Origin of Name: It took 8 oxen to plough a plewgate (around 104 Scots acres). Oxgangs farm was 134 acres therefore it was 10 oxgangs in size. Has also been known as le Oxgangis, Oxingangis, Oxenganges, Oxegang and Auchingang.
Position: Fairmilehead to the east, Swanston to the south, Colinton Mains to the west and Craiglockhart to the north. See map above.
Historical Notes: The first mention of Oxgangs is in 1425 when it was mentioned with the Barony of Redhall and the estate passed from John whiting to Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine. Until 1719 Oxgangs was in possession of the Foulis family of Colinton then it was sold to Alexander Cleghorn, an Edinburgh merchant. The area was mostly farmland and Oxgangs farmhouse still stands today, converted to the police station in the early 1960s. Robert Louis Stevenson visited the farmhouse on many occasions as his family were friends of the farmer. In 1947 Edinburgh council began to build large scale council housing, mostly houses and flats but in the early 1960s they built maisonettes and 3 tower blocks. In the 1980s most of the council housing in Oxgangs was sold to the tenants under the right to buy scheme but the 3 tower blocks had not only structural problems but social ones as well. With a strong sense of community, the local people campaigned to have them demolished and in 2005 and 2006 they were and replaced by new low rise housing.
Today: Very little council housing remains today and there is a mix of detached and semi detached houses and low rise flats. There is a library and some local shops as well as a large supermarket nearby. The Good Companions has been the local pub for many years and there are some take away shops including a chip shop. There is also a community football team for kids aged 7 to 19 yrs – AC Oxgangs.
Did You Know: The 3 tower blocks were built on Firrhill Drive/Oxgangs Crescent in 1961. They were Allermuir Court, Caerketton Court and Capelaw Court and when they were built were considered luxurious. Structural problems including dampness meant that many families moved on during the 1970s and by the 1980s only the desperate wanted to live in them. Drug use and anti social behaviour and crime became a big problem. They were demolished by controlled explosions and were all gone by 2006. There is a free booklet called Village in the Sky available from the Pentland Community Centre on Oxgangs Brae.
When Robert Louis Stevenson visited Oxgangs farmhouse he marked his height on a wooden door and signed it. The door was salvaged during renovations in 1958 and is now on display in the dining room of Oxgangs Primary School.
The Dreghorn streets behind Redford Road were built between 1951 and 1966 are on the site of the old hamlet of Baads and as army housing were named after nearby Dreghorn barracks in neighbouring Colinton.