Today we have another excellent guest blog post from Chris Fleet, Senior Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland.
When the AddressingHistory team popped in to take some pictures of the PODs and Maps this week Chris showed us the exhibit of Causewayside in Old Maps and Photographs that he has created for the new Maps Reading room and he agreed to tell us more about what he’s been finding out about the area of Edinburgh that the AddressingHistory project calls home. We hope Chris’ post will inspire you to send us your own stories about people, professions and locations you hope to use AddressingHistory to help you explore and research.
Around Causewayside in Old Maps and Photographs
Post Office Directories and maps are often just the starting point for exploring the history of particular streets and buildings. With the recent move of the NLS Maps Reading Room, we not only face our AddressingHistory partners EDINA across the same street, but we have also put together a small exhibition – Around Causewayside on old maps and photographs.
Causewayside – recorded as a causey or paved routeway from the 1580s – was historically the main highway from the Burgh Muir south to Liberton. However, it was not developed for feuing (the legal process under Scottish law of selling land) and housebuilding until after the acquisition of the Newington Estate by Dr Benjamin Bell of Hunthill in 1804. Most of the streets were laid out by the time of Kirkwood’s map of 1817, and Leslie’s map of 1826 shows extensive residential development and the names of individual proprietors.
During the 19th century, there was a partial transition from residential to manufacturing development along Causewayside, with new printing and publishing works, as well as the famous Middlemass Biscuit factory.
Robert Middlemass was born in Peebles in 1819, and we know from the Post Office directories that he started biscuit production through premises in West Preston Street in 1835. From 1869 he acquired a second site on Causewayside, which expanded in phases, to front onto Salisbury Place and Upper Gray Street by 1897. This expansion of the factory can be seen on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1877, and 1893. These photographs of the exterior and interior of the Middlemass Biscuit Manufactory were taken in around 1910:
The Middlemass Factory is of particular interest to NLS, as it originally housed the NLS Map Room from 1974, and the Factory was subsequently demolished in 1984 to allow the current Causewayside Building to be built.
A recent addition to the NLS Digital Archive is the fascinating set of 138 photographs of the South Side of Edinburgh, including Causewayside, taken by Alfred Henry Rushbrook for the City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust, 1929.
Our small display of photographs and maps of Causewayside can be seen until the end of October inside the new National Library of Scotland Maps Reading Room, 159 Causewayside. Opening hours: Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 9.30 am – 5.00 pm; Weds 10.00 am – 5.00 pm; Sat: 9.30 – 1.00 pm.