Saturday, 21 November 2015

Edinburgh's Wild Wild West

Moving away from the huste and bustle of the centre of Edinburgh, walking down the main road that runs through Morningside, and then turning into Springvalley Gardens will take you into . . . . . . . Springvalley Gardens. But take one more right turn, through an unspectacular archway that looks like it leads to nothing more than one or two small business, and you will find yourself here (see pics). Edinburgh's own little slice of the Wild West.

Wells Fargo, of course.
Props Tom L Shattuck and Charlie Fick
There have been a number of articles that have highlighted this quirky attraction over the years, and I kept reading about it and then almost immediately forgetting to check it out. Recently, however, articles about the area have also taken the time to warn people that the building frontages have fallen into disrepair over the years. Probably a mix of our usual weather and standard city life encroaching further into ever nook and cranny of Edinburgh (as I was taking photos I tried my best to hide the more modern signage telling me about the area being monitored by CCTV, amongst other things).

And that spurred me on, no pun intended. I had to see this place before it disappeared. Perhaps when it's gone there will be no way to know it was ever there. Nothing apart from memories and maybe some photos. Like these ones.

Barkeep? Barkeep!!!!
I'm the law round these here parts.
But even the law likes a drink on occasion.
 So get along to it, have a look while it's still there. Here is a map (WW = Wild West, obviously).

While digging around for the origins of this Edinburgh anomaly, I discovered that the main man behind it was a Michael Faulkner (as mentioned in this Edinburgh Spotlight article). That led me to a blog written by Faulkner, in which the following is written in a 1 May 2010 entry:

"When we were designing the facades for the township of 'El Paso', which took three of us (Sean, Rab and I) four months to build and which formed the exterior of my Santa Fe furniture business in Edinburgh, we used stills from Cat Ballou, along with several other classic westerns, for inspiration. This is the only digital image I can dig up:

*please visit blog entry linked to see original image*

When the photograph was taken the signage, which we were at pains to get right, was incomplete but most of the structure was in place. As well as the railroad, general store, jail house, cantina and livery stables which you can see, we built a saloon, sheriff's office and stagecoach depot which are out of shot to the left.

We were proud of the place but I don't like to go back now, as the closure of the business was a big part of an even bigger life reversal. As far as I know the structure is still in place, ten years on, in Springvalley Gardens, Morningside" 

And here are some more photos.

Not even big enough to be a one horse town
Not gonna lie. I got wood.
Not bragging, but I think I could escape that one.
Nobody would trade with me today.
And some more.

I asked for some new shoes for my horse. I'm still waiting.
I hope they get back in the saddle some day.
Y'all come back now.
I've done it now. Marked it off my small, and not very interesting, bucket list. And I encourage others to do the same. Embrace it while it's there. And, hey, share a pic or two to encourage friends to do the same.

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