Origin of Name: There is uncertainty over the name. The word Haile or Hale is a Celtic word meaning moor or hillock but it could also come from the Anglian name halhs meaning bend in the river.
Position: Baberton/Juniper Green to the west, Colinton to the south, Longstone to the east and Sighthill to the north.See map above.
Historical notes: The ancient estate of Hailes was gifted to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Dunfermline around 1095 by Ethelred, second son of King Malcolm III. The estate took in the village of Colinton but also extended north of the Water of Leith to include the area where Wester Hailes now lies. There was little settlement on this part of the land but the Hailes quarry operated between 1750 and 1902.
Up until the 1960s there was a farm called Wester Hailes situated where Clovenstone Gardens is today.
In 1967 work began on building the Wester Hailes council scheme. The first houses were completed in November 1967 – at Dumbryden - but it was 1969 before all the housing at Dumbryden was complete. By 1970 housing at Murrayburn and Hailesland was finished but the area was still only half built. There were problems even before the end of 1970 when the newly formed Wester Hailes Association of Tennants complained that there were few amenities. In late 1974 the Wester Hailes Shopping centre opened and by 1975 most of the housing was complete. The local newspaper The Sentinel started in 1977 the same year Wester Hailes allotments began in a site just south of Baberton. In 1978 the first gala day was launched and the Wester Hailes Education centre opened. Despite improved facilities the area was, like other large council estates, plagued by anti social behaviour. In the 1990s and 2000s large parts of the area were redeveloped and many of the high rise housing was removed. Private housing was also built in some areas.
Today: Mainly council housing with some high rise blocks remaining but also new built housing some of which is in private ownership. There is also a community housing association. There have been many improvements over the last few years including a refurbished centre complete with cinema, improved housing and social facilites. A railway station was opened in 1987.There is a swimming pool and sports facilities at the Wester Hailes Education Centre.
Did You Know: The Union Canal was filled in at Wester Hailes when the estate was built. In 2001 a new section was built enabling the canal to stretch unbroken from Edinburgh Tollcross to Falkirk.
The 1st internet cafe in the UK on an estate opened in Wester Hailes in 1997. It was run by the Young Tenants Support Project.
The main road into Wester Hailes Farm area before 1931 was called Thieves Road and was sited where the dual carriageway of Wester Hailes Road is today.
Links: http://hailesmatters.wordpress.com/ Social history of Wester Hailes