Newington is an area of Edinburgh, Scotland, about 15 to 20 minutes walk south of the city centre, the Royal Mile and Princes Street. It is bounded to the east by Dalkeith Road, to the west by Causewayside, to the north by East and West Preston Street, and to the south by East and West Mayfield. It contains the smaller enclave of Blacket within its centre.
It lies on the area formerly covered by the Burgh Muir, which was gifted to the City by David I in the 12th century. The muir continued eastwards into what is now known as the Prestonfield district. The Grange lies to the west.
Even after the 1586 consolidation of land rights over the Burgh Muir, the area remained largely rural. The Newington Estate was purchased sometime before 1672 by John Lauder, a Baillie and Treasurer of Edinburgh, who thereafter took the landed designation "of Newington", until he became Sir John Lauder, 1st Baronet of Fountainhall. This family later also became possessed, by marriage, of the estate of The Grange, Edinburgh.
With overcrowding of the city centre being initially alleviated by expansion to the north, creating the New Town, via the North Bridge, many people felt that the New Town, elegant as it was, did not offer privacy and intimacy, and so, when the South Bridge was built in 1788, parts of Newington became available for development. From the 1820s a programme of building began, with Newington House (by James Gillespie Graham) as its centrepiece. The wider area was feued many for detached or semi-detached villas, with large gardens. These were aimed at the richer Edinburgh merchants and professionals. The northern district (closer to the city centre) was built more densely including tenements. In the 1860s Newington House was home to Duncan McLaren.
As with much of Edinburgh, the bulk of the 19th century development still exists and most is designated as official conservation area: Blacket Conservation Area, Waverley Park Conservation Area and Craigmillar Park Conservation Area. The northern part of Newington, around South Clerk Street, lies in the South Side Conservation Area.
This latter road is highly commercial, containing various retail businesses and pubs, as well as an NHS dentist on Mayfield Road. These commercial premises are mostly the ground floor of otherwise residential tenement buildings. The main north-south corridor, Minto Street and Craigmillar Park, is dominated by small guest houses, contained within some of the larger villas.
Pollock Halls of Residence lies just outwith Newington. But the northern section of Newington provides numerous flats for students, largely due to the area's proximity to both of the University of Edinburgh's main campuses: George Square and King's Buildings.
Buildings of Interest
Local buildings of interest include:
- Longmore Hospital on Salisbury Place by John More Dick Peddie - now the headquarters for Historic Environment Scotland
- Former Royal Blind School, off Craigmillar Park, by Charles Leadbetter - proposed for residential conversion
- Suffolk Halls - now converted to flats
- Newington Cemetery
- Edinburgh Synagogue, Salisbury Road (1932)
- St Columba's Catholic Church Edinburgh 7 Upper Gray Street. Renaissance style by architect Rhoderic Cameron (1860- 1928)
- Edinburgh A-Z
- Grant's Old and New Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1865
- Blacket Conservation Area Character Appraisal, from City of Edinburgh Council.
- Waverley Park Conservation Area Character Appraisal, from City of Edinburgh Council.
- Craigmillar Park Conservation Area Character Appraisal, from City of Edinburgh Council.
- Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford, McWilliam and Walker
- Bartholomew's Chronological map of Edinburgh (1919)
- for Newington, Edinburgh
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