Comely Bank

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Tenements, Comely Bank
Comely Bank Road

Comely Bank (/ˌkɒmɪli ˈbæŋk/; Scottish Gaelic: Bruach Cheanalta, IPA:[ˈpɾuəxˈçɛnəɫ̪t̪ʰə]) is an area of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It lies southwest of Royal Botanic Garden and is situated between Stockbridge and Craigleith. It is bound on its northernmost point by Carrington Road and on its southernmost point by Learmonth Terrace.[1] The area is covered by Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council.[2]


The ground was originally part of Sir William Fettes' estate. The original development was a terrace of Georgian town-houses built to face the main east–west road leading to Stockbridge. This was designed by Thomas Brown (architect) in 1817 and still stands today.[3]

The Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle lived in Comely Bank Road between 1819 and 1821 before achieving literary success. At that time, the terrace at the western end of the road was the last row of houses in Edinburgh before the village of Blackhall.

In 1894 the builder Sir James Steel bought the then empty 33-acre site between Comely Bank and Queensferry Road and developed it as high density but high quality four storey tenements. He later served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh. Construction continued after his death in 1904. It ceased altogether during the First World War and was not completed until the 1930s.

Notable buildings[edit]

Flora Stevenson School, Comely Bank Edinburgh by John Alexander Carfrae

The area has a number of buildings of architectural or historical interest:

Famous Residents[edit]

(taken from Grants Old and New Edinburgh[4])

Street Names[edit]

Nearly all of the street names in Comely Bank begin 'Comely Bank' or 'Learmonth'. The City of Edinburgh Council's current street naming policy no longer permits this type of naming strategy. Some of the street names have changed over the years, for example Learmonth Grove was known as Comely Bank Loan until the early 20th century.

Comely Bank Cemetery[edit]

Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh
War graves, Comely Bank Cemetery

The cemetery was begun in 1896 and laid out by George Washington Browne.

The cemetery has lost its original southern entrance and its ornate gate piers now lead only into a modern housing estate. It is now only accessible from its north-east corner, on Crewe Road. There has been much vandalism in the cemetery.

It is notable largely due to an abnormally high number of war graves, due to its juxtaposition to two of the city's hospitals in WW2. This includes Britain's youngest in-service death: Reginald Earnshaw only 14 years old.

There are relatively few graves of note:-


  1. ^ "Dataset | City of Edinburgh Council Mapping Portal". Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council". Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  3. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  4. ^ "Ch 8: Valley of the Water of Leith (concluded) - Old and New Edinburgh by James Grant - Volume V". Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  5. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1850

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°57′30″N 3°13′9″W / 55.95833°N 3.21917°W / 55.95833; -3.21917