Cables Wynd House

(Banana Flats)

An iconic large public housing block in South Leith, Cables Wynd House, lies between Great Junction Street and the Water of Leith. Better known as the Banana Flats, owing to its curved shape, the block was built 1963-65 designed by architects Alison & Hutchison & Partners and extends to more than 165m (550 feet) in length. It is clad in pre-cast concrete slabs. At the time of construction this was the largest block of flats in Edinburgh, comprising 212 homes distributed over ten storeys; 204 have two bedrooms and eight have one bedroom. Cables Wynd House was regarded as an innovative design for social housing, combining an accomplished example of brutalist architecture with ambitious community planning which used external multi-level decks in an attempt to recreate the spirit of traditional Edinburgh tenemented streets. The design was intended to maximise exposure to daylight for the residents, and the building featured innovations such as heated floors, a concierge, lifts and refuse chutes.

Cables Wynd House became synonymous with social problems and drug abuse in the 1980s and featured in the Irvine Welsh novel Trainspotting (1993). The flats appeared in the 1996 film of the same name starring Robert Carlyle (b. 1961) and Ewan McGregor (b. 1971) and, together with the smaller but similar Linksview House, in the sequel T2 Trainspotting (2017). Cable Wynd House also became a backdrop in the television drama Wedding Belles (2007), also by Welsh. Much to the surprise of locals, the building was Category-A listed in 2017 owing to its architectural importance.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better