Lonely Planet Writer

Trainspotting's ‘Banana Flats’ given category A protected status in Edinburgh

A block of flats in Edinburgh that featured in Trainspotting has been given listed status. The award from Historic Envionment Scotland means that Cables Wynd House – better known as the ‘Banana Flats’ due to its curved shape – cannot be altered or demolished.

Edinburgh's 'Banana flats'.
Edinburgh’s ‘Banana flats’. Image by Historic Environment Scotland

The block in Leith features in Irvine Welsh’s 1993 novel as the childhood home of the charming, amoral Sick Boy. It also features in the film T2 Trainspotting.

Ten-storey Cables Wynd House was built in the 1960s in the brutalist style as part of an ambitious building programme that demolished slums and aimed to improve living conditions in post-war Scotland. In the 1980s it gained a reputation for drug use and was considered one of the centres of Edinburgh’s heroin epidemic.

Actors Ewan McGregor and Ewan Bremner run on the set of the Trainspotting film sequel on Princess Street on July 13, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The long awaited Trainspotting 2 is being filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 20 years after the original was released and it will also see the cast from the first film returning including Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle.
Actors Ewan McGregor and Ewan Bremner run on the set of the Trainspotting film sequel on Princess Street on July 13, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The long awaited Trainspotting 2 is being filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 20 years after the original was released and it will also see the cast from the first film returning including Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle. Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Its category A listing, along with nearby Linksview House, means it joins buildings including Edinburgh Castle, the Forth Road Bridge and the Royal Commonwealth Pool . The two buildings are the 500th and 501st to be recognised given the listing in Scotland.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council told the Express. “These landmark buildings now join a growing list of post war category-A buildings that Edinburgh can boast.  At the time of their construction they were revolutionary, with innovations like heated floors, a concierge, lifts, and a design intended to maximise exposure to daylight for the residents.  The listing recognises their fascinating history and will help to keep the features which make them a unique and significant part of the city’s history.”

Edinburgh's 'Banana flats'.
Edinburgh’s ‘Banana flats’. Image by Historic Environment Scotland

Cables Wynd House sits between the peaceful Water of Leith and busy Leith Walk. The port town of Leith had a proud, independent history but became part of Edinburgh in 1920. The docks declined in the late 20th century, but the area has regenerated in recent years, with Royal Yacht Britannia moored at its docks and numerous new restaurants, bars and shops opening.

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