Harnessing Stockbridge’s geology
In the 19th century, Stockbridge officially became part of Edinburgh. Due to the steep gorge in Stockbridge where the river is fast flowing, in the pre-Industrial Revolution the village was the ideal location to harness the power of water to drive the wheels at the mills that were dotted along the river, from where cloth, flour and paper were produced. At Stockbridge, the mill-lade (the channel that transported water to more distant places) provided power for the mills at Canonmills and Greenland, as well as to the Stockbridge mill itself.
At the forefront of artistic endeavour
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Stockbridge established itself as a favourite hangout for artists, poets, writers and musicians, whose presence helped to shape the village’s Bohemian culture that still survives today. Artisans also made Stockbridge the centre for their trade; today, the Stockbridge Colonies, the rows of terraced housing constructed for skilled workers in the second half of the 19th century, stand as a legacy to the growth of industry in Edinburgh. Artisan specialities still dominate the retail alleys and the weekly market, from cheese and coffee to soaps and jewellery, a lasting reminder of the rise in skilled craftsmanship that helped to establish Scotland’s capital as a thriving commercial centre.