Monday, 13 January 2014

Clarence street

The location for the start of my book is Clarence street in Stockbridge which is a rather attractive part of Edinburgh. I chose this street as it would have existed when Cameron was a boy and because I used to live there, so I know what the flats look like from the inside. When I started to research whether it would have been plausible he lived there I found that before 1914 there is very little documentation about life in Edinburgh, so I had to keep things vague and just go with the few snippets I found.

I wanted Cameron's dad to work in the brewing industry as this was a major employer at the turn of the century in Edinburgh and my grandfather was also a beer brewer. Then I came across this fantastic photo and decided that Cameron's dad was a cooper and he would follow his dad as an apprentice when he left school, which in those days was at 14.
 A cooper was a skilled artisan and therefore well paid. The fact that these men are well dressed confirms that. This fits in nicely with the only thing I could find out about Clarence street in 1900; a sign writer lived there; also a skilled artisan.

Later in the book Cameron returns to Edinburgh and finds Clarence street much changed. The street is full of cars squeezed in between ugly black wheely bins.(in the photo you can just see the top of one) Unfortunately these eyesores became necessary as we had a problem with urban foxes and seagulls tearing open the bin bags. I quite liked encountering a fox now and then walking home at night. We even had a family of 5 foxes living in our back garden, and the cubs were very cute and playful but also very noisy. Hey Cameron, ever wondered what fox taste like?

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