Origin of name: From the British Creg-miol-ard meaning a high and bare rock.
Position: Situated in south east Edinburgh with Duddingston to the north, Niddrie to the east, Moredon/Inch to the south. See map above.
Historical: Recorded from 1124 and early spellings of the name include Cragmilor and Craigmelor. The rock referred to in the name was fortified in ancient times and in 1374 became the property of the Preston family who built a simple tower house. Over time this was enhanced and extended to become Craigmillar Castle and the Preston family came to dominate Craigmilar for the next 300 years. In 1660 the lands were purchased by the Gilmour family who lived in the castle until the late 1700s when it fell into ruin and in 1946 they presented it to the nation. For centuries farming was the main industry with Cairntows farm being part of the castle estate but by the late 19th century brewing and creamery production were booming industries. In the 1930s the city council began building public housing on the estate starting with the area south of Niddrie Mains Road to Craigmillar Castle Avenue. At that time there was still a creamery and at least 6 breweries sited north of Niddrie Mains Road. Housing was built right up until the 1960s when the 2 tower blocks “Craigmillar” and “Peffermill” were added.
In 1962 some local parents started the Craigmillar Festival society to provide not just fun and the arts but also to help the area politically and socially. It was a great success but in 2002 it came to an end. Now the Craigmillar Community Arts continues in its shadow.
In the late 20th century Craigmillar had a high crime rate with drug use, gang fights and knife crimes being all too common. It had a reputation as being one of the most deprived parts of Edinburgh along with it's neighbour Niddrie but in the 21st century many improvements have been made and many are planned.
Today: Like its neighbour Niddrie, Craigmillar is experiencing large scale regeneration and plans include a “town centre” along with Niddrie. There is a mix of public and private as well as rented accomodation with mostly flats but this may change in the future.
The area has a lot to offer including a great community spirit and also has history with Craigmillar Castle. There is also an industrial estate and a business centre located at Peffermill. The area's only listed building is the White House on Niddrie Mains Road, a former pub, which was built in art deco style in 1936 as a roadhouse. It has been empty for some time but has been refurbished and will shortly be put to community use.
Did You Know: The border between Craigmillar and Niddrie is at Niddrie Farm Grove. This is where the Niddrie estate began.
At the corner junction between Niddrie Mains Road and Duddingston Road West was, in 1817, a farm house for Cairntows farm which was then owned by the Davidson family. Across Duddingston Road West was a toll.
It is said that Little France got its name from the French servants of Mary Queen of Scots when she stayed at the castle but this not certain. There was a mill on the site called Frenchmill which possibly employed French workers so that is another option. Edinburgh Royal Infirmary opened at Little France in 2003.
http://www.communiversity.org.uk/ Community Website