A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Colinton, a village and a parish of Edinburghshire. The village, 4 miles SW by S of Edinburgh, is charmingly situated in a hollow on the Water of Leith, which here is spanned by a high stone bridge; at it are a station on the Balerno loop-line of the Caledonian (1874), a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, 2 inns, the parish church, and a public school. In his Miller of Deanhaugh (1844), the late Jas. Ballantyne described it ` with its romantic valley, its lines of cottages embedded in the hollows, its kailyards and their rows of currant-bushes, its sylvan pathway threading the mazes of wood, deep, deep down in the beautiful dell. ' The village has changed a bit since then, but always for the better, a good many comfortable, old English-looking houses having arisen upon its upper outskirts within the last two or three years. Pop. (1851) 120, (1881) 276.

The parish, containing also the villages of Juniper Green, Hailes, Longstone, and Slateford, is traversed across the NW corner by the Caledonian railway and the Union Canal, and through the north-western interior by the Balerno line. Till 1697 it was called Hailes, and thence till 1747 Hailes or Collingtoune. It is bounded NW by Corstorphine, NE by St Cuthberts, E by Liberton, SE by Lasswade and Glencross, SW by Penicuik and Currie. Its greatest length, from N to S, is 37/8 miles; its greatest breadth is 3¼ miles; and its area is 5659¾ acres, of which 20¼ are water. Triangular Torduff reservoir (3 x 2/3 furl.), the lower of the two Edinburgh Compensation Ponds, falls within the south-western border; and through the north-western interior, from Juniper Green to Slateford, the Water of Leith winds 3 miles east-north-eastward along a lovely little wooded dell. Another streamlet is the Burn of Braid, running 3½ miles north-eastward, from above Bonally into St Cuthberts, and joined near Dreghorn Castle by Howden Burn. From the flats of Corstorphine the surface rises south-south-eastward to the northern slopes of the Pentlands, in the NW and N sinking to less than 300 feet above sea-level, whilst in the S it attains 1280 feet, Castle-Law (1595 feet) and Bells Hill (1330) culminating in Glencross and Penicuik parishes. In the NE is Craiglockhart, a beautiful westward extension of the Braid Hills. Most of the parish, down to the 17th century, seems to have been a desolate moor. But now the greater part is in a state of high cultivation, beautified by hedgerows, parks, and woods; and even lower acclivities of the Pentlands, up to 700 feet above sea-level, have recently been planted or brought under the plough. Excellent springs on the lands of Comiston, Swanston, and Dreghorn long furnished Edinburgh with its chief artificial water supply. The rocks of the Pentlands are principally porphyrites, those of the low grounds calciferous sandstones. Excellent sandstone is largely quarried at Redhall and Hailes, and has been much employed in Edinburgh architecture. The soil ranges in character from good alluvium, through several sorts of loam, to moorish earth. About seven-elevenths of the entire area are arable, and nearly one-fourth is hill pasture. Colinton House, in the northern vicinity of Colinton village, was rebuilt by the eminent banker, Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, Bart. (1739-1806), who died at it, as also did Jas. Abercromby, Lord Dunfermline (1776-1858), for four years Speaker of the House of Commons. It is now the seat of Jn. Moubray Trotter, Esq. Other mansions are Bonally, Dreghorn, Redford, Comiston, Hailes, Redhall, and Craiglockhart; and other illustrious names connected with this parish are those of the Rev. Arch. Alison, Jn. Allen, Lord Cockburn, the Rev. Jn. Dick, D.D., Lord Dreghorn, Prof. Wm. B. Hodgson, Lords President Gilmour and Lockhart, David Mallet, and Lord Woodhall. Two prominent buildings are the Edinburgh new Workhouse and the Hydropathic Establishment, both near Craiglockhart Hill. Some sixteen corn and paper mills are on the Water of Leith; and an extensive bleachfield is at Inglis Green. The Roman road from York to Carriden passed through the lands of Comiston, where also was a large ancient camp. Two very large conical cairns, which adjoined this camp, are supposed to have marked the scene of an important battle; and a rude whinstone monolith, the Kel Stane or Cames Stone, not far from there, is of course referred to the mythical Camus of Barry. Ten proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 10 of between £100 and £500,7 of from £50 to £100, and 31 of from £20 to £50. Colinton is in the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The parish church, at the village, containing 660 sittings, was built in 1771, and enlarged in 1837. At Craiglockhart is an iron Established mission church (1880), at Juniper Green a new Free church (1880; 620 sittings), and at Slateford a U.P. church (1784; 520 sittings). Five public schools-Colinton, Juniper Green infant and industrial, Juniper Green male, Longstone female, and Slateford-with respective accommodation for 161,85, 85,90, and 129, had (1880) an average attendance of 121,54,110,60, and 80, and grants of £86,7s. 6d., £40,18s., £96,13s., £35,12s., and £26. Valuation (1860) £15,714. (1882) £34,675, including £7589 for railway and waterworks. Pop. (1801) 1397, (1831) 2232, (1861) 2656, (1871) 3644, (1881) 4347.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1857. See Thos. Murray's Biographical Annals of the Parish of Colinton (Edinb. 1863).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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