It’s May 1978 and we’re on Melville Street in the heart of Edinburgh, literally a hop, skip and a jump away from the Castle, Princes Street and all of those landmarks that make the ‘Athens of the North’ such a special place. As you can see, we’re in the Georgian part of the city, with an ordered grid system and pretty terraces that make this place such a timeless one.
At the end of this road is St Mary’s Cathedral, which looms imposingly over these homes. It’s a striking place to spend time and, aside from the street furniture, has looked this way since the 18th century. These might be troubled times politically, with the minority Labour Government suffering at the hands of a failing economy and industrial unrest, but the music peppering our airwaves and the TV we’re all watching is upbeat and keeping us all happy.
Your medium wave radio will be crackling to the sound of disco. The Radio 1 playlist is being dominated by dance music with Boney M’s catchy Rivers of Babylon/Brown Girl in The Ring riding high at number one, with the Bee Gees’ eponymously-named film soundtrack dancefloor filler Night Fever holding firm at number two. Other cheery songs livening up our lives right now are Tavares with More Than a Woman, Love is in The Air by John Paul Young and the brilliant Ca Plane Pour Moi, by Plastic Bertrand (below).
So, tell us about the cars
As this is Edinburgh, and one of its smartest areas, you’ll not be surprised to see an interesting collection of cars. This is one of those wide streets that allows parking down the centre, so we’re only seeing half of what’s on offer – but that’s good enough for us.
Nearest the camera on the left looks like a Fiat 132, alongside a Ford Transit, an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT or GTV, a Honda Civic Mk1, a Datsun Cherry, a Renault 12 estate, and other cars, which include a Morris Marina, a Chrysler Avenger, a Citroën GS and a Triumph Dolomite. Behind the inevitable example of the ubiquitous Bedford HA van, you’ll find a Ford Cortina Mk3, a Lada 1300, and yet another HA (where did they all go?)
If you enjoyed this, let us know in the comments and, if you have any pictures you’d like featuring, drop me a line via any of the links below. Meanwhile, to see what Melville Street looks like today, scroll down for a view from Google Streetview.
How it looks today
- Concepts and prototypes : Hyundai/Rover Oden (1992) - 9 November 2023
- Opinion : So, maybe the Montego was the best they could do… - 8 November 2023
- The cars : Austin Montego (LM11) development story - 7 November 2023