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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Look Out Any Window: Alfred Henry Rushbrook, the South Side of Edinburgh, 1929


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Buccleuch Street no.125. Photograph of a four storey tenement in Buccleuch St. Ground floor with sign 'Wee Beer Shop' and 'D. Cuthbert' over door, woman and two children at door, two men at window. Little boy looking out of first floor window. Woman looking out of third floor window. Washing hanging out of third floor window. Advertisements on gable wall.



Oakfield Court.
Photograph of a four storey Tenement in Oakfield Court, at the back of the building. The top storey window in the centre of the building is smashed. Below a child is looking out of second storey window at a group of three girls. In the foreground a line of washing is blowing about with a pram visible in the background.
 


25-29 North Richmond Street.
Photograph of a three storey tenement building with shops on the ground floor. The shop signs are M Bullon Kosher Fish Restaurant and Cabinetmaker Joiner A.G. Heddle. On the left a bicycle has been propped against the wall and above a person looks out of a third floor window. To the right above the cabinetmaker a woman leans out of a second floor window.



9 Buccleuch Street.
Photograph of a two storey building with shutters and bars on the ground floor windows. A lamp is on the left side of the building and there is a window box above. Two women are leaning out of different first storey windows and another is above in a second storey window visible over a line of washing. All of them are looking at the camera. On the far right a gate is visible at the end of the building.



12-14 West Richmond Street.
Photograph of a three storey building with two shops on the ground floor. The two shops are J. Anderson and J.E.Trayner Wallpaper Paint. There are two men in the doorway of J. Anderson one wearing an apron. In a doorway in the centre of the picture there is a group of children, some seated. On the extreme right there is a small child leaning against the building looking away from the camera. There is also a dog outside J.E. Trayner. In the windows there are several window boxes and two people looking out.



Richmond Road to 21 Richmond Place.
Photograph of a three storey buildings with people looking out of some of the windows. The shops on the ground floor are a fish and chips shop, a cold meat seller, and a boot polish merchant. A woman and child are talking in the doorway of the meat shop. Two women on the first and second floors are hanging a washing out.

 

3-9 Pleasance. Photograph of a two storey house with shops on the ground floor: a tobacconist's on the left, a newsagent's in the middle and a shop selling cooked meats. The latter, however, has a display of small bottles in the shop window. In front of the newsagents a number of headlines are shown on billboards, and Woodbine cigarettes are advertised on a sign above the shop. A woman is standing in the doorway of the tobacconist's, and a boy with a bucket is cleaning the shopwindow of the newsagent's.

 

14-18 East Richmond Street. Photograph of a three storey building. There is a shop with an awning on the ground floor, a sign in the window reads 'Famous Pies'. Outside on the pavement in the centre there is a group of adults and children and a dog. Some of the women have baskets that they may be selling. There are also three people looking out of the windows above the street.


23-29 Richmond Place.
Photograph of a four storey tenement. Shops on the ground floor are General Dealer J.A.Masterson and Charles Greiner Wine and Spirit Merchant. Mother and child just visible in the fourth window of the top storey above the wine and spirit merchant. Below there are five men and two women standing around. There are also some people retreating under the archway on the left side of the picture.


76-78 St. Leonards Street.
Photograph of a two storey cottage style house in the centre with flowers on the window sills of the top floor and curtains in all four windows. Somebody is looking out of the top left window. The left door is open. An iron ladder leads from the roof to the chimney stack.

 

2-12 North Richmond Street. Photograph of a three storey building with some shops on the ground floor. A man is looking out of a second floor window.

 

86-90 St. Leonards Street. Photograph of a two storey building with two women standing in the doorway and three boys in front. To the right, a women with children and a pram can be seen. Two people are looking out of a window on the third floor.

 

21-27 Gifford Park. Photograph of a three storey building with a whitewashed gateway in the left leading to a joiner's workshop. Two young people are looking out of a second floor window, and somebody is also at a third floor window.


17-21 Pleasance. There is a three storey building on the left with 3 children standing in a close. A child is looking out of one of the top floor windows. Most windows have curtains. The two storey building on the right has a cash store for fruit, vegetables and sweets on the ground floor. Two boys are looking into the shop window.


14-20 Gifford Park. Photograph of a three storey building with people looking out of various windows. Two boys are inspecting the window display of a confectioner's shop on the right. A woman is standing next to a whitewashed gateway. There are flowers on some of the windowsills.

 
83-91 Pleasance. Photograph of a three storey building with a fish restaurant and a grocer's on the ground floor. People are looking out of a second and a third floor window, and a girl is standing in front of the grocer's holding a toddler. Fruit is displayed in baskets in the shop entrance.


92-96 Pleasance. Photograph of a row of three storey buildings with shops on the ground floor. On the left, a hardware store has a display of crockery in the shop window and some baskets hanging in the doorway. A woman and three children are standing in front of the shop. On the wall of the left house are advertisment signs for milk and soap. Two children are looking out of a second floor window.


Photos by Alfred Henry Rushbrook (1867-1937) commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust to record the appearance of streets and houses in the south side of Edinburgh before slum-clearance demolition, 1929 (National Library of Scotland)

3 comments:

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

It was bleak and lousy, but, I suppose if one was there, it was a kind of paradise to be fondly remembered. But, Jasus, it had to be cold and mean in winter.

tpw said...

Beautiful photos. There's a stark beauty in those old buildings. A mysterious uncle of mine, Anthony Wynch, was murdered in Edinburgh in 1955, and I've always wanted to go there & investigate the unsolved crime. But never have, alas.

TC said...

Red and Terry,

Thanks for getting the haunting mystery and beauty here. This commissioned survey of a dying precinct, the only surviving work of note by an otherwise obscure commercial photographer, preserves moments of a disappearing life, the tiny figures leaning from the windows in these photos seeming to look out at us from a world that has already vanished.

The predominant part of the quite large file consists of similarly composed shots of rows of bleak dark buildings, some with blacked windows, some with shops at street level and people about. The tenements loom as great shadowy traps. The shots I've selected are the ones with people in the windows. What else would there be to look for, as the shades of history deepen.

Can it be there is a clue to the unknown secrets of Anthony Wynch buried in the rubble beneath the foundations of the modern city that has grown up over the ruins?

For a comparative image of urban architectural claustrophobia, from the slums of Glasgow, some sixty years earlier on:

Tight Spaces (Thomas Annan: The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow)