Stockbridge began its existence as a wooden bridge over the Water of Leith. Eventually this busy crossing-point became a little village on the outskirts of the city, bustling with tradespeople. During the 19th century Stockbridge was then engulfed by the city, eventually becoming home to a complementary mix of young professionals and well-to-do families. Now, in the 21st century, it has reinvented itself once again. It is now a trendy, if somewhat remote, area of London - a mere 6 hour tube ride from the centre of the capital on the northern line.
This isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. For a start, this June Tim Henman, John McEnroe and co were at Raeburn Place for the Brodies Champions of Tennis tournament, marking the first year of a three-year agreement to host an ATP champions tour event in Edinburgh. And let's not forget the proposed redevelopment of the historic Edinburgh Academicals' ground into a 5000-spectator stadium. New club facilities, retail units and a heritage museum celebrating 150 years of rugby on the site are all part of the ambitious plans. Twickenham eat your heart out.
Living in London is pricy and Stockbridge is no different with its many distinctive streets and properties. While the area is characterised by cafes and pubs, delis and tea houses the bulk of Stockbridge belongs to residential property. From Ann Street to The Stockbridge Colonies its combination of compelling social history and unique architectural features make it a hot prospect for buyers and sellers. Inverleith Park, The Royal Botanic Gardens and the Scottish National Gallery of Art are all nearby which also adds value.
As property expert Robin Davie from Edinburgh Solicitors firm Blair Cadell explains, "Stockbridge is desirable area because its residents get the best of both worlds in terms of city-living. It's just a short walk into town and yet, living in Stockbridge doesn't feel like you're living in the centre of a bustling city. Take an area like the Colonies. It has excellent amenities, it's very quaint and while the properties are not all that large the demand for the lifestyle they offer is high. Recently we sold an upper floor flat there only a week or two after it went onto the market.'
Property market aside, London is justifiably proud of its street markets - Spitalfields, Billingsgate, Borough et al - many of which date back to the medieval period and are still busy centres of commerce. Stockbridge is also proud of its market, even if it only dates back to the year 2011 AD. The market is open every Sunday from 10am-5pm and on Thursdays during Summer months, averaging 45 traders. Visitors might enjoy a walk along the Water of Leith after their shopping trip, Stockbridge's equivalent of the upper reaches of the Thames.
As in London, Michelin-starred chefs are never far away in Stockbridge. The Scran & Scallie, recently opened by Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack offers sophisticated dining with menus showcasing fresh local produce - all served in a traditional pub setting with a pint of real ale. Fitting for an area home to a number of popular Edinburgh pubs such as The Baillie, The Antiquary and Hectors.
'I suppose there is a bit of a London vibe here,' says Robyn
Lowe, member of a local resident's association, 'many of the pubs
and restaurants have smartened their act up in the last few years.
There are a lot of nice places to eat now.'
With its cafe culture, trendy bars, brick-a-brack shops and its very own Sunday market, it might be that the heart of Edinburgh's gentrified New Town is as much Battersea or Bloomsbury as it is Barnton or Balerno. Why not ask Mcenroe what he thinks when you see him striding down Raeburn Place this summer?