This new book marks the 150th anniversary of Edinburgh’s Colonies, celebrating their charm and distinctiveness.
Few cities can boast housing with the distinctiveness and charm of ’the Colonies’ of Edinburgh. After a dispute in 1861 a group of building workers formed the Edinburgh Co-operative Building Company. They bought some land on the fringe of the city, contributed their own labour, and built the ‘colony’ houses at Stockbridge.
There were innovations – a limited liability company formed by workers; working class shareholders, including women; and mortgages for owner-occupiers. The rest is history – 150 years of continuous history. Eventually more than 2,300 houses were built on 13 sites. None has been demolished; few have lain empty.
This 150th anniversary is marked by the publication of Edinburgh’s Colonies: housing the workers’ by Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic & Social History, and University of Edinburgh. This new book reviews the historical background to a remarkable phase in housing history. Based on extensive new research it provides an insight into a wider social history of Edinburgh that resulted in the construction of so many ‘colonies’ scattered around the city.’
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