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Fair A Far Dam

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9738 / 55°58'25"N

Longitude: -3.3089 / 3°18'32"W

OS Eastings: 318407

OS Northings: 676423

OS Grid: NT184764

Mapcode National: GBR 24.WLKW

Mapcode Global: WH6SK.43LQ

Plus Code: 9C7RXMFR+GC

Entry Name: Fair A Far Dam

Listing Name: Fair-A-Far Weir, and Mill Remains

Listing Date: 21 July 2000

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 394650

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB47281

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Almond

Traditional County: West Lothian

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Circa 1790 in current form, partly reconstructed, 1935. Damheid in segmental curve creating drop of circa 10' and consequent waterfall. Roughly squared coursed rubble construction with broad and shallowly stepped fish ladder to W side, some stones missing from coping.


17th century in origin, with 18th and 19th century additions, remains of mill's W forge, rectangular in plan, 48' by 43', masonry walls 3' thick of sandstone rubble and droved squared stone. Segmental-arched openings to N and S. Blocked openings to E. Corbels to interior (formerly supporting machinery, great forge hammer, great tilt hammer, bellows, shears and grindstone). Datestone 'BW.IL 1759' incorporated in 1935 from remains of E forge. Coped walkway immediately flanking mill, with concrete steps and cast-iron railings.

Statement of Interest

Fair-a-far was first noted to be in existence in 1676. It was originally a waulkmill and meal mill and still operated as such in 1759, when it was sold by the Smith and Wright Work Company of Leith to the Carron Company, and until after it was sold on again in 1770 to Sir William Cadell. It was one of four mills along the Almond at Cramond, the others being Dowie's, Peggie's and Cockle Mills. It is thought that its conversion for iron-making occurred in 1773 when the mill became the forge for the group of mills along the Almond at Cramond: the iron work used imported bar iron mostly from Russia and Sweden, and was not involved in smelting. It produced a great variety of objects such as plough socs, girdles and files. The weir appears to date from after 1787 (Ainslie map), and before 1839 (Carfrae map), and presumably during the mill group's heyday as iron mills from the 1770s to 1790s. The mill was previously served by a dam 100 yards upstream. At this time too a small tramway had been provided between Cockle Mill (downstream) and Fair-a-far. The mill was bought by a Mr Inglis in 1861, along with Cockle Mill, but had ceased operation by 1873 (Valuation Rolls). The large part of Fair-a-far mill was swept away by a flood in 1935: during the repairs the lead from the weir which had passed under the mill's E forge to rejoin the river downstream, was filled in. The Stewart engraving illustrates two wheels, that on the S gable thought to have been approximatley 13' in diameter with small cog wheel above, the other on the W side. The first edition OS map indicates the existence in 1853 of a wooden bridge by the weir and a sluice upstream.

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