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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


218 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Fountainbridge. tional cemetery, a little to the south, beyond Ardmillan Terrace, near the new Magdalene Asylum, a lofty, spacious, and imposing edifice, recently erected in lieu of the old one, established in 1797. Adjoining it is the Girls? House of Refuge, or Western Reformatory, another noble and humane institution, the directors of which are the Lord Provost and magistrates of the city. These edifices stand near the ancient toll of Tynecastle, and may be considered the termination of the city as yet, in this direction. On removing an old cottage close by this toll, in April, 1843, the remains of a human skeleton were found buried close to the wall. The skull had been perforated by a bullet, and in the plas tered wall of the edifice a bullet was found flattened against the stone. On the western side of the Dalry Road, about 500 yards from the ancient mansion house, is the Caledonian Distillery, one of the most extensive in Scotland, and one of those which produce ? grain whisky,? as some make malt whisky only. It was built in 1855, covers five acres of ground, and occupies a situation most convenient for carrying on a great trade. In every part it has been constructed with all the most recent improvements by its proprietors, the Messrs. Menzies, Bernard, and Co. All the principal buildings are five storeys in height, and so designed that the labour of carrying the materials through the various stages of manufacture is reduced to the smallest amount, while branch lines from the Caledonian and North British Railways converge in the centre of the works, thus affording the ready means of bringing in raw material and sending out products. The extent of the traffic here may be judged from the facts that 2,ooo quarters of grain and ZOO tons of coal are used every week, while the quantity of spirits sent out in the same time is 40,000 gallons, the duty on which is ~zo,ooo, or at the rate of ~1,040,000 a year. The machinery is propelled by five steam-engines, varying from 5 to 150 horse-power, for the service of which, and supplying the steam used in distillation, there are nine large steam boilers. The Caledonian distillery contains the greatest still in Scotland. In order to meet a growing demand for the variety of whisky known as ? Irish,? the proprietors of the Caledonian distillery, about 1867 fitted up two large stills of an old pattern, with which they manufacture whisky precisely similar to that which is made in Dublin. In connection with this branch of their business, stores capable of containing as many as 5,000 puncheons were added to their works at Dalry, and in these various kinds of whisky have been permitted to lie for some time before being sent Fountainbridge, a long and straggling suburb, once among fields and gardens, at the close of the last century and the beginning of the present contained several old-fashioned villas with pleasuregrounds, and was bordered on its northern side by a wooded residence, the Grove, which still gives a name to the streets in the locality. Some of the houses at its southern end, near the present Brandfield Place, were old as the time of William 111. In the garden of one of them an antique iron helmet, now in the Antiquarian Museum, was dug up in 1781. In one of them lived and died, in 1767, Lady Margaret Leslie, third daughter of John Earl of Rothes, Lord High Admiral of Scotland on the accession of George I. in 1714. A narrow alley near its northern end still bears the name of the Thorneybank, i.e., a ridge covered with thorns, long unploughed and untouched. In its vicinity is Earl Grey Street, a name substituted for its old one of Wellington after the passing of the great Reform Bill, by order oi the Town Council. This quarter abuts on Lochrin, ?the place where the water from the meadows (i.e. the burgh loch) discharges itself,? says Kincaid, but ?rhinn? means a flat place in Celtic in some instances ; and near it is another place with the Celtic name of Drumdryan. George Joseph Bell, Professor of Scottish Law in the University of Edinburgh, was born in Fountainbridge on the 26th March, 1770. A distinguished legal writer, he was author of ?? Commentaries on the Law of Scotland,? ? Principles of the Law,? for the use of his students, and other works, and held the chair of law from 1822 to 1843, when he was succeeded by Mr. John Shankmore. Among the leading features in this locality are the extensive city slaughter-houses, which extend from the street eastward to Lochrin, having a plain yet handsome and massive entrance, in the Egyptian style, adorned with great bulls? heads carved in freestone in the coving of the entablature. These were designed by Mr. David Cousin, who brought to bear upon them the result of his observations made in the most famous abattoirs of Pans, such as du Roule, de Montmartre, and de Popincourt. In 1791 there died in Edinburgh John Strachan, x flesh-caddie, in his 105th year. ?? He recollected,?? jays the Scots Magazim, ?the time when no DUL
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2 1 9 Fountainbridge.] INDIA-RUBBER COMPANY. flesher would venture to kill any beast till all the different parts were bespoke, butcher meat being then a very unsaleable article.? At the southern extremity of Fountainbridge stood, till within the last few years, an antique villa, a little way back from the road, named Bainfield, for years the residence of an old and well-known citizen, Bain Whyt, a W.S. of I 789, who was senior lieutenant and afterwards adjutant of the First Edinburgh Volunteers formed in 1794, and who is still remembered in Edinburgh as the founder of the Wagering Club in 1775. Yearly, on the night of the 30th January, the members of this club meet and solemnly drink to the memory of ?? Old Bain Whyt,? in whose honour songs are occasionally sung, the character of which may be gathered from the following two verses of one sung at the ninetieth anniversary :- ?? Come all ye jolly wagerers, and listen unto me, And I will sing a little song, composed in memorie Of the fine old Scottish gentleman, who in 1775, Did plant the tree that still we see, right hearty and alive. Chorus-Right hearty and alive, In this its ninetieth year ! With mirth and hearty cheer ! ?Ihen drink to-night, to old Bain Whyt, 6? When haughty Gaul did fiercely crow and threaten swcird Bain Whyt among the foremost rose to guard our native A soldier good, full armed he stood, for home and The pattern of a Ioyal man, a British volunteer ! in hand, land ; country dear, Chorus-A British volunteer, And an adjutant was he ! To him with three times three ! ? Then fill the cup, and quaff it up, The wagers, for small sums, a bottle of wine, a dinner, perhaps, are made on the probable course of current public events. They are then noted and sealed up, to be opened and read from the chair that night twelvemonth-the club holding no meetings in the interim ; and the actual results are often so far wide of all human speculation as to excite both amusement and interest. North of Bainfield, in what is still called Gilmore Park, are two of the largest and finest manufactories of India-rubber in the world, and the operations conducted therein illustrate most ably the nature and capabilities of caoutchouc. They stand near each other on the western bank of the Union Canal, and belong respectively to the North British Rubber Company, and the Scottish Vulcanite Company. In 1855 an enterprising American brought to Edinburgh the necessary capital and machinery for an India-rubber manufactory, and acquired possession of a great quadrangular block of fine buildings, known as the Castle Silk Mills, which had long been vacant, the projectors having failed in their expectations. This edifice consists of two large blocks of five floors each, with a number of adjacent buildings. Here the India-rubber arrives in different forms, according to the fashion of the countries that produce it, some shaped like quaint bottles, and some in balls, of five inches diameter, and it is carefully examined with a view to the detection of foreign substances before it is subjected to the processes of manufacture. After being softened in hot water, the balls are crushed into thin pieces between cylinders, the rubber being sent through and through again and again, until it is thoroughly crushed and assumes the form of a web. If further reduction is necessary, it is sent through a third set of rollers, and to rid it completely of foreign matter, leaves or bark, &c., washing and cleansing machines are employed. So adhesive is its nature, that cleansing would prove abortive in a dry state, and consequently jets of water flow constantly on the rubber and cylinders when the machines referred to are in operation. After being thus cleansed, the webs are hung in the warm atmosphere of the drying-room for several weeks. From thence they are taken to ?? the mill,? which occupies two entire floors of the main building. The grinding machines; to the operation af which the rubber is subjected, consist of two cylinders, one of which is moderately heated by steam, and the webs formed by the washing-machines are kept revolving round and round the cylinders, until the material becomes quite plastic. At this stage, sulphur, or other chemical substances, are incorporated with it, to determinate its ultimate character, and it is then made up into seven or eight pound rolls, while all further treatment depends upon the purpose to which it is to be applied. Great is the variety of goods produced here. One of the upper floors is occupied by shoemakers alone. There boots and shoes of all sizes are made, but more especially the goloshes for wearing over them; another floor is occupied by the makers of coats, leggings, cushions, bags, and so forth. The ? light-coloured coats foi India are the finest articles made here. The North British Rubber Company have paid much attention to that department which includes the manufacture of mbes, springs, washers, drivingbelts, tires for wheels, &c They made the latter for the wheels of the road steamer invented by Rfr. R W. Thomson, of Edinburgh-huge rings of
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