With its distinctly village feel, Stockbridge is full of charm. The Water of Leith weaves its way through this attractive area which also houses the ancient water mills of Dean Village and stretches all the way to the tranquil realms of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Many artists, musicians, poets, writers and thespians have made the Georgian and Victorian terraced houses their home over the years and today the area is alive with an abundance of high-quality independent shops and a wide range of restaurants, cafés and bars, all of which give the area a strong, individual character.
A popular shopping destination with both local and visitors, you’ll be sure of an array of delightful shops, picturesque views and a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that you’ll want to return to again and again.
A short 15-minute walk from Princes Street will lead you straight into the heart of Stockbridge. It’s a pleasant walk, with the distinctive New Town neo-classical and Georgian architecture all around. This part of the journey is relatively easy, as its all down-hill, but there’s plenty of picturesque places, and delicious cafes, to stop at on your way back up the hill!
Alternatively, Lothian Buses routes 24 and 29 will drop you off on the area’s main street, Raeburn Place on a regular basis.
The History of Stockbridge
Stockbridge takes its name from the Scots words "stoccbrycg" meaning a timber foot bridge after the original bridge that crossed the Water of Leith to the small village.
Until the mid-18th century, Stockbridge was a separate part of Edinburgh, but as the New Town expanded, encroaching northwards, each village dotted along the Water of Leith became absorbed into the growing city, Stockbridge included.
The current stone Stock Bridge was built in 1801 with the help of the architect James Milne, allowing traffic to cross the river between the two adjoining growing estates of Deanhaugh and St. Bernard's both of which were purchased in the 1790's by the painter Henry Raeburn (1756 -1823). Milne was also responsible for the fine St Bernard's Church (1823) in Saxe Coburg Street.
Stockbridge was incorporated into the City of Edinburgh in the 19th century. As a result of the steep gorge and fast-flowing river, the village was the ideal location to harness the power of water to drive the wheels at the mills that were dotted along the river, from where cloth, flour and paper were produced.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Stockbridge established itself as a favourite hangout for artists, poets, writers and musicians, whose presence helped to shape the village’s Bohemian culture that still survives today. Between Glenogle Road and the Water of Leith are 11 parallel streets, collectively known as the Stockbridge Colonies. Built between 1861 and 1911 by the Edinburgh Co-operative Building Company to provide low-cost housing for the growing skilled workers, these streets are named after the Company's founders, including geologist and writer Hugh Miller (1802–56). Today, these highly coveted properties stand as a legacy to the growth of industry in Edinburgh. Gifted crafters and makers still populate the area’s streets and thriving weekly market, a lasting reminder of the rise in skilled craftsmanship that helped to establish this unique part of Edinburgh.
Famous residents have included portrait artist Sir Henry Raeburn, poet James Hogg, surgeon Sir James Young Simpson and more recently actor Norman Lovett and the lead singer of the band 'Garbage', Shirley Manson.
The original Mrs Doubtfire or "Madame Doubtfire" lived and ran a rag and bone shop in South East Circus Place, Stockbridge. She was the inspiration behind the novel by Anne Fine who also lived in the area which was in turn the inspiration for the movie starring Robin Williams.
Stockbridge was voted ‘Great Neighbourhood of the Year’ by the Academy of Urbanism –experience for yourself the warmth of this community on your next visit or weekend break to this part of Scotland’s capital.
To find out more about Stockbridge, visit their local website: www.stockbridgeedinburgh.com.