Mass Housing, Leith
From Richard Anderson on May 24th, 2021
Across Scotland between the 1920s and the 1980s, a substantial programme of mass housing for subsidised rent was delivered by town and city councils. In Edinburgh, the key decade was the 1960s, when the city council's housing policy was guided by a dynamic politician, Pat Rogan. New estates were built on the edge of the city. Inner-city redevelopment was also prioritised, with a mixture of housing types. Some schemes were contractor-led; others involved significant architectural input. In Leith, new slab blocks were designed in a Le Corbusier-inspired style by architects Alison and Hutchison. Cables Wynd House curves around its retained neighbours and is known colloquially as the 'Banana Flats' on account of its plan; it is famous from the film Trainspotting. Linksview House has a more formal Beaux-Arts approach. Together, these buildings demonstrate the social ambitions of post-war Scotland.
Text by Alistair Fair, University of Edinburgh
Video by Richard Anderson