Tumbledown Terrace – Ferniehill, Gilmerton

In early November 2000, a resident living in Ferniehill Terrace noticed a crack had appeared in her ceiling. By the next day, more hairline cracks had appeared. Council workers were notified and started to monitor the situation. By the following week, as property movement continued to be detected in the street, it was decided that residents needed to be moved out for their safety. Later in the month, there was a significant ground movement which affected more homes.

Subsided houses, walls and fences, Ferniehill Terrace, 2000 by Ann Sinclair via www.capitalcollections.org.uk

It was known that the houses had been built on the site of former limestone mines. The mines had been worked into the 1940s and records showed that there had been a cast limestone quarry near the houses to depths of between 15m and 20m.

During November and December 2000, 33 houses had to be demolished at Ferniehill and other nearby areas built on top of limestone mines were identified as being at similar risk of subsidence.

In 2022, Robert Carroll at Gilmerton Library undertook a local history project to record residents’ memories of the incident and how it affected local people. We’re grateful to Ann Sinclair who got in touch to share photos and her recollections of the time. In a new exhibition on Capital Collections, you can see her photos, official documents that were distributed to residents and hear her memories of the time in a specially recorded interview.

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