Gorgie Through Time

Gorgie Through Time

The historic origins of Edinburgh’s Gorgie are being revealed as Headland’s team digs into the foundations of an industrial mill. The site is being excavated in advance of redevelopment for student accommodation by ‘UK Student Accommodation 1 Limited’ in response to a condition of planning consent by the Edinburgh City Council.

This excavation will enable us to better understand the timeline of Gorgie and how the area evolved from its medieval origins through the centuries. Gorgie has a long history, with the name appearing in the charters of Holyrood Abbey in the 12th century and the first mention of a mill in 1236. At this time the area would have been rural in character but over the coming centuries the lands were gradually developed and large-scale industry took hold comprising factories, mills, distilleries and the railway. Headland`s investigations provided the first detailed archaeological evidence for the existence of the J&G Cox mills and glue factory, which operated on the site from the late 18th through to mid-20th century.

Although depicted on historic maps, little was known about the form and function of these mills until the current excavations which have uncovered evidence for a complex of buildings and kilns. It is hoped the latest excavations could also provide new evidence for the original medieval mills that may have operated at the same site.

Our Project Manager Alistair Robertson believes

“Working on the mill site in close partnership with our client UK Student Accommodation 1 Limited and City of Edinburgh Council has allowed us to make a detailed record of the previously hidden remains. We have already uncovered well-preserved tanning pits that would have been used to convert animal carcases into glue when the site operated as a glue factory and we are now exposing elements of the earlier mill buildings such as kilns and cobbled yards. By examining the various structures and artefacts, we hope to understand the processes that took place and learn something of the people carrying them out that witnessed the transformation of Gorgie into an important area of industry for the city.”

The excavation continues.

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