From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

Across the years

There have been many changes in Wester Hailes over the last 40 years.  We’ve put together a timeline of key events and decisions that shaped how the area was built, developed and altered across the decades.  Were you in Wester Hailes during these times?  We want the time line to reflect different people’s reflections and memories so if you think we’ve missed important information out, get in touch and let us know.



  • Public inquiry into Edinburgh Council’s plans to re-zone 297 acres of agricultural land at Wester Hailes for building of new houses
  •  The Wester Hailes Amenity Association formed by local residents to fight the proposal to re-zone the land


  • Miss Margaret Kidd QC, the public inquiry Reporter finds against Edinburgh Council’s proposals but is overruled by Willie Ross, the Secretary of State for Scotland, who gives his approval


  • Sir Frank Mears & Partners appointed as architects to design Wester Hailes


  • January – Work begins on the construction of Wester Hailes
  •  November – First houses completed (in Dumbryden)


  • Construction of Dumbryden area completed


  • First houses occupied in Murrayburn and Hailesland
  • The Wester Hailes Association of Tenants (WHAT) formed.

             Membership fee 3/-, joint membership for couples 5/-.

            Issue 1 newsletter WHATS NEWS (price 3d):

“A primary school, a shop and lots of houses that about sums up Wester Hailes. We need a secondary school quickly, we need a community centre, nursery or pre-school facilities for the very young children & their mothers, a club of some kind for our teenagers, more shops, a post office, letter boxes & you name it we have not got it!”


  • February – Talks begin between Edinburgh Council and British Rail regarding the provision of a railway “halt” at Wester Hailes


  • Holy Trinity Church constructed
  • September – Director of Housing reports that half of the proposed 4,800 homes in Wester Hailes have been completed


  • 1973-4: WHAT campaigns on a wide variety of issues


  • 1974-5: Local Government Reorganisation. May 7th: first district and regional council elections
  •  September – Social Work Department’s Special Projects Team produces report identifying Wester Hailes as an area of social deprivation where nearly 9 out of 10 children come from families living “at poverty level”
  •  October – Wester Hailes Shopping Centre opened (October)
  •  WHAT News reports:

After asking for it for the last 3 years a rent office is now being built between Hailesland Road and Hailesland Gardens. It should save some people a long walk up to Sighthill

  •  Wester Hailes Park and Drive Tenants Association, Dumbryden Action Group, Clovenstone Association of Tenants, and Westburn Action Group “all in existence”
  •  For Information and Social Help (FISH) set up


  • “Most” of the housing completed
  • Murrayburn Tenants Association and Hailesland Association of Tenants formally constituted
  • May – Go ahead for construction of the Wester Hailes Education Centre given by central government
  • Social and Community Development Programme (SCDP) [“affectionately known as Scooby-Do”] launched
  •  SCDP Wester Hailes Local Advisory Committee set up

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