corporation. From 1946 Edinburgh Corporation used the property to house homeless families following World War II. On 1 January 1954 it was destroyed in a disastrous fire and what was left demolished.

Black and white photograph of Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford
Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford (1820-1887)
Footpath towards the location of the Granton Gas Works train station
Walk along the foot path to get to your next destination
Photograph of the edge of a walkway bordered by reeds, titled "Turning Point" by Stuart Ogilvie
“Turning Point” by Stuart Ogilvie