Origin of Name: Possibly from the Anglican Blaec Halh meaning Black Hall or from Scots Blac Haugh meaning black land beside a river – although there is no river in the area nowadays.
Craigleith possibly comes from lands of an estate called Crag from the British name name creg meaning a rock. Or maybe it was a hill that could be seen from Leith.
Position:Davidson's Mains/Drylaw to the north, Clermiston to the west, Murrayfield to the south and Stockbridge/Inverleith to the east. See map above.
Historical Notes: The lands of Craigleith (Innerleith or Enderleith as it was known) are mentioned back in 1615 when the quarry was referred to but in those days there was little else on the lands. Blackhall was mentioned in documents back in 1680 and in court records in 1741 but it was 1766 before it appeared on a map. It was a very small village up until the early 20th century when it got its own parish church. By 1817 Craigleith had a park, a house and the quarry. Blackhall was a village surrounded by farms and country estates. There was Ravelston House and estate, Craigcrook House and estate and Barnton House and estate (which part of modern day Blackhall is built on) The Groathills as far as Craigleith quarry and Queen's Avenue area were lands that originally belonged to the Drylaw estate but were sold in 1786.
In the mid 1800s a lot of the villagers worked in the many quarries in the area. Some of the quarries dated back to the 1500s and provided stone for many of the great Edinburgh buildings of the time such as St Giles, Holyrood Palace and Parliament House. Craigleith was the largest quarry and supplied much of the stone used for building the New Town. By 1915 The quarry was used for manufacturing TNT but after WWII the site began to be filled in and is now The Quarry retail park.
As well as quarrying, a large percentage of the Blackhall population were involved in agriculture and dairy farming with Craigcrook farm covering much of the area. There were smaller farms including Maidencraig and some of the farm buidings can still be seen as part of a garage in Queensferry Road. There were also many smaller farms in the area.
As the 1800s turned into the 1900s, the village expanded and new facilities appeared such as a recreational hall, school, bowling club and tennis club which formed in 1915. In 1920 the village became part of Edinburgh and was known as a garden suburb. In the 1930s there was large scale building of houses in the Craigleith area as well as around the original Blackhall village.
Today: Blackhall & Craigeith are desirable areas with mainly detached housing and bungalows. The area takes in the Western General Hospital and the Royal Victoria hospital. There is the large retail park The Quarry as well as some shops on Hillhouse Road. Stewart Melville college which opened in 1855 is a private school and an amazing looking building. Ravelston woods provide a great nature walk and access is through Ravelston park.
Did You Know: Craigleith House, a Georgian mansion owned by Sir J Maitland, was rented by a Dr Robert Philip and turned into Hospital for Consumption in 1894. It is now know as the Royal Victoria Hospital.
In 1915 the area around Forthview Terrace and Queens Avenue was in existence and also Keith Row, Terrace and Crescent. Seaforth Drive was called Hillview Terrace. Jeffrey Avenue was being built along with Gardiner Road and Columba Road but all were incomplete.
It's possible to see an old quarry today, albeit a flooded one. It lies at the south end of Ravelston Park at the entrance to the nature reserve.
Links: http://www.craigleithblackhall.info/ Community Council Website http://www.craigleithhill.co.uk/ History of Craigleith Area