'Stockbridge isn't posh' - businesses and residents respond to report naming Edinburgh neighbourhood Scotland's 'least deprived' area

It is the least-deprived area in Scotland according to new figures.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 6:00 am
Hannah Batchelor of Bowers Game Butchers.

You don’t often hear about a man coming into a local butcher’s shop in the centre of city and asking for the four pheasant and a brace of partridge he had dropped off earlier in the week.

But this is Stockbridge, officially the least-deprived area in Scotland according to the new Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation which was released on Monday.

Chris Fletcher, 68, has lived in this part of the Capital since 1977 and yes, he does sometimes hunt his own dinner.

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Gary Huckle of Armstrong's Fishmonger.

Asked whether he had shot the birds he was picking up from the famous George Bower’s butchers on Raeburn Place, “some of them I shot myself, yes” came the reply.

For Mr Fletcher, Stockbridge is “not posh”, but it certainly does not lack wealth.

He said: “What do you mean by posh? I think it is a well-to-do area and it is a friendly area. I associate posh with slightly unfriendly and a level of arrogance but it is great fun to live here which is why I have been here so long.”

After passing over the six birds, lovingly prepared and packaged for their owner, the butcher behind the counter Hannah Batchelor added that Stockbridge could not simply be described as ‘posh’.

Beth Davidson and Sam Entwhitle of Ian Mellis Cheesemongers.

“We have a huge variety of clientele,” the 28-year-old said.

“From the slightly rougher looking people to people who look down at you and everyone in between as well.

“There are some things that we don’t make because our clientele don’t want it so we don’t do much marinated meat as they like to cook, for example.

“But Stockbridge has that village feel, and just as a shop worker I know the fishmongers by name, I go to the Pastry Section every day and we supply places down the street and the whole area has that otherwise very rare camaraderie.”

Andrew Hadaway who volunteers at Shelter on Raeburn Place.

Despite its current popularity - the area has been named among the best places to live in the UK for several years - parts of Stockbridge have seen a remarkable change in the last 50 years.

Sam Entwistle, 24, works at IJ Mellis Cheesemongers, and said the area has seen a turnaround according to fellow shopworkers.

He said: “One of the guys used to live here in the 80s when you might have guys urinating in the park, but I don’t know how that changed, it never used to be this affluent.”

Fishmonger Gary Huckle has worked in the centre of Stockbridge for nearly 30 years at Armstrongs of Stockbridge.

The buzzing, old fashioned fishmongers is a hark back to the earlier parts of last century where, along with the butchers and greengrocers, local independent shops dominated the high streets of old.

The 49-year-old put Stockbridge’s desirability and success down to one simple factor; community.

“We have a village mentality right in the heart of Edinburgh,” he said. “You don’t want to lose that, ever.

“My experience is that Stockbridge is a good area, we have had some problems across the years but nothing big to worry about.

“There is still a large community support here with independent businesses and smaller shops.

“However I don’t think classing people is great and I don’t think people should be being judged, it is good for the people of Edinburgh and Stockbridge to be quite so fortunate.”

And while Stockbridge’s wealth is easily spotted with designer clothes in charity shops and upmarket cafes, the area is not exclusive.

Mr Huckle added: “We have customers who are affluent and from nearby but we also have customers who come from around and about such as from Muirhouse and Silverknowes. We get all aspects.”

“It is now a more middle class area but the older generation is very down to earth and very community focused.

“Generally customers are loyal and that is from those in Stockbridge and outside, it has always had that community feel for traders and customers.”

Andrew Hadaway, 20, volunteers at the Raeburn Place Shelter shop, added that he sees people from “every walk of life”.

He said: “I think some people do realise how lucky they are, while others are maybe a bit more oblivious.

“There is a real sense of community and everyone gets on very well which is reflected across the area.”