These images show Edinburgh in the late 1950s at a time when the nation was on the cusp of change, when traditional industries were struggling to survive and historic buildings were making way for modern designs.
The photographs were captured by Allan Hailstone in 1958, during several trips to Scotland. “Edinburgh was not the tourist destination it has since become, and its blackened buildings held a great atmosphere,” he said. “And I do not think that many people considered Glasgow in those days to be a tourist destination, but the city had hidden depths. Glasgow and Edinburgh are chalk and cheese.”
Like Glasgow, the late 1950s saw a huge slum clearance program in Edinburgh, causing the Old Town’s population to plummet. However, traditional industries such as insurance, banking, printing and brewing, continued to prosper. And it was also around this time that the city began to capitalize on its history – with tourists beginning to visit in huge numbers to admire Edinburgh’s grand buildings.
Meanwhile, just outside the city on the banks of the Firth of Forth, the Forth Road Bridge, a massive project to link North and South Queensferry, neared completion. The need for a new bridge, which would provide a crossing between Edinburgh and Fife, was needed due to a massive spike in private car ownership.