Edinburgh Living

Edinburgh has always been a city of flat dwellers. The residential buildings in the 16th century Old Town were the skyscrapers of their day; the 18th and early 19th century New Town has some of the most elegant buildings of the world; the city expanded to the south in Victorian times with hundreds of traditional tenements; and, in the late 20th and 21st century, industrial and commercial buildings were repurposed as flats and combined with new developments.

Sandstone was the chosen building material for many of the Victorian tenements in areas like Marchmont and Comely Bank and most of these have not blackened in the same way as the buildings in the New Town. They positively sparkle in the sunlight when reflected in the inevitable row of parked cars in the street outside.
Flats in the elegant terraces of the New Town are popular with young, professional couples. The basement flats usually include access to a garden, which is great for children but buyers don’t always think about the problems of access when they buy the flat in their PK (pre-kids) days.
The tenements in the Old Town were called ‘Lands’ and named after their developer or prominent resident. Thomas Crocket developed this 5 storey Land in 1705, in the West Bow off the Grassmarket.
As well as the traditional tenement flats, there has been an explosion of conversions and new flats built in Edinburgh. Warehouse conversions are popular with young professionals in trendy areas such as the Dean Village.
As in many cities, new flats are springing up everywhere. Many of these don’t have much character but I liked these Edinburgh flats that are reminiscent of New York’s Flatiron building. I’m not too sure why they needed a machine gun emplacement on the roof though.


Photos by Ian Sommerville

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