It is located west of the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, and shares borders with Tollcross, East Fountainbridge, West Port, Polwarth, Dalry, Haymarket, North Merchiston, and South West Polwarth. Fountainbridge and Dundee Street are the primary thoroughfares in the region.
Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge neighbourhood has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years, evolving from a rundown industrial district into a hip commercial hub complete with a canal basin lined with barges available for rent and slow cruises along the water while enjoying dinner. The neighbourhood also features a multiplex theatre, bowling alley, casino, children’s soft play centre, restaurants, pubs, and more. Events can be found at the neighbouring Edinburgh International Conference Centre all through the year. Hotels, self-catering apartments, and serviced apartments are available within walking distance of Haymarket Rail Station and the heart of the city.
A bridge over the Foul Burn, a river that connects the Burgh Loch on the Meadows to the Water of Leith but primarily functions as a sewer, gave rise to the name Foulbridge around the mid-18th century, when a sweet-water well, or “fountain,” was established near Grove Street. Foulbridge has been mentioned in writing since at least 1512. The bridge’s name was changed to Fountainbridge in the 1760s. When the stream was culverted around the year 1820, the bridge was no longer there, but the name stuck to the surrounding area.
In John Laurie’s A Plan of the County of Mid-Lothian from 1763, the name “Fountainbridge” can be seen. The name comes from the “singularly sweet water” of the Foulbridge Well, as reported by the Edinburgh Evening Courant in 1774. A “common sewer” label for the Foul Burn doesn’t appear on maps until at least 1784.
Edinburgh’s first canal terminus was the Houpetoun basin. It was a hub of activity, facilitating the entry of coal, food, construction materials, and people into the city. The collieries belonged to the Earl of Hopetoun, hence the town’s name. Later, the Port Hamilton Tavern and a second basin honouring the Duke of Hamilton were constructed in the area.
In 1869, the area now known as West Fountainbridge was added to Fountainbridge, and in 1885, it was renamed Dundee Street.
Fountain Park, a recreation centre, was built in 1998 on the north side of Dundee Street, on the site of a former brewery. In addition to its many restaurants, this complex features a ten-pin bowling alley, a multiplex theatre, a laser tag arena, an arcade, and an adventure golf course. The Palais de danse, which served as a ballroom, skating rink, and Edinburgh’s largest cinema, was demolished to make way for this theatre.
As part of a larger renovation and regeneration scheme that began with Edinburgh Quay at the Lochrin Basin on the canal in 2004, the Fountainbridge Brewery announced its closure in 2004 and the entire 22-acre property was gradually decommissioned and dismantled between 2006 and 2011.
In 2016, a master plan for the property was announced following a comprehensive community participation exercise. Relocation of Boroughmuir High School and Edinburgh Printmakers were also part of the redevelopment proposals, as were additional dwellings (including affordable housing).