60 Morningside Drive, Blackford Hill and the Meadows  

 

The area where David Maxwell-Fyfe was born and brought up was very significant to him. His inspiration from the city of Edinburgh established his beliefs and who was later to become. His first home was 60 Morningside Drive as he says in his autobiography 'I was born on May 29th, 1900, at 60 Morningside Drive.' However as we discovered when we went to find and film the locations that were meaningful to him for the film, Under an English Heaven, the house that he was born in, is now demolished. On Morningside Drive,there are house numbers 58 and 59 and 61 and 62, but no number 60. When we visited it, the street was residential and leafy and the other houses still standing either side gave us an idea of how his first house might have been.  

 

Not far from where he was first born in Morningside is Blackford Hill and the Meadows where he spent many of his childhood hours. He writes in his autobiography '...we lived in various houses over the years near the Meadows, which was a delightful place for rugger, cricket, snowballing and the thousand other activities of small boys.' The Meadows are  used for the same purposes today and are overshadowed by the imposing Castle on one side and Arthurs Seat on the other.  

 

Maxwell-Fyfe spent many happy hours on Blackford Hill as a boy as he recalls in his autobiography '...the sunshine and laughter on Blackford Hill where I played and dreamed...' It is less well-known cousin of Arthur's Seat and they sit at opposite sides of the city. The view from Blackford Hill is stunning, sweeping around the Castle, Arthur's Seat and the city with the sea in the distance in one panorama. On our visits, it is quite unchanged from Maxwell-Fyfe's time with children playing and dreaming, flying kites and playing football,  and dogs and their owners enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

The Old Town and Castle

 

When visiting Edinburgh, it is difficult to miss the Castle as all roads and hills lead towards it, particularly the Royal Mile which stretches from the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood to the Castle. Although it is made up of  five separate street  names, the Scots mile length street is most famous for the use of it during the festival season in August when street performers and actors take it over to sell their shows. The Royal Mile is the main artery of the Old Town which along with the New Town are part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Castle is an impressive building set upon jagged rocks above the city. Maxwell-Fyfe describes it in his autobiography saying 'Edinburgh and its environs were a paradise for the boy with  taste a for solitude and history. The Castle above all was the place.' Now it is a tourist trap with thousands of visitors every day. The Military Tattoo is a highlight of the year as part of the Edinburgh Festivals with performers and musicians from around the world taking part in the spectacle that takes place on the Castle's Esplanade.

Arthurs Seat and Holyrood  

 

Arthur's Seat sits just east of the Castle in the centre of the city of Edinburgh. Maxwell-Fyfe remembers Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags very fondly in his autobiography because of it's striking views and the slums of Holyrood. Now 'the Seat' is popular with walkers, of which we have been part when we made our way up to the top when we were performing Albion Forlorn at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013. You can see this in the English Cabaret Vlog, 'English Cabaret at Arthur's Seat'. It was quite hard work to climb up but it was worth the work for the fantastic views.

 

Holyrood Palace is the Queen's official Scottish residence and now resides alongside the Scottish Parliament builings at the bottom of the Royal Mile. It was particually in the spotlight during 2014 when the referendum on Scottish independence took place. In the April before the referendum, we took a tour of the parliament buildings. It was fascinating to learn about the architecture and how it linked to the produce and heritage of Scotland. It was also interesting to be there in the year of the referendum and see how it was dealt with as a subject at that critical time.

Click on a small image to enlarge

'The light plays clearly on my Edinburgh Childhood. The influence of the old city was all-pevading.'

from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

'...the semi-sinister romanticism of Holyrood squatting glumly in the midst of the most dreadful slums...the glorious vistas from Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags, all are etched indelibly upon my memory.'

from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

Click on a small image to enlarge

'The cobbled, dimly lit alleyways of the old town, the symmetrical splendour of the great streets, the aloof and enthralling majesty of the castle.'

from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

road panorama edit

Edinburgh

A View from Arthur's Seat

M - 1 edit

58 - 61 Morningside Drive (excluding 60)

Panorama from Arthur's Seat edit

Panoramic View from Arthur's Seat  

Pan Castle edit

Edinburgh Castle from the Princes Street Gardens