The Dumbiedykes is a residential area in the centre of Edinburgh adjacent to Holyrood Park. Situated close to both Edinburgh’s Old and New Town the estate is within walking distance of The Scotsman Newspaper offices, Dynamic Earth, The Scottish Parliament and The Palace of Holyrood House.
The name Dumbiedykes is said to derive from Thomas Braidwood’s Academy for the Deaf and Dumb established in the Canongate in 1760, and recognised as the first school for the deaf.
Until the 1960’s the surrounding area was home to a variety of Edinburgh’s thriving industries where many local people were employed. Breweries, such as William Younger’s in Holyrood, MacKay’s in St.Leonards and several of Edinburgh’s printing works; mainly Cowan’s at the foot of Arthur Street, Nelson’s at Parkside, now Scottish Widows, and McNiven and Cameron in Blair Street who’s famous advertising slogan “They come as a boon and a blessing to men, the Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverly pen” was a permanent fixture on the outside of the building. These are all names from the past now and the hospitality industry has taken over as one of the main employers in the area with the opening of many new hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars
The regeneration of the area began about 1960 when the old tenement buildings with their outside toilets, no bath facilities and some still with gaslight were demolished. The two multi-storey blocks were built first, with Lochview being finished in 1963, and the low rise followed later. There are approximately 700 flats on the estate; half are council owned, half private. Because of the close proximity to Edinburgh University’s colleges, particularly Moray House Teachers Training College on Holyrood Road, there is a significant student population in the community.
Braidwood Neighbourhood Centre is located at 69 Dumbiedykes Road. The building was originally the Dumbiedykes Children’s Nursery and was used as a nursery school as far back as 1901. When the facility closed in the 90s the building lay empty for a number of years until residents petitioned the council for it to be made available for the benefit of the community and to be run by members of the community. After renovation the Braidwood Neighbourhood Centre was opened in 2003.