the Stockbridge Colonies
Stockbridge takes it name from the Scots words "stocc
brycg" meaning a timber foot bridge after the original
bridge that crossed the Water of Leith to the small village.
The current stone Stock Bridge was built in 1801 with the
help of the architect James Milne and it now allows traffic
to cross the river between the two adjoining 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 St. Bernard's Church in
Saxe Coburg Street built in 1823 and Anne Street which
was designed by Raeburn and named after his wife. Today
houses in Anne Street with their front gardens are among
Edinburgh's most expensive properties.
After the creation of Edinburgh's Georgian New town which
began in 1767, building steadily progressed northwards
to emcompass the small villages along the river including
Stockbridge and the Dean Village.
Stockbridge has a definite Bohemian vibe
and many artists, musicians, poets,writers and thespians
have made the area their home. Over the years 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',
The original Mrs Doubtfire or "Madame Doubtfire"
lived and ran a rag and bone shop in South East Circus
Place, Stockbridge. The novelist Anne Fine who also lived
in the area was inspired by the name which remained faded
above her shop (now a solicitors) many years after Madame
Doubtfire's death. Her novel of the same name was in turn
the inspiration for the movie based on her book, although
Robin William's character bares little resemblence to the
'real' Madame Doubtfire.
Another famous 'madame' from Stockbridge was
Dora Noyce was well repected lady dressed in her fur coat,
twinset and pearls and posh accent and was a good friend
of Madame Doubtfire's, on the surface no one (other than
her clientele) would have suspected that she ran a very successful
brothel from her elegant townhouse at 17 Danube Street. She
once said her busiest time was during the Edinburgh Festival
but the two weeks of the General Assembly of the Church of
Scotland ran a close second.
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