Memories : Sainsbury’s, Edinburgh, 1993

Sainsbury's Edinburgh 1993

It’s September 1993 and we’re overlooking the Sainsbury’s car park at Craigleith Road, Edinburgh. It’s a week day, and there are plenty of spaces left in the capital’s major supermarket on the run in from Queenferry, and looking at the mix of cars, this is a popular place with all walks of life.

There’s plenty going on in the news, with the formation of the United Kingdom Independence Party in the midst of an ongoing argument in the Conservative Party led by John Major. UKIP’s formation was a backlash against the UK’s involvement in the Maastricht Treaty, and proved to be an ongoing and destructive issue that would run and run…

But that was Westminster, and up here in Edinburgh, it’s not a factor in daily life. The number one song is Mr Vain by Culture Beat, and other notable songs doing the rounds are Right Here by SWV, The River of Dreams by Billy Joel, Living on My Own, by Freddie Mercury and Dreamlover by Mariah Carey. Sky Multichannels starts broadcasting, widening the appeal of satellite TV. In EastEnders, Arthur Fowler’s in the dog house after committing adultery on Pauline with Mrs Hewitt. Who knew?

So, tell us about the cars

For the family man, 1993 was an exciting time, with the recently-launched Ford Mondeo facing the Citroën Xantia and the brilliant new Rover 600. Today, Rover’s gone, Citroën has given up on that market sector and the Mondeo barely hangs on. In the car park, we’ll pick out some of the more interesting cars – from left to right.

The Fiat Tipo (lacking a wheeltrim) sits alongside a Ford Granada Scorpio, which is just ahead of a Bedford Midi van. In the next row, a Rover 820Si heads up the inevitable Volvo 345, Citroën CX and Ford Fiesta among others. In the next row, a Triumph Acclaim L heads a Volkswagen Golf Mk1, Vauxhall Astra Estate, and far away in the distance, a Toyota Previa trundles by.

In the next row, a Jaguar XJ40 leads the way with an Austin Metro (again, missing a wheeltrim), a pair of Volkswagen Golf Mk2s, Mercedes-Benz W123, and – further back – a lovely Tornado Red Audi 90 (B3). Other cars on that side of the car park include a lovely Rover 213S (with an R8 almost out of shot alongside it), a Daihatsu Charade (a fabulous three-cylinder supermini that was ahead of its time), and a 1990-1993 Ford Escort Ghia, with the obligatory boot spoiler.

Aside from the Mk2 Golfs and Mercedes-Benz W123, I’d be surprised if any other cars in this picture are still on the roads – especially considering the harsh Edinburgh weather. I can hear the Rover 213 fizzing away from here!

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.

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Keith Adams


  1. That silver CX could be mine! I had a 22TRS – which was a fabulous car. My folks lived just around the corner – though in September ’93 I was living in Birmingham and was working at LDV in Washwood Heath so unless this is a Saturday, it’s unlikely mine. 5th gear fell off the mainshaft of the gearbox in Jan ’94 on the M6 (at 90….never a good combination) and I replaced it with a 205 Gti 1.9 – Happy days!

  2. No mention of the 2 transits – a mk1/2 white mini bus version and a blue mk3 panel van. The Midi van probably rusted away about five years after this picture as they had terrible rust. The white Transit probably is no longer but the Blue one might still be around – an old boy around the corner still has one in this colour and they seem to resist rust.

  3. Craigleith Retail Park was built on the site of a disused quarry, smack dab in the middle of a very affluent area. If memory serves it opened around the time of this photograph being taken, and the condition of the tarmac surfaces, kerbs, and what have you seem to bear this out. Might have expected a few more high-end motors, maybe the shot was taken during the day when the ladies were shopping and using the second car!

    • This was the era of out of town shopping centres with free car parks and aimed mostly at car owners and the start of the ;long decline of the High Street. I can remember working in East Kilbride in 1994, another fairly affluent town full of professionals and Glasgpw commuters, and using a huge suburban shopping centre with space for hundreds of cars that had been built next to a private housing estate. Contrast this Carluke, a poor ex mining town I had to work in for a few days, and the biggest shops were a mini mart and an off licence.
      Of interest, the car I was using then was the more than capable Citroen BX in non turbo diesel form that proved to be very comfortable on long journeys and capable of 55 mpg.

  4. I wonder when J SAINSBURYbecame Sainsbury’s (thankfully with the apostrophe always there; Harrods [sic] take note, along with Currys, et al).

    • It was in 1998 when they relaunched just as Sainsbury. The parent company name is still j Sainsbury, with its three divisions being Sainsbury Supermarkets Ltd, Sainsbury Bank and Argos.

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