Real Lives: Mixed feelings as Maureen set to bring down the house

Maureen Murdoch with husband William
Maureen Murdoch with husband William
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There will be mixed emotions for Sighthill grandmother Maureen Murdoch as she triggers the demolition of the home in which she lived for 43 years.

Three multi-storey tower blocks – Hermiston, Weir and Glenalmond – are to be flattened as part of the city council’s regeneration plans.

Seventy-three-year-old Maureen will join Councillor Norman Work and the winner of a school poster competition on September 25 as they push the button to bring down the three blocks.

Maureen, who moved to Sighthill in 1967 with husband William, 78, was selected for the job as one of the original residents of Glenalmond Court – the first of the blocks to be occupied.

“Before we moved to Sighthill, we lived in Riego Street. They were going to demolish all the houses so we had to be moved.

“The first thing I thought when we got to the flat was it had an absolutely magnificent view – we were halfway up the building, on the ninth floor, and we were on the town side of it. We had a view all the way from Costorphine to the Pentland Hills. I do miss it – every time there was a fireworks display it was great.

“I remember my mother asking, ‘can that pilot see me in the this window?’”

The area was still under construction when Maureen and William moved there.

“I remember thinking it was really nice. The rooms were big compared to what we had been used to. It was quite a change.

“We had the library, the community centre and the shops and there was a park where the boys could play football – it had a lot of things going for it.

“Everyone was very friendly, and you didn’t just speak to people in the block you lived in, it was all the blocks.

“The kids would all play together.”

Maureen and William lived in their two-bedroom home for 43 years, bringing up their three children, Fiona and twin boys Scott and Stuart.

Maureen stayed at home to look after the children until they went to secondary school, after which she worked at Stevenson College as a cleaner and caring for children for 23 years.

William, originally from Galloway, worked for the SMT garage in Fountainbridge, which was later renamed as Lex and relocated to Sighthill.

“I was quite upset when I heard about the plans to demolish Sighthill,” added Maureen. “We have never really felt the flats were an eyesore. I think a lot of people are quite sad about losing them.

“There was always a sense of community here – whether that’s changed as time went on and families moved away, I don’t know.

“I lived there for the greatest part of my life – it will feel like I’m blowing up a bit of my history! But also I think it will be very exciting.”