Memories of Juniper Green
I remember the butcher shop at 572 Lanark Road...
Michael & Eileen Scott recall the shop at 572 Lanark Road over the last fifty years in an interview by David Geary on 13th August 2006.
The shop at 572 Lanark Road used to be called Cormack's. When Michael's father bought the place in 1949 he could have bought the plot next door and the old co-op stables for an extra £500 but he didn't quite have the money. The wall along the side there still has the metal rings for tying up the horses.
Michael was born down in Wester Hailes when it was just smallholdings. "There my family had cattle, sheep and pigs. We used to rear them, then kill and cut them up and sell them to people in Sighthill during the war originally delivering by horse and cart, then by a van 2 years later. The business used to be called JAM Scott Limited."
When Michael's dad bought the butcher's shop he and his wife lived in the house above which came with the shop as did the land at the back. Michael lived in the near-derelict house at 568 Lanark Road with his first wife.
Michael went to night classes for 4 years to a building which is now the Witchery restaurant, to learn cooking and book keeping.
Michael bought his brothers out and ran the shop himself from 1971.
When we opened the deli we decided to call it Scott of Juniper Green. The deli had been a small grocer separate from the butcher which didn't really make any money.
Eileen opened the deli and we knocked the doorway through. But we didn't have a drinks licence for the butcher shop so the council made us block it up again. However we got hold of Sir John Orr the Chief Constable and he soon sorted it out for us.
Also when they built a terminus for the buses round here, they painted a stop whilst I was away golfing one day outside the shop. The buses used to sit there with the engines running and the fumes would come right in the door. I got hold of a local MP Teddy Taylor who soon sorted that one out and got it moved. There was a photograph about it in the News I think."
Colin Hanlon is the current owner.
The thing Eileen really misses about the shop is the gossip. It used to take her 2 days just to cut the hedge at the front!
Further building ventures
"There were stables behind the shop, where there was a large piece of undeveloped land. We started to develop the houses behind the shop in 1984. The stables were first to be re-constructed. The current house we live in was then improved in 1986, and the one next door in 1987. Originally, we lived on the main road in number 568 Lanark Road.
The sheltered houses behind our house were built on compulsorily purchased land in 1974. Before they were there the old houses had long gardens at the back. The Edinburgh council gave us £4,000 for the land. Before that, a cookhouse was at the back of the shop to allow us to cook the cold meats, sausages, make dog meat, etc. We turned it into a house when we retired in 1987.
Sir John Orr, former Chief Constable of the Edinburgh police, both a long-time resident of Juniper Green and customer in the shop, told Michael that Scott's used to be a fishmonger at one time. He also said that the cottage next to the Chinese take-away was the last original thatched cottage in JG and was a dairy in the 1920/30's.
There was a real character who lived in the old dairy cottage and he was an artist for the Scotsman, Mr Vass I think. All he ever ate was chocolate and drank Guinness. We donated some old shirts but he darned round the collars because he thought they were too plain. He said to Muriel (Michael's sister) once that if he didn't turn up in the shop one day you will know I will have passed away. And it sadly turned out true.
Della Purves lives in the house across the road. She gave us this poem on a card when we retired in 1987:
A Customer's Lament
Michael we'll miss you,
Can't tell you just how,
From the warm welcoming smile,
To that so gracious bow,
You treat us all like king and like queen,
Never a scowl on your face e'er would be seen,
With old and the young you were always quite free,
To serve with lamb's liver or a half pound of Brie,
And with children you just had that magical charm,
They'd run to their mothers in a state of alarm,
The pensioners too would respond to your wit,
Mostly by collapsing and having a fit,
But now that you're gone and decided to sell,
To you and Eileen we wish you both well.
From: a late customer!
She is a character. The reason she makes a joke about being late in the poem was that Della, or "Twiggy", used to come in right on 1pm every day just as we were closing for an hours lunch.
We had a few famous people coming into the shop: Andy Stewart the Scottish singer who used to be on the White Heather Club on television, various footballers who lived locally and the uncle of Hannah Gordon.
Other parts of the village
If you look at old photographs it makes you realise that the village has hardly changed. The only thing really is that they have now put in lay-bys at the side of the main road.
There were two Scott grocers in the village. Where the hairdresser is now on the corner of Baberton Avenue and Lanark Road was also called Scott's. And there was another Scott who owned the Post Office in the 1960's.
Where the bank is now was a big house with a large bit of land where pigs were kept.
Have a look at the house further down Lanark Road as it has big unusual garage doors at the front as the family there used to run a livery van from there. The house is in-between the pedestrian crossing and the church.
Brian Chrystal's house is really interesting. It is one of the oldest houses in the village. It is the last house on your right as you go into Bloomiehall Park from the Village Hall end. It has a high hedge. He took 2 or 3 years out from work and restored it himself. That house and the house next door may have a connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Dr Ross's old house, Southernwood, was the doctor's surgery.
Lorimer House used to be the Kinleith Mill owner's house- a Mr Bruce. The mill owner also used to own the Glenburn Hotel in Currie which has been converted into flats.
Mavis cottage (564 Lanark road) was apparently the post office at one time. It was owned by two sisters who fell out so the house was divided and a staircase was put at the back. This was going way back before my time. When we first got together in 1974 the garden was converted into a rose garden in memory of the daughter who lived there who had not long died. The garden at the back is still a bit overgrown but we like it like that as it gives us privacy. We often get Woodpeckers coming into the back garden.
People came out from the city to play at Baberton golf club. There is a bell in the club bar which was rung to let you know a train was coming. The bell is still in the lounge.
There was the lady who ran up one Christmas Day and kicked up a fuss because her turkey was off. Michael was so apologetic and drove to her house to offer his own family turkey. Only for Michael to know straight away he didn't recognise her and it wasn't his turkey but one she had bought elsewhere but that shop was closed.
Another woman phoned on Christmas Eve to ask for her order to be kept at the house and she would collect it once she got home from the midnight service at the church. Once she arrived we just couldn't get rid of her. And in these days at that time of year you were working 20 hours a day.
Then there was Mrs M. who said "Just leave my chicken at the back door and it will be safe there until I get back." However we found out long after that their cat had got at it and a leg was missing, but she didn't want to bother Michael, as what was left of the chicken was enough for them to eat.