our books



contact us




Steve Savage Publishers Ltd
CoverThe Place Names of Edinburgh

Stuart Harris
sample extract
isbn 9781904246060 rrp 24.50 sewn paperback 608 pages

Top 10 Scottish bestseller

This massive, ground-breaking bestseller contains the names, old and new, of thousands of streets, roads, villages, hills and other places within the modern city of Edinburgh -- an area of one hundred and five square miles. In this important reference work, Stuart Harris has endeavoured to show when and how and why each name arose, and to trace how names have changed since then.

But this book is much more than a list of place names -- it also contains many vivid details of Edinburgh's people over the centuries -- people who named places, and people who had places named after them.

In this fascinating volume, Harris explains how place names are determined by our languages, personal names, interests and outlook, as well as our social and working life in town and countryside. 'The Place Names of Edinburgh' makes it clear just how important a part of our history place names are, and how they shape the character of our town and cities. It is an important reference tool for everyone interested in Edinburgh and district.


Stuart Harris was born in Edinburgh in 1920. Educated at George Heriot's School and Edinburgh College of Art, he qualified as an architect and served on the staff of Edinburgh Corporation and the City of Edinburgh District Council from 1950 until he retired, as Senior Depute City Architect, in 1984. Amongst other projects, he led the design of the Napier College (now Napier University, Merchiston) and the Meadowbank Sports Centre, and personally directed the restoration of the fifteenth-century Tower of Merchiston.

From 1975 onwards one of his departmental responsibilities lay in the naming of streets, and it was this experience, combined with a lifelong interest in the city and its environs, as well as a lively curiosity about place names in general, that led to the present book, the first comprehensive study of the origins and history of the names of features, streets and places in the City of Edinburgh. Stuart Harris died in 1997.

'This paperback edition is a welcome development ... the wealth of detail and comprehensive treatment of the street-names ... no serious student of the city's history can afford to be without it.'
-- I A Fraser, Scottish Place-Name News

'Readers of Stuart Harris's The Place Names of Edinburgh, a huge and hugely diverting compendium of many aspects of Edinburgh's story, will come away with much absorbing information which adds to their understanding and enjoyment of the city. ...
   'The range of sources consulted and the masterly fashion in which the author marshals his material are truly impressive, and it is difficult to envisage that his work will be superseded as one of the major reference works on the history of the city. For it yields much more than simply the names and dates of streets, and acts as a kind of topographically-based encyclopaedia. ...
   'The book covers the city district as defined in 1975, and the changes wrought within the area over the centuries are the focus of the long and informative introduction. It summarises the development not only of place names, but also of the accelerated changes in Edinburgh's topography during the past 250 years as housing and industry swallowed the city's rural hinterland. Not the least of Harris's achievements is to record the names which have been lost to urbanisation, lovely Scots terms reflecting the qualities or features of the terrain recorded by its long-gone inhabitants: Bonnyfield, Honeymug, Double Dykes, Mounthooly and countless others. ...
   'There is an agreeably leisurely quality to much of this toponymical exploration, but even the more laconic paragraphs contain much matter. ...
   'For one man to have gathered so much information is a great achievement ... Harris was well aware that in attempting an authoritative account there is always room for more work. His book will surely provide the necessary stimulus. As the reference point for future writers on Edinburgh's history it will probably, and deservedly, become known simply as "Harris".'

-- Dr Tristram N Clarke, Book of the Old Edinburgh Club