Read It & Research It

Books and on-line sources

This listing makes no attempt to be comprehensive but contains items, some more specific to the area than others, useful in exploring and making sense of the past of the area. The 'Links' section of the website of the Old Edinburgh Club ( is an excellent guide to sources and includes a bibliography.

Many of the books may be out of print but are likely to be found - for reference - at the invaluable Edinburgh Room in the Edinburgh Central Library on George IV Bridge. As well as books, it has copies of old Post Office Directories, Census Returns, old newspapers, maps and pictures. (

Maps, for residents of the West Blacket area, are on the doorstep in the Map Room of the National Library of Scotland on Salisbury Place. Many are available also from its website ( but first take a look at the 'Key Maps' section of this website.


Edinburgh (in the Buildings of Scotland Series) (John Gifford et al) Penguin, 1984. Especially pp63-66 and pp634-644.

The Place Names of Edinburgh (Stuart Harris) Published by Gordon Wright Publishing, 1996.

The Transformation of Edinburgh: Land Property and Trust in the Nineteenth Century (Richard Rodger) Published by Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Not the easiest read but a fascinating and detailed study of urban development in Edinburgh (but not the Newington or West Blacket areas)

Who lived where

The Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory: Annual from c1800. Edinburgh Room.

Census Returns: Census were held every ten years since 1841 (except for 1941). Most recent available is 1901. These and other records can be viewed online from Scotland's People (charges) (

About the house

The Scottish Home (edited by Annette Carruthers) Published by National Museums of Scotland, 1996

The Scottish Interior: Georgian and Victorian Décor (Ian Gow) Published by Edinburgh University Press, 1992

Victorian Things (Asa Briggs) Published by Sutton Publishing, 2003

Elegance and Entertainment in the New Town of Edinburgh : the Harden drawings (Iain G Brown) Published by Rutland Press, 1995. The lifestyle which the inhabitants of West Blacket might have aspired to.

McLevy: the Edinburgh Detective (James McLevy) Published by Mercat Press, 2001. Short contemporary accounts of the kinds of crime which would have worried our predecessors but which were all in a day's work to a nineteenth century detective.

About the area

'The Lands of Newington and their Owners'(W Forbes Gray), The Book of The Old Edinburgh Club, V24, pp152-197 (1942). According to the author, 'the narrative has been built up almost exclusively from documentary sources... the printed material about Newington is negligible and not specially informative. The most important auxiliary has not been books but the files of the Edinburgh Evening Courant, whose advertisements of Newington properties on the market have yielded much useful information. ' A comment which indicates the value for us of collecting as much contemporary recent information as well as ephemera as we can...

Newington & Grange 1896 Old Ordnance Survey Map (introduction by Barbara and RJ Morris) Published by Alan Godfrey, 1893. Good value reprint of the local area.

The South Side Story: an anthology of the south side of Edinburgh (John G. Gray). Glasgow, [1962]

Old Newington, Grange, Liberton & Gilmerton (Robin Sherman) Published by Stenlake, 2000. Photographs complemented by short texts.

Historic South Edinburgh (Charles J Smith) Published by John Donald, c2000. Originally published in four volumes. Volume 1 related to Newington and the Grange, and Volume 3 to 'People' including Dr Benjamin Bell.

Victorian and Edwardian Edinburgh from Old Photographs (CS Minto) Published by Batsford, 1973

South Edinburgh in Pictures (Charles J Smith) Published by Albyn Press, 1989

Marchmont, Sciennes and the Grange (Malcolm Cant) Published by Malcolm Cant Publications, 2001. Photographs and accounts of many of the notable parts of the South Side


Scotland's People (

National Archives of Scotland (

Scottish Wills & Testaments (

National Library of Scotland Maps (

Old Edinburgh Club (Links) (

Newington churches (

Blacket Association History Pages (

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