Doctor and director to have roads named after them

A CELEBRATED film director and a doctor who rushed to aid stricken miners during a pit fire are set to join Hearts legend Willie Bauld in having streets named after them in the village where they were born.

Heartsl legend Willie Bauld pictured in March 1956. Picture: comp
Heartsl legend Willie Bauld pictured in March 1956. Picture: comp

The title-winning Tynecastle forward, Dr Andrew Balfour and Bill Douglas will be immortalised in Newcraighall.

The announcement follows a campaign by the Evening News for council rules to be changed so that local heroes such as Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly, who died in 2013, can have streets named after them.

Dr Balfour was one of two physicians who rushed to the site of the Klondyke Pit at Newcraighall after reports of a fire on the morning of May 24, 1884.

According to newspaper reports, despite smoke billowing from the mine, Dr Balfour descended down the shaft and helped rescue nine miners. Six men and a boy were killed in the pit blaze.

Mr Douglas studied at the London International Film School, and with the support of the British Film Institute produced a trilogy about his childhood and life growing up in Newcraighall that was met with acclaim at the world’s top film festivals. He also went on to direct a film about the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

The pair will join Bauld, who was part of the Terrible Trio including Alfie Conn and Jimmy Wardhaugh who spearheaded the attack in Hearts’ last top-flight title-winning side in 1960.

Local councillor David Walker said that streets honouring Bauld and Dr Balfour had been agreed, while a tribute to Mr Douglas was still being negotiated, with final sign-off due within two weeks.

The Labour member for Portobello/Craigmillar said: “There are still one or two names that we’re wrangling over at the minute, but Willie Bauld’s name has been agreed.

“Andrew Balfour was a doctor who served the community for many years, and particularly took care of many of the miners in the area.

“I’m very pleased that these names are all set to be on the list. People from the area who achieved greatness in their own particular field deserve to be remembered in this way.

The streets will be located in a 220-home development being built by Barratt Homes at Newcraighall.

A monument already stands in the former mining town dedicated to Dr Balfour.

Craigmillar community councillor Paul Nolan, who has lived in the Newcraighall area for 65 years, said that a tribute to “local heroes” rather than “the aristocracy of the past” was long overdue.

He said: “Although I’m a Hibs supporter, I’m glad that at long last Newcraighall’s son Willie Bauld is being remembered. I hope it’s not that long before we remember people like filmmaker Bill Douglas and Dr Andrew Balfour.”