Edinburgh Tittle Tattle

The Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Enlightenment (Photo credit: randomwire)

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Started on an article about a writer I’ve previously mentioned Kate Summerscale and her new book “Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace”, a tale of  “The Enlightenment Era” in Edinburgh. When all aristocracy in Edinburgh flouted their Wealth in the Current “New Town“, subsequently leaving the cobbles of the “Auld Toon” and the grime and lacklustre it now portrayed to the affluent Edinburgh partizans. The Auld Toon held its fondness to the more lascivious of the Wealthy Gents who succumbed to their inner savage every now and then. This story is centred around Royal Circus, built, in 1823 by  Architect William Henry Playfair, which is at the foot of Calton Hill and at the top of Leith Walk. Leith Walk being the main thoroughfare from the Port to Edinburgh’s High Street.

It spurned a memory from my childhood about an Art teacher of mine who lived in one of (the most) if not (the most) famous house in “The Colonies” the other part of the “New Town” which is in Stockbridge. Built between 1861 and 1911 by the Edinburgh Co-operative Building Company to provide low-cost housing for working people. The streets are named after those who founded the Company, including geologist and writer Hugh Miller (1802-56). The colony houses are now considered coveted , due partly to their unique location near the Royal Botanic Gardens and Inverleith Park, and within access to the city centre, not to mention the history of residents, from when it was built to nowadays still.

Dora Noyce (1900-1977) was a well respected lady dressed in fur coat, twinset and pearls with posh accent and often mistaken for a Morningside Lady she was also friends of Madame Doubtfire (  Mrs Annabel Coutts, Pawnbroker & Money Lender to Edinburgh’s High Society) during the 1920s Depression  who had a “rag and bone” shop in Stockbridge. On the surface no one (other than clients) would have known, she ran a   brothel from her elegant townhouse at 17 Danube Street. I visited the House in Danube Street as a teenage art student. I don’t think my teacher still lives there. “I hope she does”, She told us the floor in the kitchen had to be ripped up when she moved in, the previous owner was a cat hoarder and some cats had housed themselves below the house. We all knew the story of Madam Dora then. “Tittle Tattle” I thought instantly.

English: Gardens of Royal Circus Royal Circus,...

English: The Colonies terrace, Stockbridge, Ed...

English: The Colonies terrace, Stockbridge, Edinburgh In the 1980s, property values began to rise in Edinburgh as places like Stockbridge – one of the inner city “villages” – became highly desirable residential areas for an increasingly wealthy sector of city dwellers. It has everything : nearness to the heart of the city; small but beautiful stone houses; a water feature (The Water of Leith flowing by); the Royal Botanic Gardens up the road. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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