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Piershill is a suburb of north east Edinburgh, Scotland, in the shadow of Arthur's Seat. It is mainly residential, with local amenities including a large Morrisons supermarket and filling station, bank, public library, optician, pharmacy, several takeaway restaurants and specialist retailers along with public houses.
The name Piershill is thought to come from a Colonel Piers who built a house on the high land overlooking Restalrig, land which subsequently became the cavalry installation at Piershill Barracks.
The Piershill Square East/West/Portobello Road tenements, containing 342 dwellings, were built 1937-8 by the Edinburgh Corporation Council. They were designed by Ebenezer James MacRae (1881–1951), Edinburgh's City Architect and members of his architectural team. MacRae was City Architect for twenty years and his infill developments and reinterpretation of Scots vernacular architecture are an important part of Edinburgh's inter-war heritage. These tenements reflect MacRae's tours of Europe in their planning and layout. Sadly, many of the original multi-pane sash windows have been lost. They were built on the site of Piershill Cavalry Barracks, and re-used the stone facings from the old buildings. They are a reinterpretation of the traditional tenement, a housing type more usually associated with the Nineteenth century.
The East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh and London lies to the immediate north of the estate. Smoky Brae lies immediately west of Piershill, being the local name for the route to Restalrig which travels beneath the railway line. Immediately before the first bridge on the high wall to the right can be seen the remains of the original back gate to Piershill Barracks, now walled up but still with the legend BACK GATE visible on the wall; there is also a bricked up doorway to the left of the back gate.
As well as the East Coast Main Line railway there is also a busy crossroads, the main A1 road trunk route between Edinburgh and London and the A1140 to Portobello making it something of a transport nexus. The area is well served by Lothian Buses.
Sigmund Neuberger, a famous illusionist known as The Great Lafayette, along with his dog Beauty, and George Wilson, a recipient of the Victoria Cross, are buried here. There is also a large Jewish burial section, including a memorial dedicated "to the memory of the Jewish soldiers of Edinburgh who gave their lives in the World War 1914-1919", fighting in various regiments of the British Army. The cemetery was the first in Scotland to permit an officially designated animal burial section.
Piershill Square West has a "Community Flat", run by the National Health Service (NHS). Staffed full-time by a coordinator, with additional staff from various agencies supporting the project on a weekly basis, the Community Flat is run in partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian. It currently offers services including a resident's group; a parent and toddler group; stop smoking services; state benefits advice; social groups; links to Working Towards Health; and links to Action for Jobs with Jobcentre Plus. The flat is predominantly for use by residents of the two squares in Piershill, Portobello Road and the top of Restalrig Road South, but from March 2007 will be part of the greater Regeneration Outcome Agreement area of Restalrig, Lochend and Craigentinny.