A district of central Edinburgh, Dean is centred around the Water of Leith and Dean Village, a half-mile (1 km) west of the city centre. Dean Village was associated with milling and these had extended west by the early 19th century. Other than the West Mill in Dean Village, little of these remain. Bell's Mills to the southwest of the district, beyond Belford Bridge, was wrecked by a dust explosion in 1972, although its former granary now forms part of the Menzies Belford Hotel. Dean Bridge was the work of Thomas Telford (1831), while Belford Bridge dates from 1887.

To the north, Dean House, once the seat of the Nisbet family, was demolished in 1845 to make way for Dean Cemetery. The physicist James Forbes (1809-68), one of the last occupants of the Dean House, was buried in the cemetery next to the yew tree which once lay outside the window of his house. The Dean Gallery, built as the Dean Orphanage (1833) lies next to the cemetery to the north. Dean Parish Church (1903) lies on the corner of Dean Path and Ravelston Terrace.

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