Ebenezer MacRae was City Architect in the inter war era in Edinburgh.
Ebenezer MacRae was City Architect in the inter war era in Edinburgh.

In pictures: Ebenezer MacRae, the man who shaped modern Edinburgh

At the height of his powers as City Architect during the inter-war period, he helped shape modern Edinburgh, making his mark on the built landscape of Scotland’s capital for generations to come.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 4:58 pm
Updated Monday, 18th January 2021, 6:12 pm

Over the course of his professional career, the department of Ebenzer James MacRae (1881-1951) designed everything from municipal housing, churches and libraries, to street furniture, power stations and swimming pools.

In the 1920s and 1930s MacRae was responsible for the burgeoning housing developments at Niddrie, Craigmillar, Prestonfield, Pilton, Stenhouse, Saughton and numerous other areas. The similarities in housing design in these areas is plain to see. Inner city areas also benefitted, with dilapidated tenements in the Old Town and elsewhere replaced by new, improved dwellings. Over 12,000 homes would be built under MacRae.

On the 140th anniversary of MacRae’s birth, we take a look at more than a dozen of his Edinburgh designs, most of which are still standing, used or inhabited to this day.

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