About this memory
I spent the first 10 years of my childhood at 51 Well Court (a basement flat). We had what was known as a 'room and kitchen'.The 'living room' had a bed recess which took a double size bed,a kitchen sink and a gas cooker.The room was heated by coal fire in a large cast iron fireplace and lit very poorly by gas lamps.The bedroom also had a coal fire but was only lit in the depths of winter.The room was constantly damp.The toilet was outside on the'landing' for our sole use.Again it was lit by gas lamp which had to be ignited every time the toilet was in use as there was no daylight. The gas mantles were lit with long wax tapers. The delicate mantels had to be replaced regularly. They were constructed from a fine white mesh, the size of a golf ball. As soon as they were lit, the Daddy Longlegs appeared making the scene even more eerie. The light 'hissed' and I hated having to use it,my mother having to accompany me shivering with cold in the winter.
The interior of the house was painted with 'Distemper'a powder that was mixed with water to form an emulsion of a type.It constantly flaked off with the rising damp.
A laundry ran the full length of the building.If the door was left open,we played there.It had also been used as a air raid shelter during the war. At times we were plagued with water rats,huge fat horrible things.The rat catcher came periodically to put poison down.
MacLean, Kevin - courtesy of Capital Collections
Well Court, Dean Village, Edinburgh, Dean Village