With an asking price of £1.45m, the stunning Georgian townhouse for sale in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge is outside the price range of all but the best-heeled.
But if walls could talk, then the stories of what once took place inside the lavishly-furnished A-listed rooms of 17 Danube Street would certainly add at least another million to the total.
Because although the sales particulars make it appear like just another fabulous townhouse mansion for sale, it was not so long ago home to one of the most notorious brothels in the whole of Scotland.
Run by infamous madame Dora Noyce, she preferred to refer to the business as a ‘house of leisure and pleasure’ which she ran from the end of the Second World War until her death, aged 76, in 1977.
The address had around 15 girls in permanent residence who would be joined by up to 25 others during busier periods, including when the aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy docked at Leith.
With hundreds of sailors pouring into the capital, the brothel is said to have earned around £4,000 before the ship’s Captain stepped in to declare the business a no-go zone for his men.
A former prostitute herself, Noyce earned a good living and owned several homes in Edinburgh and Blackpool despite being charged 47 times for living on immoral earnings and a prison stint in 1972.
She would appear in court smartly dressed in furs and with a pearl necklace, pay her fine and then return to work.
However, her most memorable court appearance was when she quipped that her busiest time of year was during the Festival and the church gathering of the Kirk’s General Assembly.
Now, 17 Danube Street is up for sale and many of its original features remain in place including a lovely, spiral staircase, detailed cornicing and standout fireplaces across the three storeys.
Top end estate agents Savill’s says the sale represents a ‘unique opportunity to acquire a full townhouse on one of the most desirable and elegant streets in Edinburgh’s New Town. This property is one of the finest Georgian townhouses on the market.’
Brothels have never been a rarity in Edinburgh with the Royal Mile, Princes, Hanover, Rose and Leith Street, St James Square and even New Town all functioning as red light districts throughout the city’s history.
Commenting on the sale of the property, Councillor Hal Osler said: “I often think, when I pass no. 17 Danube Street, of the history of what went on there.
“There may be no signs round about, no plastic bins on the streets because it is a World Heritage Area but behind every door and curtain, there is a real story, some might call this the real rich heritage of a neighbourhood.”
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