Morningside, Edinburgh
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Morningside, Edinburgh

Morningside is a district and former rural village in the south west of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is defined by a main arterial Morningside Road, an ancient route from the city to the south west of Scotland and Carlisle, and is centred on the lowest, southernmost point on the road at Morningside Cross, at which point the route used to ford the Jordan Burn, now redirected underground at this point. It lies south of Bruntsfield, Burghmuirhead (including Holy Corner, Church Hill, and Greenhill); south-west of Marchmont, and south-east of Merchiston; and to the north of Comiston and the Braid Hills.

Landmark structures

Morningside Library

The Morningside Clock was originally in the middle of the roadway as the clock for users of (now-closed) Morningside Station (part of the suburban railway line), and a match for the clock at nearby Tollcross.

The Canny Man's on the corner of Canaan Lane (formerly The Volunteer's Arms, named for users of a nearby rifle range), is an elaborately and eccentrically decorated historic bar, restaurant and inn.

The Bore Stane, an ancient monument, is embedded above the pavement adjacent to the former Parish Church at the corner of Morningside Road and Newbattle Terrace. The Royal Standard of James IV was pitched at this standing stone for the muster of the Scottish Army on the Burgh Muir (moor) before the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

The Hanging Stanes, embedded in the surface of Braid Road (at NT 2451 7061), formed the foundation of a scaffold specifically erected for the hanging of Thomas Kelly and Henry O'Neill on 25th January 1815, thought to be the last public execution for highway robbery in Scotland. The hanging took place at the scene of the crime.[1][2]

Old School House, Morningside Road

The Eric Liddell Centre, named after the 1924 Olympic 400m gold medalist athlete, Eric Liddell, is in the former North Morningside Parish Church at Holy Corner, at the extreme north of Morningside.[3]

The Church Hill Theatre sits at the crest of the brae leading down to Morningside Cross, just south of Holy Corner.

The independent Streamline Moderne Dominion Cinema (first opened 1938) is located on Newbattle Terrace.

Street names and local history

Dominion Cinema

The names of several streets in the area have biblical associations, such as Eden Lane, Nile Grove, Jordan Lane, and Canaan Lane. The Jordan Burn is a stream which trickles out of sight at a spot next to the present Post Office in Morningside Road. Several theories exist for the origins of these names, ranging from Jews settling in the area at one time to Cromwell's troops inventing place names while foraging in unfamiliar territory. However, Charles Smith, in his noted history of the area, indicates from historical sources the likely presence of Gypsies on the Burgh Muir in the 16th century and the existence of an Egypt Farm, first mentioned in 1585, which may have been a reminder of their presence. It was demolished in the 1890s.[4]

Another early street name of note is Cuddy Lane ("cuddy" is a Scots word for a donkey or short, thick, strong horse).


Former Morningside Parish Church
  • Henry Ramage - recipient of the Victoria Cross, was born in Morningside
  • John Smith - Leader of the Labour Party (1992-94); lived locally, His funeral, attended by much of the British Establishment, was held at Morningside Parish Church, which has the longest aisle of any parish church in the United Kingdom.

In fiction, Morningside is the home of Muriel Spark's Jean Brodie, and in children's literature it is the home of "Maisie from Morningside", a kitten in books by Aileen Paterson, who adorns all Lothian Bus number 5 buses which serve the area.


Most of the housing on Morningside Road is of tenement style, with surrounding streets housing mostly Victorian villas (detached or semi-detached houses), plus a number of notable older buildings, such as one-storey farmer's cottages. Exceptions are the streets around Falcon Avenue and Falcon Road West which are also tenemented. The names of these streets recall one of the largest local mansion houses, Falcon Hall, now gone, though its main entrance gates can still be seen at the entrace to Edinburgh Zoo.


Victorian shops in Morningside Road

Civic amenities include South Morningside Primary School; Saint Peter's R.C. Primary School; Blackford Pond; and Morningside Library.[5] There are a wide range of small, traditional shops, cafés and restaurants as well as some more mainstream shops and supermarkets such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer; and there is an independent, family-run cinema, The Dominion.

Churches in the area include Morningside United Church (Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church), Christ Church (Scottish Episcopal Church) and Elim Church, all at Holy Corner; Morningside Parish Church in Cluny Gardens; Roman Catholic St Peter's Church and the Old Schoolhouse Christian Fellowship (independent). The former North Morningside Parish church at Holy Corner was converted for community use in 1980 and is now called the Eric Liddell Centre after the Olympic athlete who lived locally and attended the former Morningside Congregational Church, now the home of Morningside United Church.


Queen Victoria tablet on a Morningside tenement

The area is served by a number of buses operated by Lothian Buses including route numbers 5, 11, 15, 16, 23, 36, 38 & 41.

The disused Morningside Road railway station was closed to passenger service in 1962 when the Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway service was withdrawn. A local pressure group is campaigning for the station to be re-opened, possibly as an extension to the Edinburgh tram system.[6]


  1. ^ "Hanging Stanes Plaque on Geograph". Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Edinburgh Braid Road Hanging Stones". Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "The history of the Eric Liddell Centre, Edinburgh". Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ C J Smith, Historic South Edinburgh, Edinburgh & London 1978, pp.206-07
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Reopening the South Sub" (PDF). Transform Scotland. March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 2010.


  • Smith, Charles J., "Morningside", John Donald Publishers Ltd., Edinburgh, 1992. ISBN 0-85976-354-4
  • Cant, Michael, "Villages of Edinburgh" volumes 1 & 2, John Donald Publishers Ltd., Edinburgh, 1986-1987. ISBN 0-85976-131-2 & ISBN 0-85976-186-X
  • Grant, James, "Old and new Edinburgh" volumes 1-3 (or 1-6, edition dependent), Cassell, 1880s (published as a periodical): Online edition

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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