City of Edinburgh

Swanston Village
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Swanston Village

A village and residential district of Edinburgh, lying 4 miles (6 km) south of the city centre. The village is now separated from Edinburgh by the A 720 bypass, forming a picturesque oasis in the shadow of Caerketton Hill, the most northerly of the Pentland Hills. However, the district lies just within the bypass and has grown greatly with modern luxury housing having been built during the 1980s and 90s.

Swanston is an unusual village; there are no shops, school, church or other facilities and the 18th Century white-washed cottages are the only group in lowland Scotland to be thatched with reed from the Firth of Tay. This came about when five blocks of cottages were restored for rent by the city authorities in 1964, although several have subsequently been purchased by their tenants under right-to-buy legislation. The cottages originally housed workers for Swanston Farm, but by the time electricity had been installed in the village (1949), several were in a poor state of repair.

The author Robert Louis Stevenson spent his summers in the 18th Century Swanston Cottage between 1867 and 1880 and the village provides the setting for his novel 'St. Ives'. A memorial bench commemorates the poet Edwin Muir (1887 - 1959) who found peace in the village.

Close to the village are Swanston and Lothianburn Golf Courses, a member of the latter club being the partially-blind championship golfer Tommy Armour (1895 - 1968).

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