The Ayden Guest House
70, Pilrig Street,
00(44)131 554 2187
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Welcome to the first of the Ayden Guest House blogs!
Today we'll introduce our guest house and in subsequent posts we'll tell you about our local area, places to go and see in Edinburgh, and any other interesting snippets which come our way.
Our house is a Victorian terrace house over three storeys, built in 1902 by a builder called Alexander Drysdale. He was a self-made man who was born on 16th March 1846 in Tulliallan – then in Fife to Robert Drysdale (a seaman) and his wife Mary Pegg.
Alexander served his apprenticeship as a "house joiner", married Helen MacLean in Falkirk in 1873 and moved to Edinburgh.
Between 1873 and 1881, he moved up in the world. By 1881 he was described as a "house carpenter employing 29 men and 4 boys".
He built all the houses in Pilrig Street from number 58 to number 80. If you look from the street you will see that the houses in the terrace have been built in twos and fours. Alexander and his partner George Gilmour would borrow enough money to build two or four houses and sell them to part-finance the next houses.
Alexander Drysdale built our house for himself and there he lived, along with his wife, seven children and a maid until his death in 1916.
While the Ayden has been upgraded to introduce modern comforts, it still retains many of its original features like fireplaces, cornicing, and ceiling roses. We endeavour to provide our guests a clean, comfortable and quiet environment in an otherwise busy city.
The Ayden is about twenty minutes' walk from the city centre and also on a main bus line if you don't feel like walking. It is close enough to all the main attractions but away from the hustle and bustle of the centre.
Leith and Edinburgh, until 1920, were separate burghs and the line between the two runs down the middle of our street.
This led to some interesting phenomena. There is a bar on Leith Walk at the top of Pilrig Street called City Limits. It used to be called the Boundary Bar and half of it was in Edinburgh, the other half in Leith. The bar on the Edinburgh side only served drinks until 9.30pm. After that, the customers just had to take a few steps over to the Leith side to enjoy additional drinking time.
There is much more to say, both about our house, our local area, and wider Edinburgh. We'll be talking much more about all of these in subsequent blogs.