Happy Birthday Sir Walter
One of the first things which any visitor to the Inch notices is its extraordinary street names. With only one exception, every street in the original Inch housing scheme is named after a character drawn from the rousing, historical novels of Sir Walter Scott (1771- 1832). As Inchers, we are all familiar with them: Dimont Drive, Redgauntlet Terrace, Ivanhoe Crescent, Balderston Gardens, to name but a few. And the one exception? Well, of course the main street which runs through the middle of the Inch which was named after the great man himself: Walter Scott Avenue.
The decision to name all the local streets after Scott-inspired characters was taken by Edinburgh Council in 1950, at the same time that the Inch was being built. Even the local pub which used to stand in the centre of the Inch was given a Scott-inspired name, “The Rob Roy” (remarkably, its first owner was a Mr. MacGregor). As local people will know, later Inch streets built in the 1970s were given Robert Burns-inspired names, but it is the Scott theme which is the dominant one.
Scott followed a successful legal career before turning to writing and eventually emerging as world-famous novelist and poet, whose works were translated into numerous foreign languages. But despite his fame, his passion for Scotland, its people and its history never left him.
Scott clearly has a special connection with the Inch and so it seems only right to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth. So here’s to you, Sir Walter!!