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History of Currie
The earliest record of a settlement in Bronze Age razor (1800 BC) found at Kinleith Mill and the stone cists (500 BC) at Duncan's Belt and Blinkbonny. There are a few mentions of this area in mediaeval and early modern documents. One of the first is when Robert of Kildeleith became Chancellor of Scotland in 1249. Kildeleith means Chapel by the Leith, and survives today as Kinleith.
Robert the Bruce gave Riccarton as a wedding present in 1315 and in 1392 the land passed to the family of Bishop Wardlaw. In 1612 the land went to Ludovic Craig, a Senator of the College of Justice. In 1818 it passed to the female line and became the property of the Gibson-Craigs.
There has been a Christian community in the area for more than 1,000 years. In 1018, the archdeacons of Lothian set up their headquarters in the area. John Bartholomew's Civic and Ecclesiastical maps of the 13th century do not show Currie, but the Index of Charters 1309-1413 records Currie as being 'favourite hunting grounds' for the Lords and Knights of Edinburgh Castle. A settlement began to take shape around Currie Kirk and the main Lanark Road, which was the main route south and continues to be known as 'The Lang Whang'.
The weaver poet James Thomson was brought up in the village in the late 18th century and is commemorated by the dell of the Kinleith Burn being named the "Poet's Glen", where it runs down from beside his cottage at Mid Kinleith Farm to join the Water of Leith, and also by a number of street names, (Thomson Road, Thomson Drive, Thomson Crescent), in the east of Currie.
The period 1921-1951 brought great changes with the building of more council houses in Currie and private building along Lanark Road. Wider scale development began in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the construction of a private housing estate to the east of Curriehill Road. House builders began to promote Currie as a pleasant commuting suburb of Edinburgh and much house building took place to the north of Lanark Road West. Currie High School was constructed on its present site in 1966 and extensively refurbished and renewed in 1997. There was a short loop railway running over what is now known as the Water of Leith Walkway. The physical topography has ensured that the original historic core to the south of Lanark Road West including the Water of Leith has remained undeveloped. In March 1972 the historic centre of Currie was declared a Conservation Area.
The earliest record of education in the area is contained in the Minutes of Edinburgh Town Council in 1598, when Baillie Lawrence Henderson was sent to "the toun o Currie to help the gentlemen of the Parish select a Schoolmaister"; however it is not stated where the school was situated. In 1694, the heritors appointed a Mr Thomson to teach scholars in the Church until Thomas Craig of Riccarton found a place for the building of a school and house for the schoolmaster. The foundations of the school were laid in 1699. The school and school house cost 500 merks and the salary of the Schoolmaster, a Mr Thomson, was 20 pounds Scots per year.
Currie is served by Currie Community High School (which has been a Green Flag Eco-School since 2004), Nether Currie Primary School and Currie Primary School, formed by an amalgamation in 2005 of Curriehill Primary School and Riccarton Primary School which shared neighbouring campuses.
From the 1970s onwards, Heriot-Watt University moved from its city centre location to occupy the lands of the former Riccarton Estate, gifted to the university by the then Midlothian District Council. The move has now been completed and the main campus of Heriot-Watt University occupies and manages a wooded area which is being used for current expansion.