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THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
1909 to 1936
The Colinton Tramway Company came into existence in 1909 to provide a tramway line to link the village of Colinton with the Edinburgh town tram system.
Very little has been written about this small speculative tramway company.
Now, with the recent discovery of the Minute Book and Cash Book for the Company, a more detailed account of the history, formation, financing and operation of the Company is provided.
By Chris O'Brien
Map showing the proposed lines for the Colinton Tramway Company.
Chapter 1 REDFORD ESTATE
Chapter 2 COLINTON OPPOSITION
Chapter 3 REDFORD BARRACKS
Chapter 4 WAR OFFICE CONTRACTS
Chapter 5 THE BEGINNING OF COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
Chapter 6 EDINBURGH TOWN COUNCIL versus THE COLINTON TRAMWAYS COMPANY
Chapter 7 THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY AND COLINTON TRAMWAY TRUST
Chapter 8 THE COLINTON TRAMWAYS MINUTE BOOK
Chapter 9 CONTRACTS by THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY AND COLINTON TRAMWAY TRUST
Chapter 10 REDFORD BARRACKS PROGRESS OF WORKS
Chapter 11 TRAMWAYS BETWEEN EDINBURGH AND COLINTON- A COMPLICATED SITUATION
Chapter 12 THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY v EDINBURGH CORPORATION & TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT
Chapter 13 EXTENSIONS OF TIME TO BUILD
Chapter 14 SOLDIERS AND SAILORS HOME – REDFORD
Chapter 15 COLINTON TRAMWAYS PERMISSION TO CONSTRUCT LAPSES
Chapter 16 SALES OF ASSETS BY THE MAIN CONTRACTORS
Chapter 17 SALE OF ASSETS OF COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
Chapter 18 WINDING UP OF THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
Chapter 19 WHAT REMAINS OF THE COLINTON TRAMWAY?
Chapter 20 THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
Chapter 21 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The proposal for a Tramway to serve the village of Colinton resulted from the Government decision to build a barracks at Redford, with the obvious need for transporting building material and other good to the site during construction, and thereafter to provide a means of public transport into the city.
It is interesting to look back at some of the history surrounding the decision to build a barracks on the Redford Estate.
The Right Honourable R B Haldane, Secretary of State for War, along with his Generals had been looking for a suitable site to place a Cavalry barracks. Having travelled the country the War Office decided that the site at Redford would be very suitable.
The news became public on 10th October 1908 – the War Office had found a site for a Cavalry Barracks in Scotland, this was to be in just outside the city of Edinburgh, at Redford. It was reported that Generals had been travelling around Scotland in civilian dress looking for the best site. Some sites had been suggested near Edinburgh, including Fairmilehead, but on travelling from this area Major General Sir Charles Haden came upon the Redford area at the base of the Pentlands.
The site was owned by the Heriots Trust and the War Office depended on a successful purchase following negotiations. It was believed the Trustees would assist the national cause and allow the establishment of a barracks in the area.
The newspapers at the time described the lands of Redford extending to 176 acres which had been part of the Dreghorn Estate belonging to Macfie M.P. On his death this part of the Estate had passed to his daughter Lady Maclure. When she died the estate was purchased by Heriots Hospital Trust (now George Heriots School) for about £16,000 as a speculative investment. At the time of purchase by Heriots Trust, John James Gelletly S.S.C. owned Inchdrewer House and ground on the Western border. (These grounds had been feud before the Heriots Trust came into possession. The Trustees were the superiors, and were entitled to 1d a year for that right. Next to it on the far west corner was Colinton Farmhouse (now Old Farm Court run by Viewpoint Housing Association) occupied by Mr Traquair together with lands of about 7 ½ acres which has been feud by the late Lady Maclure to him; and also the mansion house of Redford which was sold by the Heriot Trust and owned by W Gibson W.S. along with 7 ½ acres of land.
Initial offers and discussion were made without the Heriots Trust being aware of the identity of the purchaser as this was thought the best way to obtain the cheapest price. Discussions took place with the Trustees and they decided not to sell at the offer made of £15,500 and they would retain the Estate as a long term investment. The Government then announced to the Trustees that they were behind the offer and that the lands were required to build a barracks on the site. The Trustees agreed to the sale subject to them retaining the Fue Superior and with a clause inserted that “...the ground to be used for all time coming for military purposes only…” Further discussion resulted in a vote of 16 to 3 in favour of selling the land including the Feu for £15,500.
The net cost of purchase to the Trust was £13,359 14s 10d after deducting the price received from William Gibson. The sale was for £15,500 which was deemed to be an appropriate profit and within the rules governing the Trustees of the Heriots Hospital Trust.
A quiet scene of Bridge Road in Colinton circa 1900.
The contemporary reports from the Scotsman Newspaper indicate a delight by the City in the purchase of the land by the military but not unexpected objections from members of the local community.
It was reported that the residents of Colinton were not best pleased at the thought of a military centre being placed in its vicinity. It was accepted that this was not an unnatural reaction from those who considered that the “idyllic peace and charm of the district lying at the foot of the Pentlands” would be disturbed by the “din and clatter” of a barracks and camp proposed.
A committee was soon set up to oppose the plans, and a meeting of proprietors and inhabitants of Colinton who were opposed to the establishment of the barracks at the Redford estate was held in the Church Hall, Dreghorn Loan, Colinton on Saturday 17th October 1908.
Details from the protest meeting were reported in the Scotsman of 19th October 1908 as follows -
“…. Some sixty persons were present including Sir R. Rowand Anderson, Mr Wm Gibson W. S. of Redford; Mr Hugh Miller, W. S.; Mr Alex. Fairgrieve of Spylaw Mills; Dr Galt, Mr James Milne, Muirend; Mr E. G. J. McCudden and Mr Robert Steven, W. S.
Sir Colin Macrae’s Protest -
In opening the proceedings Sir Colin MacRae, who presided, said the proposal had given great anxiety to the district. The inhabitants were faced with a crisis such as they had never known in the locality. (Applause) When the Government’s intention to erect on Redford a large barracks became known they could hardly credit the statement. It seemed incredible that their beautiful district, the finest suburb in the city, was to be sacrificed to the exigencies of a public department…..”; “…people had come out to Colinton, and had built in large numbers very expensive and costly residences. In the house and ornamentation of their grounds there must be sunk not less than half a million of money in the district…” Whilst making sure that the meeting accepted that they had no argument against the soldier and how much they owed to the sacrifices made, it was clear that the opposition included concerns that barracks were “...usually accompanied by circumstances that were often distasteful and undesirable. Applause) Barracks were accompanied by crowds of undesirable persons…”; “…. The public houses, and the great tenements that would follow…”; “…Redford estate …was unsuitable for the purpose of the War Office designs. It was some considerable distance from railway communication. Everything required for the erection of the barracks and for their maintenance must be brought in carts and wagons along the road…the roads were unsuitable.”; “…He was not overstating the case when he said that about 200 villas and houses had been erected recently in the neighbourhood. If these houses on an average depreciated in value about £500, Colinton would have to pay abut £100,000 for the privilege of having barracks in its neighbourhood (Applause)…”
Other Colinton residents reported to have spoken at the meeting against the Barracks coming to Colinton were – Sir R Rowand Anderson; Mr James Cormack (Chairman of Colinton Parish Council); James Moncur; Dr Galt; and Mr William Walls.
The outcome of the meeting was agreement to appeal to the Ministry of War and to Heriots Trustees, summarised as being the loss of value of the properties, and that more suitable sites were available within easy distance of the city.
An image of the road to Colinton circa 1900. Paties (Patties) Road entrance can be seen on the near right side. The area on the left was the site for the Barracks.
As indicated above the land was acquired in late 1908, and construction work soon commenced.
Mr Harry Bell Measures (1862-1940) was appointed as the Director of Barracks Construction. He became the first and only holder of the civilian appointment of Director of Barracks Construction, a post which was created in 1904, to free up the Royal Engineers for more military involved work. Mr Measures first project was a new cavalry barracks at Norwich which was never built. The Barracks at Redford was based on the design for the Norwich building. When Redford was constructed it was the largest in Scotland and was a replacement for the barracks at Piershill and allowed the Army Garrison to move from Edinburgh Castle.
Historic records conflict over the tendering process for the construction work. The Scotsman Newspaper reported that over 50 contracts were sent out for competing tenders. Questions were raised and answers provided in Parliament in March 1911 which is used for the basis of this article as being likely to be the most reliable. The tenders were given using the English measuring system which suggested that it was difficult if not impossible for Scottish based business to apply for the work. The tender documents, known at that time as “Quantities” were issued to 24 Scottish, one Irish, and four English firms. Eleven Scottish and two English firms did not tender. Only one Scottish firm gave a reason for not tendering – that being the form of the bills of quantities. Representations were made by the Edinburgh Building Trade Association which suggested that it would be appropriate to “...issue documents in the language of the country...”
An image of Piershill Barracks circa 1900, which along with the building known as the New Barracks built between 1796-1799 at Edinburgh Castle, were to be replaced by the building of the Barracks at Redford.
Tram ticket from Edinburgh and District Tramway Company Limited showing the stop at "Piershill Barracks Gate".
WAR OFFICE CONTRACTS
The Foundation works were awarded to Henderson & Duncan, Masons of Morningside in Edinburgh with the value estimated at between £6,000 and £7,000. Alexander Duncan and Walter Henderson lived and had a builder’s yard at 10 and 12 Eden Lane in Morningside.
Drainage works were agreed with Messrs G Mackay & Son, 32 York Place Edinburgh, for the value of £2,000. Their office was in the former home of Sir Henry Raeburn.
It was in December 1910 that tenders were issued by the War Office for the superstructure, above ground, works for the Cavalry section. The value of the contract was over £100,000 and was awarded to Colin Macandrew of 13 Lauriston Gardens Edinburgh being as described in the Scotsman Newspaper at the time as “…one of the best known building contractors in the east of Scotland…”.
When first promulgated the scheme was for the Cavalry barracks. After work started, a decision was made by the War Office to include the provision of accommodation for a battalion of infantry. With the provision of the contract for the Infantry barracks, the whole scheme was reported to be worth in the region of £300,000.
BEGINNING OF THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
In view of the work involved in the contract some means of bringing the materials to the site was required. When the barracks site was completed transport would be needed to allow those stationed in the barracks to travel to and from the city. Ongoing supplies would be required for the new buildings. The War Office had estimated that when the barracks were occupied that 2500 tons of forage and 6000 to 7000 tons of coal would be required to service one regiment.
With this in mind local businessmen saw the opportunity to provide a tramway which would link with the city tramway system to be built at Slateford and also the existing cable line at Craiglockhart. The tramway line to Slateford would also connect with the Caledonian Railway and would be used for the transportation of the goods traffic. Official notice was given on 26th March 1909, of the intention to make an application in April 1909, to the Secretary of State for Scotland, using the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act 1899 to incorporate a company for the purposes of making and maintaining a tramway as detailed in the Order.
The promoters were well known citizens of Edinburgh of the time. The project was to continue the existing Council tramway line from Craiglockhart, past the site of the new cavalry barracks and on to Colinton. There were in addition a number of supplementary tramways for the purpose of linking the new Colinton tramway at Slateford Road with an additional line which was to be formed up to that point by the Council. A spur line to the canal and the railway sidings at Slateford for the movement of goods traffic.
Map showing lines for the Colinton Tramway.
EDINBURGH TOWN COUNCIL v COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
A number of objections were received and an Inquiry took place in Parliament House at the end of July and the first part of August 1909. Objections from local land owners were withdrawn following clauses or agreement with them. The main objection came from the Corporation of the City of Edinburgh, and to a lesser extent the Colinton Trustees including Colonel Trotter.
The city opposed the use of Colinton Road as it was deemed to narrow. They also did not wish to be hemmed in by providing land at Slateford which would prevent any future extension of the council line out with the city boundary. Ex-Bailie McMichael provided evidence as the Chairman of Edinburgh Town Council. The council had considered tramway facilities for the villages on the upper reaches of the valley of the Water of Leith. In 1905 a syndicate had approached the council giving notice of a Bill to make a circular route by Gilmore Place, Colinton Road and Slateford. The proposal was stopped as the tramway lessees objected to going out of the city boundary. (The City tramway was leased to Edinburgh & District Tramway Company).
Whilst the inquiry was in progress an approach had been made to the War Office and the agreement was signed on 24th July 1909 to provide a tramway for the purposes of the Contractor moving materials and then for passenger transportation. The War Office agreement confirmed that they would pay the majority of the costs of the setting up of Colinton Tramways and would thereafter rent the line from them. An alteration was notified on 11th August 1909 to allow the track bed of Tramway No 1 to be used by the War Department contractor.
Following consideration of the evidence the Order was passed on 25th November 1909 as the Colinton Tramways Order Confirmation Act 1909.
Tramway Number 1 ran from Colinton Road to what is now Alan Park and onto Tramway 3, 5, and 7 to join with the railway sidings at Slateford Station.
THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY AND COLINTON TRAMWAY TRUST
The Colinton Tramway Company was incorporated by the Colinton Tramways Order 1909 which came into force on 25th November 1909. This Order authorised the Company to construct the tramways and works in the County of Midlothian and County and City of Edinburgh as detailed in it. The tramway works were to be completed within 5 years being 25th November 1914.
The Order confirmed and made binding on the Company an Agreement dated 24th July 1909 entered into between Sir Colin George Macrae and the other promoters of the Company, and His Majesties Principal Secretary of State for War. This Agreement was to allow the use of the tramway alignment for the movement of construction materials, and the War Office intended to continue to use the tramway track with its connection to the Caledonian Railway line for the supplies, such as coal, required to run the barracks.
The Company had powers to construct a tramway between the Craiglockhart Cable Tram terminus (at Happy Valley) to Colinton at the centre of Woodhall Road at the junction of the Loan. A branch to between Slateford Road and Gorgie Road at the Slaughterhouses (known now as Chesser Avenue), and branch off to the Caledonian Railway siding at the far end of Slateford Passenger Station. The line was to have a section off to the Union Canal.
The lines proposed in the 1909 Act were –
“The tramways and tramroads proposed to be authorised will be wholly situate in the County of Mid-Lothian and the County of the City of Edinburgh, and are as follows -
Tramway No 1.—A tramway or tramroad (6 furlongs and 8.79 chains or thereabouts in length of which 1 furlong and 2.12 chains or thereabouts will be double line and 5 furlongs 6.67 chains or thereabouts will be single track including 1 chain or thereabouts double line and 2 chains of thereabouts single line which will be built on existing roads) wholly situate in the Parish of Colinton commencing in Colinton Road at or near the point at which it is crossed by the boundary between the County of Mid-Lothian and the County of the City of Edinburgh and terminating in the centre of Colinton Road 40 yards or thereby measured in a south-westerly direction from the south most corner of Oriel Cottage.
Tramway No. 2.—A tramway or tramroad (5 furlongs and 1.82 chains or thereabouts in length of which 1 furlongs and 2.12 chains or thereabouts will be double line 3 furlongs and 9.70 chains or thereabouts will be single line including 6.46 chains or thereabouts double line and 2 furlongs and 1.12 chains or thereabouts single line which will be constructed upon the roads known as the Colinton Road and Woodhall Road) wholly situate in the Parish of Colinton commencing at the hereinbefore described point of termination of Tramway No. 1 and terminating in the centre of Woodhall Road at or hear its junction with the Loan.
Tramway No. 3.—A tramroad (9.39 chains or thereabouts in double line) wholly situate in Colinton Parish commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 1 hereinbefore described at or near the middle of the boundary between the fields No. 518 and No. 579 on the 25 inch Ordnance Survey Map 1908 of Colinton Parish and terminating in said Field No. 579 on said Ordnance Map at a point 160 yards or thereby measured in an easterly direction from the northwest corner of said Field No. 579.
Tramway No. 4.—A tramway or tramroad (6.52 chains or thereabouts in length single line) wholly situate in the Parish of Colinton commencing at the point of termination of Tramway No. 3 hereinbefore described and terminating at a point in said Field No. 579 at or near its extreme north corner.
Tramway No. 5.—A tramway or tramroad (1 furlong and 2.12 chains or thereabouts in length of which 3.03 chains or thereabouts will be double line and 9.09 chains or thereabouts will be single line) wholly situate in the Parish of Colinton commencing at the point of termination of Tramway No. 3 hereinbefore described and terminating in Field No. 576 on said Ordnance Survey Map at a point 110 yards or thereby measured in a north-easterly direction from the centre of the Curling Pond No. 573 on said plan.
Tramway No. 6.—A tramroad or tramway (1 furlong and 7.35 chains or thereabouts in length of which 3.03 chains or thereabouts will be double line and 1 furlong and 4.32 chains or thereabouts will be single line including 3.03 chains or thereabouts double line and 5 chains or thereabouts single line which will be constructed upon the road known as Slateford Road) situated in the Parishes of Colinton and City Parish of Edinburgh or one of them commencing at the hereinbefore described point of termination of Tramway No. 5 and terminating in Slateford Road at the south end of the road in course of formation between Slateford and Gorgie Roads near the Slaughter-House.
Tramway No. 7.—A tramroad or tramway (1 furlong and 1.14 chains or thereabouts single line) situate in the Parishes of Colinton and City Parish of Edinburgh or one of them commencing at the termination of Tramway No. 5 hereinbefore described and terminating at the west end of the Caledonian Railway Sidings immediately to the north-east of Slateford Passenger Station.”
1 furlong=10 chains=approximately 201.17 metres or 220 yards.
Diagrams showing levels of road and rails at the points indicated.
The following two diagrams detail work required to change the surface levels and gradients.
THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY MINUTE BOOK
The Company Minute Book details the first official meeting of the Directors of the Colinton Tramway Company which took place on 13th January 1910.
The initial Directors of the Company were -
Sir Colin George Macrae WS, of Glenflora, Colinton; G W Geddes Mining Engineer of 21 Young Street Edinburgh; Ian Macintyre W S of Mackenzie and Kermack WS 9 Hill Street Edinburgh.
At this meeting William Gemmill Charles Hanna, Chartered Accountant of 6 Lennox Street Edinburgh was appointed Secretary of the Company.
Advice had been taken regarding raising the capital to take the project further and the opinion was that due to the local nature of the line it was unlikely to be an attractive proposition for public listing Agreement was therefore reached to raise the capital required privately by means of a Syndicate. Preliminary capital was agreed and supplied by Sir Colin £250, Charles Geddes £250 Ian Macintyre £250 and William Hanna £1.
The next meeting of the Company Directors was held on 17th March 1910 where an agreement with the funding syndicate was formerly drawn up. The syndicate was to be for a private listing with the funders known as the Colinton Tramway Trust, with £1 shares available in The Colinton Tramway Company.
The Trustees of this unincorporated Trust were -
George Mackenzie Brown 20 Moray Place Edinburgh and later shown as 6 Elvastons Place London SW7; Colin Mackenzie Black WS of 28 Castle Street Edinburgh; William Purves WS of 33 Great King Street Edinburgh.
The Trust was to act as agents for the Colinton Tramway Company to enter negotiations and contracts with funds provided by the Company.
At this meeting the first ordinary shares of £1 were issued to the Trust and Mortgage Bonds of £2250 made available.
Colinton Tramway realising the potential to provide a through service into the City promoted a Provisional Order for through running from Slateford to Ardmillan to join with the Corporations line.
The meeting of directors also discussed the confirmation received from Edinburgh Corporation that they would build an electrically powered tramway from Ardmillan to Slateford to link up with the Colinton Tramway line at Slateford.
A letter had been received from the War Office which stated that they were “…desirous that the tramway line be extended to Juniper Green and Currie with the view to rendering more houses available to married officers and men…”. The directors agreed that the Secretary was to communicate with General Haldane (War Office) and intimate to the Council that they had in mind a probable future extension to Juniper Green and Currie via the Colinton viaduct. It was later reported that the Council requirements for a new bridge in Colinton were too onerous and this aspect was not pursued further.
The Old Bridge in Colinton which the Council required to be strengthened and widend to allow trams to run from Colinton to Juniper Green and Currie.
CONTRACTS by THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY AND COLINTON TRAMWAY TRUST
The first agreement had already been signed with the War Office which allowed the use of the track bed for the contractors involved in the construction of the barracks. .
The Contractor for the Barracks construction, Colin Macandrew, was to be permitted to use the track bed for a period of 4 years and 8 months to allow materials to be delivered to the site. For this purpose steam engine haulage was to be allowed, but thereafter the power for the Tramway was to be electricity from a generating station in Allan’s Park.
The Trust awarded the contract for the track work to William Jackson C. E. (public works contractor) 12 Ventnor Terrace Edinburgh for £3438-8s-7d. The completion date was moved from 6th August 1910 to 1st September 1910 owing to the contractor not having entire entry to the land. The contractor laid a track of standard railway gauge of 4 ft 8 ½ inches on a made up bed from the Caledonian Railway sidings at Slateford Station to the Barracks site at Colinton. Any material excavated from the site and not required was to be deposited on the tramway alignment at points where embankments needed to be made up. The line travelled through Allan’s Park (now the Allan Park housing estate), crossed the Union Canal and along what is now Craiglockhart Road, through fields on either side and crossed Colinton Road to the west of Oriel Cottage (approximately at the top of what is now Elliot Road) and entered into the Barracks site.
Alexander Shepperd of 15 Primrose Terrace Edinburgh was employed by the Trust as Clerk of Works at a salary of £3 per week.
Mr William Archer Porter Tait (1866-1929), was appointed the engineer for the scheme. Mr Tait was also the Engineer for the Edinburgh and District Water Trust.
Agreement had been reached with Craiglockhart Estate Company by the Trust for the purchase of land required for the route of the tram line and ground for an electric sub-station at Allan’s Park for £3,000.
North British Railway Company agreed to sell the land around the canal for £30 which was required for receiving materials arriving by barge.
Messrs J & F Forrest were to supply level crossing gates at Craiglockhart Brae (now Avenue) and Colinton Road (opposite what is now Elliot Road).
Negotiations continued for the spur line at Slateford as the Caledonian Railway Company had not finalised details or costs for the extra siding at Slateford which would be required by the barracks contractor.
The Minute book indicates that the laying of the necessary track from Redford to Slateford was completed by 12th August 1910 and that the track was handed over to the War Department on 17th August 1910. The Colinton Tramway Trust applied to the Colinton Tramway Company for £7500 which was handed over. The Trust then handed over a cheque for £7500 representing 7500 ordinary shares of £1 issued by the Company to the Trust and its nominees.
The issued share capital was now –
Sir Colin Macrae 250
C D Geddes 250
I Macintyre 250
W Hanna 1
(As before- and the three Trustees)
G Brown 1; C Black 1; and W Purves 1
The Colinton Tramway Trust 6746
Receipt dated 25th August 1910 for the Trust from Colinton Tramway Company for the £7500 payment received.
REDFORD BARRACKS – PROGRESS OF WORKS
The Scotsman newspaper reported on 18th October 1911 the regrettable circumstance that a quarry on which the contractor, Colin Macandrew, was depending upon was not able to supply sufficient quantities of stone for the building.
(Questions were also raised in Parliament on 27th February 1912 regarding the reason that local stone was not being used, and about possible increase in costs. “After careful inquiries as to the stone used in the more important buildings in the Edinburgh district, it was decided to use Blackpasture stone for the ashlar work as being eminently suitable in weathering qualities and colour for the purpose. For the rubble work the specification provided that “…either Scottish stone from Hailes quarries at Slateford or Doddinton stone would be accepted…”; and as the former were unable to guarantee sufficient quantities of the specified stone for the work the latter was accepted. The cost of the stone was the same in each case.)
Hailes Quarry was located close to the Union Canal in the Parish of Colinton and produced building stone approximately from 1600 to 1920. The site was later in-filled with refuse and is now an open grassed area. Some of the stone from Hailes can be seen in the construction of the Assembly Building on The Mound. Doddinton Quarry was located near to Wooler, Northumberland, in the north of England. Records indicate it was in existence in 1887 and is still worked intermittently . Stone from the quarry was recently used in Colinton in 2010 for the restoration of a memorial and gardens at Redford Infantry Barracks. The fine grained stone was known for its light brownish grey almost a very light purple colour.
Returning to the Scotsman newspaper article it was noted that the leasing of the Colinton Tramway line had been a great boon. The stone from Northumberland could be transported direct to the site without having to tranship the load at any point of its journey until it arrived within the barracks site.
The line was described as being about 1 ½ miles in length and it had been used to move over 5,000 truckloads of building materials representing something like 40,000 tons. Haulage on the line was provided by a small Barclays built locomotive. This had saved the local roads from being used and allowed the prompt supply of goods.
From the terminus at the barracks the site was described as having several miles of narrow gauge track which encircled the site, with small railway wagons described as “light iron hutches on wheels” which were hauled by ponies, conveying the material to any part of the works required. “No horse cart was to be seen.”
Examples of the type of narrow gauge wagons in use:
TRAMWAYS BETWEEN EDINBURGH AND COLINTON – A COMPLICATED SITUATION
In April 1913 the Council met to consider “a request from the War Office (1) to obtain at Redford Barracks a supply and terms for the Corporations Electric Lighting undertaking by May 1914 (2) to have a convenient service of tramways from the barracks to the centre of the city, if possible without a change of cars, by the same date.”
The Council had no problems with supplying electricity at a slightly extra cost (an additional ½ p per unit) to the consumer as the barracks lay outside the city.
The tram service was more problematic. It was accepted by the Council that there should be convenient and adequate tramway service from the barracks to the city centre without change of cars. The Council wished to do everything possible however various considerations required to be considered. The Corporation service was restricted to the city, and it consisted of a cable hauled system which currently terminated at Craiglockhart. It was a further mile and a half to the barracks. The Corporation did not have parliamentary powers to extend their line to Colinton. The Council did not wish to extend the cable system out with the city boundary and if the county portion was made with overhead electric cables then a change of cars would be necessary at Craiglockhart. A further complication was the existence of the powers of constructing a tram line that lay with the Colinton Tramway Company.
Colinton Tramways were considering a line from Colinton village passed the barracks, turning off Colinton Road and heading for Slateford, with a spur extension to Craiglockhart.
The Council considered it might be beneficial to take over the powers to construct the line from Colinton Tramway Company, using overhead wires, and joining the Corporation system at Slateford Road. The cars would be able to proceed to Dalry Road and by Haymarket and Morrison Street to Lothian Road. This could be done without interfering with the workings of the cable system at Dalry Road. If the Council did not take over the powers of Colinton Tramways then that company could easily extend to provide a city service giving the tramway connection that the War Office sought.
At this time Colinton Tramway Company lodged a Provisional Order for further powers of constructing tramways. To join the Corporation system near to St Michaels Church in Slateford Road. The Corporation was to take the company cars over the Slateford Road and Angle Park Terrace lines. The extensions were for a line to Dundee Street; Fountainbridge and on to Semple Street.
Colinton Tramways Extension Order 1913, confirmed by the Colinton Tramways Extension Order Confirmation Act 1914. This was an Order allow the Company to construct further tramlines as detailed below-
“Tramway No. 1 - 6 furlongs 5.12 chains or thereabouts in length (of which 5 furlongs 5.88 chains or thereabouts will be double line , and 9.24 chains will be single line) commencing by a junctions with the Tramways belonging to the Corporation of the City of Edinburgh at a point on the Slateford Road 53 yards or thereabouts measured in a north-easterly directions from the north- eastern corner of St Michael’s Parish Church and passing thence along Slateford Road, Angle Park Terrace, Dundee Street, and Fountainbridge, and terminating at a point in Fountainbridge 57 yards or thereabouts measured in a westerly direction from the centre of the bridge carrying Fountainbridge over the Union Canal.
Tramway No. 2 - 1 furlong 0.38 chains or thereabouts in length (of which 8.72 chains or thereabouts will be double line and 1.66 chains or thereabouts will be single line), commencing by a junction with the Tramways belonging to the Corporation of the City of Edinburgh at a point on Ardmillan Terrace 35 yards or thereabouts measured in an easterly direction from the east corner of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, and passing thence along Ardmillan Terrace, Henderson Terrace, and Dundee Street, and terminating by a junction with Tramway No. 1 at a point in Dundee Street 208 yards or thereabouts, measured in a north-easterly direction from the northmost corner of Angle Park Terrace Fire Station.”
Tramway No. 3 – A double line 1 furlong 4.77 chains or thereabouts in length, commencing by a junction with Tramway No. 1 at its termination above described, passing thence along Fountainbridge, and terminating in Fountainbridge at a point 55 yards or thereabouts measured in an easterly direction from the south-east corner of Semple Street.
Provision in the order was made for the City of Edinburgh Corporation to purchase the tramway and for Colinton Tramway Company to sell the undertaking. Section 5 of the Order made provision “...to confer upon the Company running powers over the existing Tramways in Slateford Road and Ardmillan Terrace, belonging to the Corporation of the City of Edinburgh…”
This Order was passed as the Colinton Tramways Extension Order Confirmation Act 1914. By this time the Corporation had laid a tramway in Ardmillan Terrace and Slateford Road, using electrical power from overhead cabling. They were willing to allow the Company to operate over this tramway for access to the City.
Map of the South West showing the proposed town extension.
Plan showing the street sections.
THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY v EDINBURGH CORPORATION & TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT
The Corporation considered constructing a through line to Colinton from the existing Craiglockhart terminus and made enquiries with Colinton Tramway to take over the right of construction. The Minutes of the Colinton Tramway Company indicate that Edinburgh Corporation met on 27th June 1913 to consider an offer by the Colinton Tramway Company to sell their undertaking for £10,200. This would allow the Council to provide through services between the Barracks and the City with a new junction at the Craiglockhart Terminus.
The Minutes of the Colinton Tramway Company then note discovery of an Application by Edinburgh Corporation, advertised on 27th November 1914, for powers to construct a tramway line from Craiglockhart to Redford. If this was to happen the powers held by the Company would be worthless and agreement to raise capital to fund an Objection was made. A further 525 shares of £1 were issued by 22nd March 1915. A Parliamentary Inquiry commenced on 23rd March 1915 under the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act , (the same as used for the Colinton Tramway), to consider the Provisional Order now being promoted by the Corporation of Edinburgh.
Various proposals were contained in the Order, but the one of interest where objections were concerned, was the line to Colinton from Craiglockhart.
Edinburgh Corporation considered that 2 lines could easily be run. The Colinton Tramway Company held the statutory power to make a tramway between Craiglockhart Terminus and the Barracks buildings – not along Colinton Road, but on a new track through fields. They were involved in a line which would go through Slateford Road, Dalry and Gorgie into the City whereas the proposal by the council was for a circular route joining Braid Hills, Morningside, Grange, and Tollcross and into the City. With the neighbouring institutions the Council considered that the line would be attractive. Contemporary records of this Inquiry mention “…the fever hospital, the City Poorhouse, and a large asylum. The War Office were developing ground they had at Redford, and at Dreghorn the Board of Agriculture had bought that estate and had proposed to translate part of the Edinburgh College of Agriculture to that place….” The Council concluded that the provision of a tramway would be beneficial to all concerned. The council wished to provide a through line using Colinton Road (from Craiglockhart to Colinton village) which “…would pick up people whereas the Colinton Tramway would have nothing to pick up other than turnips…”
An image of the fields over which the Tramway was to run showing Craiglockhart Church in the background, with sheep grazing on what is now the housing estate at Craiglockhart. “…nothing to pick up other than turnips…”
The Corporation stated “…if war office had come forward “we want a light railway from where our barracks are put down to Slateford…” they would have required to buy the line. By getting the Tramway Company to arrange with Craiglockhart Estate Company that they would build a new road and construct a tramway they convinced them not to object to their original proposal…”
Evidence was led on behalf of the Corporation suggested that the Tramway Company never intended to run a tramway and the scheme was “a scam”. Something denied by the Company.
The main opponents were the Colinton Tramway Company as they held the right to construct a tramline in Colinton. Arguments and discussions were aired. The Company intended to have through running from Colinton to the City, provide the War Office with a goods line for coal and other supplies for the barracks via Slateford, and that two lines could not be economic.
Evidence from the Corporation was provided about the cost of construction work which was now estimated at £53,000 to £54,000 with a likely income of about £6,000, working expenditure of £4650, it only left an annual running profit of about £1,500. No through running at Craiglockhart was possible as the Corporation line ended just before the then City boundary, and Colinton Tramway could only construct up to the boundary, which left a gap of 43 feet between where the two lines would meet. The Corporation had, in 1910, constructed an electrical tramway along Slateford Road as far as Ardmillan Terrace, where it joined the cable tramway, so no through running of Colinton cars would be possible using this line either.
Evidence was given to the Inquiry by questions and answers being provided by experts Mr S Sellan, Civil Engineer, Westminster and Vice President of the Tramway & Light Rail Association, and Mr Hamilton of Leeds Tramways.
St Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church objected to the placing of the terminus outside their premises. “The Colinton terminus under proposed scheme was unsuitable, much noise shunting of cars and divine worship would thereby be disturbed...” An alternative terminus 100 yards beyond the church was suggested (and it is noted that this is where the eventual terminus was built by the Council when trams arrived in Colinton in 1936).
Having heard the various arguments and witnesses the Council were given permission to construct a tramway from Craiglockhart to Colinton, along Colinton Road subject to conditions which included two main provisions concerning Colinton Tramways.
These were –
The Corporation were to pay Colinton Tramway Company the sum of £9,000.
If the Corporation decided to acquire the Colinton Tramway undertaking, they were to become liable for that Companies obligation.
The second provision allowed the undertaking given by Colinton Tramway to the War Office for use of the track to be transferred to the Council.
The Corporation considered the outcome and decided to decline to take over the Colinton Tramway undertakings.
EXTENSIONS OF TIME TO BUILD
Whilst all this was going on Colinton Tramways were able to obtain extensions to the time limit for the building of the Tramway using Extension of Time Orders and also the provisions of The Special Acts (Extension of Time) Act 1915.
As mentioned before The Colinton Tramway Company was incorporated by the Colinton Tramways Order 1909, which came into operation on 25th November 1909. This authorised the company to construct the tramways and works to be completed within 5 years from the commencement of the Order, which was 25th November 1914. The Order also made binding on the company an Agreement dated 24th July 1914 with the Secretary of State for War.
Colinton Tramways (Extension of Time) Order 1913, confirmed by Colinton Tramways Extension Order Confirmation Act 1914, allowed a further 3 years to build the tramway due to the construction of the Cavalry Barracks, and then laterally the inclusion of additional works for an Infantry Barracks. This expired on 25th November 1917.
Colinton Tramways (Extension of Time) Order 1917, confirmed by Colinton Tramways Extension Order Confirmation Act 1917, gave provision for another year until 25th November 1918.
Colinton Tramways were able to use The Special Acts (Extension of Time) Act 1915, and successfully applied to the His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Scotland, to extend the time by a further year until 25th November 1919.
Again more time was requested by the Company. The Colinton Tramway (Extension of Time) Order 1919 was agreed by the courts “…the fact is that the preliminary War Office use of the track and the conditions arising out of the war office use are sufficient excuse for the delay…” Another year extension was granted.
After a further request for an extension of time to complete, an Inquiry took place on 6th May 1920, where the court agreed a final extension “… An agreed extension of time Order. The last I hope, of a troublesome business! ...” this expired on 25th November 1920.
A 1950s view of a Corporation Tram at Craiglockhart “Happy Valley”. The Colinton Tramway line would have come from the right, behind the car at the phone box, and terminated where the tramcar is stopped. A small break between the lines was envisaged.
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS HOME – REDFORD
Colinton Tramways received a request from Miss Williamina S. Davidson Honorary Superintendent and fundraiser of the Royal Soldiers Home in March 1919. The request was to be able to use the contractor’s railway to assist with the construction of the new Soldiers Home at Redford to replace emergency wooden huts built on the site from when the land was first acquired in 1914. The request was granted and the line was used for transportation of material. Agreement had been reached in principal in April 1914 for a stopping place opposite the Home. A further request was made for a slight amendment of the route of the tramway to allow preservation of the existing trees to benefit the residents. Miss Davidson provided a sketch with her proposals and request, which was granted by the Directors. The permanent premises became the Royal Soldiers Home after the Great War ended. The building is known as Davidson House in her memory and now belongs to the Salvation Army.
Map drawn by Miss Davidson giving details of the trees that she would like preserved.
COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY PERMISSION TO CONSTRUCT LAPSES
The estimated cost of constructing the sections between Slateford, Craiglockhart, and Colinton had been estimated about £20,000 in 1915. By 1920 these had risen to a minimum of £51,000 with the Corporation estimating the cost of necessary works to the roads to be met by the tramway undertaking to be £28,408.
The Minute Book shows that no final decision had been made for the mode of transport to be used on the Colinton Tramway. Discussion of various ideas, such as, self propelled steam driven and even an example of a road rail vehicle were considered. The Minute book shows that a provisional reserve of £1500 had been made for the eventual outcome.
Image from Minute Book indicating a provisional reserve of £1500 per vehicle and £1000 for a shed.
The Directors came to the conclusion in early 1920 to abandon the proposals to build a tramway but to maximise potential assets.
A proposal was discussed on 13th April 1920 between Sir W Haldane (Colinton Tramways) Sir Charles Hadden (War Office) and Measurer Deas, Mr Sleight, Mr Emerson, and the City Engineer (all on behalf of the Corporation) where it was suggested that Colinton Tramways would drop their approved tramway and their opposition to the Edinburgh Bill (for the Corporation Line) provided a payment of £5,000 was made. This was accepted by the Council and a payment was made to Colinton Tramways on 19th April 1920 of £5,000
No further extensions of time were requested and the permission to construct the tramway lines lapsed on 26th November 1920.
The City of Edinburgh boundaries were extended and incorporated Colinton in 1920. The Corporation finally opened a line to Colinton on 21st March 1926 served by the No 9 tram. The No 10 route was extended to Colinton in 1928, running on a part day basis at first. The initial fare to Princes Street was 2d, with a workman return available for 3d.
Tram fleet number 40 was the final one to leave Colinton on 22nd October 1955, when both Nos 9 & 10 routes were withdrawn on 23rd October 1955. The service to Colinton was then replaced by a bus service.
A view of a tram circa 1950s waiting to use the cross-over at Colinton terminus before commencing a return journey to Granton. An SMT bus heading to Balerno can be seen in the background.
Colinton Railway Station circa 1910
SALES OF ASSETS BY THE MAIN CONTRACTORS
The contractors Plant and Equipment were sold when construction works concluded and the machinery and other items were no longer required.
The first Advertisement for the sale of items appeared in the Scotsman Newspaper on 5th August 1916.
“…Redford Barracks – Completion of Contract
Disposal of Plant by Private Bargain…”
The list of items included 62 hp National Gas Engine and Producer Plant
10 In. Barclay Locomotive
Steam Derrick Cranes
Electric Motors, etc…
The second advertisement, again with the Scotsman Newspaper on 30th March 1917.
“Sale of Contractors Plant
Wooden erections and buildings
Planks, battens, sleepers, steel side tip wagons…
Shirlaw Allan & Co Auctioneers, Hamilton.
Owing to the completion of War Dept contract –
One – yard steel side tip wagons 24 in gauge with Roller Bearings
Breeze brick making machine
8 x steel Turn Tables for 24 inch gauge
Railway Crossing Chairs and Fishplates
2 Platelayers Bogies
4 ft Iron Horse Roller…”
Soldiers dinning circa 1920 in the Barracks at Redford.
SALE OF ASSETS OF COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
The Company never carried on business as a tramway undertaking, although various proposals were considered with land purchased with a view to completing the lines. Completion of a line and associated work by and for the contractors of Redford Barracks, as detailed was the only construction work completed.
The Minute and Cash books reveal the position with regards to the sale of the Company assets. These detail the amounts received but are silent on the negotiations undertaken.
19th April 1920 - The Company received £5,000 from Edinburgh Corporation for abandoning their tramway rights.
17th February 1922 - The Edinburgh & District Water Trust paid £1,000 to the Company for the bridge over canal, way leave under roadways, and land at south of canal (canal sidings). The Bridge survives today.
20th May 1932 – By this time the only remaining heritable property was the land at Allan’s Park. (The land known as Allan’s Park had been sold by the Craiglockhart Estate to the Company in February 1911 to allow the building of a tramcar shed and the track over the fields.) Two offers for the land had been received.
James Millar builders offered £2,000 for 8.25 acres; and the other offer was from J L Rae & Co offering to pay £38 per acre for other parts of the land. Unsuccessful attempts were made to negotiate a higher figure with J L Rae & Co. No mention is made of the small strip of land adjacent to the Union Canal.
1st November 1935 – James Millar were in the course of constructing 70 houses, with a note that a number of the houses were still in the course of erection. Other grounds were feud to J L Rae & Co Builders for £38 per acre.
Offers were received from John D. Wood & Co. Berkely Square London to purchase the fue superior from Colinton Tramway Trust. The offer accepted was for 23.5 years, discounted by half a year as commission, leaving 23 years fue purchase to the Trust. This worked out at £314 per fue.
17th February 1936 – The remaining fues were sold to Messrs Ewing & Cotterbert Solicitors in Alloa for a total of £7,200, £22 per fue for 23 years.
Copy of the Minute Book with details of the payments of Fue Duties.
WINDING UP OF THE COLINTON TRAMWAY COMPANY
Counsel’s opinion was obtained dated 10th July 1936 for the purposes of deciding how the company should be dissolved. The opinion stated that when the City Corporation paid for the undertakings the powers of the 1920 Act lapsed. There was no need therefore for any formal winding up. The Promoters of the Colinton Tramways Company through the Court of Exchequer 1st Division on 20th November 1920 stated “... the tramways authorised have not been completed or opened for the conveyance of passengers and completion of the undertaking is no longer contemplated..” therefore seeing the end of the Colinton Tramways Company.
The final meeting of the Company took place on 28th July 1936, 27 years after it came into existence with the 1909 Act.
All that remained was to distribute the remaining funds. It was decided to award the four surviving Directors £100 each on an ex-gratia basis and payments were made to Colin Black, George Brown, Charles Geddes, and Ian MacIntyre. This left a final dividend for the Shareholders of 19/- in the £. Two interim dividend payments had been made, the first of 13/4 on 12 April 1922, and second 2/2 paid on 22nd July 1922. This resulted in a distribution to shareholders of Colinton Tramways totalling 34/6 in the £.
The Shareholder list in 1936 can be taken from the Accounts Book of the Company where the final dividend payment is listed. This is handwritten and the best effort to provide the correct information is as follows -
C Geddes; Rev J C B Geddes; Ian MacIntyre; D MacIntyre; G Brown; Col. M K Stewart; Ian J W(?)atson; Miss E S Haldane; R P Haldane; Miss J R Christie; Colin Black; W J D Campbell; Miss H D Campbell; Miss B(?) A G Young; F G J Borthwick; J G Kirkpatrick; W Hanna; and Sir Colin Macrae.
Accounts Book of Colinton Tramways showing the final dividend payments.
Accounts Book with the second page detailing the final dividends paid.
WHAT REMAINS OF THE COLINTON TRAMWAY?
THE SURVIVING LOCOMOTIVE
The records of the locomotive manufacturers, Andrew Barclay, Sons and Co. Ltd. Kilmarnock, note that two locomotives were supplied for use on the line linking Slateford to Redford.
The first was works number 1223, an 0-4-0 tank locomotive, which was supplied on 14th March 1911. This was grandly named COLIN MACANDREW. The records indicate it was supplied to “Colin McAndrew, Redford Contract, Gorgie, Edinburgh.” After service on the line in Colinton, COLIN MACANDREW was sold to Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Works in Hebburn Tyneside in June 1915. Tharsis was an Edinburgh based company incorporated in 1862 which took over the copper mines in the Sierra de Tharsis in Spain. The locomotive was then sold to N Greening (Wireworks) Warrington in 1939. In July 1966 the locomotive was acquired for preservation. It was restored and went to the Chasewater Railway in the West Midlands. A replacement boiler was sourced from donor locomotive 2343 “BRITISH GYPSUM No. 4” and the locomotive is now in regular use at this enthusiast’s line.
The second locomotive was works number 1285, supplied 24th February 1914, another Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0 tank locomotive this time named “No 2”. The records again indicate this was supplied to “Colin McAndrew, Redford Contract, Edinburgh.” 1285 was also sold after the Redford contract was finished and went to Tharsis Sulphur and Company of Cardiff, where it was named “PHOENIX”. It was then sold to the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in 1938, eventually being scrapped by A R Adams & Son, Newport, Monmouthshire in 1949.
“COLIN MACANDREW” the locomotive which was used on the Colinton Tramway Company lines between Slateford and Colinton, is located at the heritage Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire. It now carries the name “COLIN MCANDREW & COY.”
Images from Chasewater Railway
The line of the Tramway can be seen from the top of Allan Park Road. The track which was through fields now forms the base of Craiglockhart Road as far as the junction with Elliot Park. The line entered the barracks site between Oriel Cottage and what is now Elliot Road.
The Allan Park footbridge over the Union Canal, which was constructed for the contractor’s line, is now is use as a footpath and also carries a water main.
A small section thought to be from the tram track remains in the back garden of a house in Craiglockhart Crescent.
Does anyone know of anything else from the Colinton Tramway Company?
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
It is interesting to look at some of the background and historical information about the various gentlemen involved:
The original Directors of the Colinton Tramway Company were -
Sir Colin George Macrae WS (1844 – 1925) of Glenflora, Colinton, and also 57 Castle Street and 45 Moray Place Edinburgh. Partner of Macrae Flett and Rennie WS.
A disputed Clan Chief of the Clan Macrae (who have no Chief). Sir Colin was knighted for his education works in 1900. Educated at Edinburgh Academy, he had been a member and Chairman of the Edinburgh School Board. He was a member of the Welfare of Youth Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Member of Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Solicitor to Scottish Life Assurance Company. (Presided at meeting to object to the Barracks).
Ian Macintyre W S (1869- 1946) of Mackenzie and Kermack WS 9 Hill Street Edinburgh. A former Scottish Rugby Internationalist, former President of the Scottish Rugby Union, Member of the Royal & Ancient St Andrews, a Director of Scottish Life Assurance Company & others. He was elected in May 1910 as a member of the Kings Bodyguard for Scotland - The Royal Company of Archers, and was a member of Edinburgh Town Council 1918-1920. He died in 1946 whilst giving a lecture at his former school Fettes.
G W Geddes Mining Engineer of 21 Young Street Edinburgh.
William Gemmill Charles Hanna, Chartered Accountant (1879- 1945) Home address 6 Lennox Street; of Wood and Hanna Accountants 4 Melville Street was appointed Secretary of the Company. Mr Hanna was a Director of The Scottish Life Assurance Company Ltd. Also a member and judge of the Kings Bodyguard for Scotland - The Royal Company of Archers. County Auditor for Midlothian Council.
The Trustees of Colinton Tramway Trust were -
George Mackenzie Brown (1869 – 14 July 1946) 20 Moray Place Edinburgh and later shown as 6 Elvastons Place London SW7. Educated partly at Merchiston Castle School, and then at King’s College Cambridge. On leaving Cambridge, Brown became managing trustee of Thomas Nelson & Sons who were an Edinburgh publisher. He produced Arthur Conan Doyle’s books; and later went on to beat him to win election as MP for Edinburgh Central. He led a deputation from the Scottish Temperance Legislation Board campaigning for a change in the law to prohibit the sale of alcoholic liquor.
Colin Mackenzie Black WS 28 Castle Street Edinburgh. A lieutenant with King’s Royal Corp; served in France from September to December 1917, Camp Commandant Headquarters 39th Division B.E.F. Secretary and member of the Kings Bodyguard for Scotland - The Royal Company of Archers.
William Purves WS of 33 Great King Street WS worked at W & F Haldane WS 4 North Charlotte Street Edinburgh. (William Haldane (1864-1951) of W & F Haldane was educated at Edinburgh Academy; he was Crown Agent, Scotland, and Prison Commissioner between 1905 and 1917. He was Commissioner under the Development Fund Act between 1910 and 1930. He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Bath (K.B.) in 1912. William Haldane was brother of R B Haldane – Sec of State for War).
William Archer Porter Tait (1866-1929) educated at Edinburgh Academy, and from 1881 to 1884 studied at the University of Edinburgh obtaining the degree of B.Sc. in Engineering. Mr Tait was the Engineer for the Tramway was also the Engineer for the Edinburgh and District Water Trust. He was a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. In 1910 the degree of D.Sc. was conferred upon him by the University of Edinburgh.
Lord Richard Burdon Haldane (1856 – 1928) was born in Edinburgh and educated at Edinburgh Academy.
He was also part educated at the Goettingen University and University of Edinburgh. In December 1905 Haldane was appointed Minister of War, a post he retained until 1912. In June 1912 Haldane was appointed Lord Chancellor by Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. He was accreditated as founding the Territorial Army. He was Lord Rector of Edinburgh University, Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, and was made a Freeman of the City of Edinburgh.
The Soldiers home later became the Royal Soldiers Home and was run by Miss Williamina Saida Davidson OBE (1859-1937). Awarded OBE for “Work for the troops at Redford Barracks, Colinton. She came from a military family from Inchmarlo. Dedicated to helping soldiers, known as “the soldiers’ friend”. Honorary Lady Superintendant of the Soldiers’ Home in Maryhill Glasgow. Founded the Soldiers’ Home at Barry Camp, Angus. After the Great War she established the Royal Soldiers Home in place of the temporary accommodation. Her sister was Katherine Helen Davidson (1845-1925) Senior Deaconess of the Church of Scotland from 14 Craiglockhart Terrace Edinburgh.
THE MAIN CONTRACTOR - COLIN MACANDREW
A brief history is provided of Colin Macandrew the main contractor of the Redford Barracks, and the firm that laid the railway line along part of the authorised Colinton Tramways route.
Colin Macandrew was born and brought up on the shores of Loch Tay and came to Edinburgh in the late 1870s. He worked as a journeyman joiner before commencing his own business in 1882. Whilst in Edinburgh he lived the majority of his time at 33 Lauder Road.
Mr. Macandrew concentrated his business in larger contracts within Edinburgh with a stated aim of excellent quality. He worked on his own with employed workers up to The Great War, and after the First World War was joined in the business by his son Percy Macandrew. His son had fought in that war and had been wounded then taken prison.
With the addition of his son the firm was renamed as Colin Macandrew Ltd with Colin as the Chairman and his son Percy as the Secretary. They were joined by Frank Matson as a director.
Percy took control after his father retired from the business in 1933. Colin Macandrew Ltd then became the holding company for Colin Macandrew & Partners Ltd and Colin Macandrew and Marshall Ltd; the two companies were formed to run the joiner and mason sides of the work respectively, with Percy as governing director of both.
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War the two subsidiary firms were amalgamated as Colin Macandrew & Ptns Ltd with Percy as governing director and G L Orchard, who had joined the firm in 1926, and been a director since 1933, on the Board.
In 1940 Percy Macandrew retired and G L Orchard acquired his interests and became governing director with H Stuart McLaren as a director and secretary of the company. After the War they were joined by R R Orchard, who had served throughout the second war in the RAF. G L Orchard was President of the Scottish National Building Trades (Employers’) Federation in 1948-49.
1882-1914 - Colin Macandrew concentrated on contracting for public buildings (including the Redford Contracts in Colinton).
In 1890 – constructed the Morningside High Church (now the Churchill Theatre); the Jubilee Pavilion of the Eye Block and the Ear Nose and Throat Block of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in Lauriston Place. At this time the business operated from 13 Lauriston Gardens (the building was rebuilt later and became Gordon C Macandrew Citroen Garage).
The largest contract was the building of the Redford Barracks. The work commenced before the outbreak of the First World War and was carried on to completion during the war. Macandrews were the main contractor for the erection of the buildings, and completed the mason, joiner, and plaster works.
Colinton Village then was a place well outside the City boundary. To facilitate the works on the barracks, Macandrew built and operated a railway, with bridges over the canal. This railway used standard gauge and ran from the Caledonian Railway sidings at Slateford Station through to the site, where smaller narrow 2 ft gauge wagons were employed for moving the building material. The railway was constructed on the route proposed for passenger traffic by the Colinton Tramway Company who entered into an agreement with the War Office for the use of the alignment from 1909.
The Cavalry and the Infantry Barracks were part of a contract of about £1/2 million, a very big one in those days. In addition to the barracks buildings the firm constructed a riding school, officers’ messes, guardroom buildings, boundary walls and other structures.
Above the Cavalry Barracks and below the Infantry Barracks, shortly after completion.
1918-1939 - After the first and before the second war building work took a few years to get back to normal as the availability of craftsmen had become severely depleted. Material was by and large still available.
One of the first demands was the erection of war memorials and example being the magnificent Scottish – American Memorial in West Princes Street Gardens.
During this period a large amount of work was commissioned for Schools and University buildings. The business had moved to premises at 11 West End Place in about 1920, which had its own railway connection and where a large timber storage yard with workshops was located. (This is the area now occupied by a Lidl supermarket.)
Examples of Macandrews work were the Junior School Building at George Heriots - The stage at the Heriots Junior School building had beautiful fluted walnut columns showing the high quality of the work undertaken; the Junior School Building at Watson College; and the Princes Margaret Rose Hospital for Crippled Children at Fairmilehead.
The company completed the Convent of the Sacred Heart Chapel at Craiglockhart (now part of Edinburgh Napier University) again showing the high class of craftsmanship featuring the beautiful ornate walnut wood stalls and paneling.
1945 - One of the most pressing problems after the Second World War was housing. A temporary housing programme of prefabricated houses commenced in Muirhouse in Edinburgh. It lasted for over two years and saw 100s of houses were built in the City by Macandrews.
From 1948 the Ministry of Works restarted its programme of public building. The first large stone contract in Scotland since the war was for the erection of a 4 story building entirely made of stone for the General Post Office Telephone Exchange at Fountainbridge. Other contracts completed by Macandrews were at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine for the new Police Training College; the Post Office Stores Building at McDonald Road; and the National Library of Scotland, which and was completed in 1956.
Macandrews left a legacy of magnificent building around Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland and ran the only vehicles on the lines of Colinton Tramway.
An amazing story of a local tramway company in Edinburgh that existed for 27 years and which never ran a tram.
“Edinburgh’s Transport”, by D.L.G. Hunter’s, published 1964 by The Advertiser Press Ltd of Huddersfield.
“The Balerno Branch and the Caley in Edinburgh” by Donald Shaw, published 1989 by Oakwood Press ISBN 0853613664
Celtic Monthly Newspaper – a newspaper for Highlanders
Scotsman Newspaper Archives
Building Stones of Edinburgh by I T Bunyan et al - published by Edinburgh Geological Society 1987. ISBN 0 904440 04 4
City of Edinburgh Council Archives
National Records of Scotland
National Library of Scotland
And all others who have assisted in my research
23rd November 2016
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