Skip to main content

Res.1.8 Two married couples, c.30 yrs, corporation tenants, male interviewer, 5 December 1960

Identifier: EUA IN1/ACU/S3/4/2/1/8

Scope and Contents

INTVEEs are two married couples living on the top floor in the same three storey block of flats. INTVER notes that the centre staircase smells of disinfectant with various scrawlings on the wall, describes it as "almost sordid". The interview was conducted in the one of the couples living room which the INTVER describes as being about 14' by 10' with a large window at one end and a sophone type fireplace which could burn smokeless fuel and heated water in the tank beside it. A gas attachment allows for easy lighting. One of the couples explicitly identifies as working class although INTVWER thinks the general appearance of the house is more middle class but also comments that the floor is lino with one small mat and in a middle class home a large carpet would be a necessity. The INTVER also comments that the three piece suite looks "respectable" and probably cost as much as it would to furnish a whole house from the sale rooms. Both families had been there for 3 years but had just found out that part of the ground at the back belonged to them. There was no fence but as soon as it was marked out they would plant grass for the children. They had hoped to have open views to the coast but flats had been put up in the way. There are now more and more children in a small space which causes a lot of fights. INTVER comments that there seems to have been little exchange of information between the corporation and tenants. Some families had dug up their gardens so as to discourage children from playing in them but then they come to the gardens that aren't dug up and sometimes mark washing which is hanging up to dry. There is a complaint about the pram cupboards provided on the ground floor being damp. INTVEEs think Muirhouse is the black sheep of the housing estates, although Niddrie is worse. Definitely not enough shops, in Clermiston the shops were finished before the housing. The only chemist is at West Pilton, there's no greengrocers or tobacconist. The vans are expensive and come round at their own convenience not at times convenient for shoppers, they come round at 10.30 at night and are very noisy. Very difficult to arrange exchanges to leave the district. West Pilton probably has a worse reputation than Muirhouse. The Boswells are thought to be a better area. Lot of drunkards west of the Embassy. Comments about the bad drains and having to walk through mud to get to the school. One couple said the WC was cracked when they moved in and the corporation took 3 years to fix it, INTVER thinks this is an implausible story. They had undertaken home improvements such as new shelves, architraves, ball catches on the doors, screwing down floorboards to reduce noise. The buildings are too close together, they feel hemmed in. INTVER comments on the use of "some very working class pronunciation - ye ken, water with a glottal stop, hoose and bairns". Rents not fair but they'd rather rent than buy. The corporation are not doing as many repairs as they used to, their firegrate was replaced after nine months but has broken again and they have to pay 17/11 for a new one. The outside of the houses were getting only two coats of paint instead of four and the windows have rusted. One of the INTVEEs has a mother in Gracemount but it is difficult to get there on the bus; the buses have a policy of not going into schemes because of the children and go round them instead. Prior to moving one couple had been paying £1 a week for a damp basement with mice. One INTVEE had heard that they were all Freemasons in the Corporation and you get anything with the right handshake. One INTVEE loved to walk but felt there was nothing to go out for here, just miles of houses. They like the beach but worry it will get overcrowded with more people moving in. Don't think it is particularly healthy for children here because of the damp and fumes from the gasworks. Male INTVEE thinks men are giving up their freedom but his wife disagrees and thinks women give up their freedom after marriage. they don't keep drink in the house, they have cocktail cabinets but keep knitting in them. Male INTVEE goes for a drink after work by himself; he doesn't like the Doo'cot which he says is for regular drinkers.


  • Other: 5 December 1960

Conditions Governing Access

Public access to these records is governed by UK data protection legislation. Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation means that records conveying personal information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time. Where records relate to named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date referenced in the record, on the next 1 January. Records relating to individuals below 18 years of age or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date recorded in the record, on the next 1 January.


8 Sheets


Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379