Edinburgh locations Print

"As North and South was set in the mid 19th Century, we were looking for a "Dickens" style of housing and streets. Most of Lancashire/Yorkshire, where the exterior Mill was located, had housing and streets built in the late 19th Century.

We found a street here and a street, there but they were spread out over too wide an area, and to dress them and film in them would have wrecked a tight schedule.

We needed a concentration of Victorian "Dickensian" type streets within a mile or two of each other where the production could base itself.

After much searching in the North West we decided to follow in the footsteps of the BBC Production "Daniel Deronda" which had been filmed in Edinburgh the year before. There we found the Higgins' house on a recce with Ros and Heather, the wonderful people at Edinburgh Film Focus. In fact, thanks to them we found in one day about 10 locations, including the Higgins house, which we could comfortably film in over 9 days, all within a one to two mile radius. The rest of the locations were found by us in the next three weeks."

Ian Vasey, Location Manager, North and South

 

Map of Locations

click to enlarge

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Pictures of Edinburgh in the left column courtesy of Smithylass and Acemarsupial. Images in the right column are screencaps from the BBC drama North and South.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Steps from Chambers Street to Guthrie Street: Steps near Milton Factories

The steps on Chambers Street in Edinburgh lead down to Guthrie Street where Margaret Hale first meets Nicholas Higgins in episode 1 after the factory whistle blows. He rescues her from the bustling mill workers and recovers her purse.

You can see that the drainpipe is still boxed after filming. Posters were on the walls and some remained for quite a while (see third picture on the left) but have now been removed.

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Warriston's Close: Steps in Milton

Warriston's Close comprises steps leading from the Royal Mile to Cockburn Street. This is where Mason calls to John Thornton as he's walking down the steps in episode 3. Mason tells Thornton that Margaret might be connected with Leonard's death.

Note: the first picture on the left was taken by Smithylass in 2011, whereas the second picture was taken by Acemarsupial a few years ago. The stone structure spanning the steps has now gone. It would have been there during filming, but the production filmed the actors near the top of the steps so that the structure would not appear in shot.

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Calton Hill, near the Stewart Monument: Views of Milton

This location was used on a number of occasions: during Margaret's walks, when Margaret first meets Bessy and Higgins, during John's walks, Boucher's climb up the hill and again the view of Milton is seen at Boucher's funeral.

This is a popular tourist spot for its view of Edinburgh Castle and the rooftops of Edinburgh's Old Town.

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St Stephen Place, Stockbridge district: The Hales' House

St Stephen Place is located off St Stephen Street in Stockbridge, an area located towards the north of the city of Edinburgh.

In North and South the archway was dark but in pictures 3 and 4 below you can see a reverse angle through the archway showing the street that was used for filming outside the Hales' house.

Mr Thornton stands under the archway when he sees Margaret talking to Higgins in episode 3. When Margaret spots him Thornton turns and walks away under the arch - there is a screencap of this below.

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William Street: Milton Shops

William Street is located to the west of Princes Street in Edinburgh. It is used in several scenes in North and South.

At the start of episode 3, this location is used briefly when Mr Bell spots Mr Thornton walking quickly down the street after Margaret's rejection of his proposal. In another scene in the same episode Mr Bell comes across Mr Thornton again and they meet Mr and Miss Latimer who are walking behind them. Mr Bell sees Margaret on the other side of the street and when he calls her over an awkward conversation ensues. Later in the episode Miss Dixon is faced with answering some difficult questions from Leonards, an acquaintance from Helstone, who is walking in the opposite direction.

Margaret posts a letter to Fred in a postbox in the same street in episode 2 and in episode 4, she calls to Higgins and Mary from her carriage as she prepares to leave Milton in the snow.

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St Stephen's Centre: Lyceum Hall

Formerly St Stephen's parish church, St Stephen's Centre is used as the Lyceum Hall in North and South. It is located at the north end of St Vincent street. To the left of the building is St Stephen Street which leads to the Hales' house in St Stephen Place (see above).

This is used for the so-called '300 mile look' in episode 1. Margaret walks up the steps and looks behind and up to see Thornton's disapproving face from a window. Richard was actually looking from a window in central London for that shot, hence the '300 mile' distance.

Mr Hale teaches some of his lessons in the Lyceum Hall and the worker's union also hold their meetings there.

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Borthwick's Close 'Rag Alley'

Borthwick's Close is just south of the Royal Mile and was used for a number of scenes.

Margaret Hale walked down it as she explored Milton, Boucher and the rioters ran there when escaping the soldiers, Boucher was seen there again when ignored by fellow workers and John Thornton gave a little girl a coin in the alleyway as he went to see Higgins to offer him a job.

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Forres Street: Aunt Shaw's house, Harley Street, London

Forres Street is one of the streets that radiate out from Moray Place in the "New Town" of Edinburgh. It is the exterior shot for Aunt Shaw's house in Harley Street, London.
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More candid pictures in the North and South Location gallery

Back to the North and South locations page.

 

 

Comments (9)
  • Milena

    Thanks to you we had a wonderful time in Edinburgh, visiting almost all the locations and taking great pictures!

    That's fantastic, glad I could help!
    Thanks for letting me know
    Ali

  • Mike Pafford  - Can't Wait!

    Hello, Everyone
    Can't wait to visit Edinburgh and all the 2004 "North and South" locations. By far my wife's and my all-time favorite Mini-Series.
    Going to be attending the INCOSE International Symposium (IS 2016) for a week there next summer.
    Believe it or not, I was wondering what I was going to do with my time off.
    After finding this site, that certainly has been taken care of. I (and my iPad camera) plan to 'engineer' the process of collecting as many North and South Location Pictures as possible. Even more than I had planned to attend the Engineering aspects of INCOSE IS 2016. I can't wait. 'Preaching to the Choir' here. But, I really do think that Everyone needs to experience the joy of experiencing this wonderful BBC mini-series.


    That's fantastic, Edinburgh is a fantastic city and it's really special to see those familiar sites from N&S. I hope you will let us know how your visit goes. Thanks for your message.
    Ali

  • Mike Pafford  - Now I've Been There and (almost completely) Done T

    Well, the Conference was Great!
    Did have that day today for a 'walkabout' to the Edinburgh "North and South" filming locations.
    Got great pictures at all the sites but one.
    No good excuses. Just plain Forgot "Borthwick's Close (Rag Alley)".
    Walked very near it Twice, but forgot to program it into my walking app.
    Oh, well. It was still great fun--and a very long walk.
    Found my new favorite Edinburgh street; Cowgate Street.
    Near everything, but not nearly as crowded. Nice cafes, pubs, book stores, etc.
    And, a BREWDOG Brewery Pub (I Highly Recommend this beer and company).
    Really enjoyed my short time in Edinburgh.
    Time for another "N&S" binge when I get home. :)


    Fantastic Mike! Thank you for letting us know, I'm glad you had a great time and were able to visit so many memorable locations.
    Ali

  • Marilda  - Love north and south

    Love Edinburgh even more now that I know north and south was filmed here. I absolutely love this movie, I have watched over 10 times. Richard Armitage is a great actor and Daniela also and so is the whole cast. I am visiting Edinburgh right now and I shall visit the film locations. Thanks

  • Pinky Ma

    Thanks for the settings. I used to live a street away from St-Stephen St and to walk everyday along this street to go to college or pub (very nice by the way, cosy and comfy) but it was so long ago... It's strange what cinema can do. I have seen N&S so many times and I did not recognise the place. I thought I knew the skyline of Edinburgh by heart from Calton Hill with its so typical monument and I also failed to recognise it. So thanks a lot for all these explanation. I might give a new glance next time I go to the Auld Reekie (Edinburgh).


    It's funny what is on your doorstep. I had a lovely time visiting most of these locations last year with a friend. Edinburgh is a wonderful city.
    Thanks for your comment.
    Ali

  • Helo  - Nice work!

    Thank you so much for all these researches! I work with North and South to teach my pupils the life of the working class during the XIXth century. It's very helpful to see the real locations. Of course, I'm a huge fan of RA too...!!! ;-)


    Thanks for your feedback, I'm glad these location pages can be useful.
    Ali

  • julie lynch  - well i did it!

    well i did it was.. i sent a fan letter for RA agent about couple weeks a go
    of course i bought international coupon. i hope i will get from RA's Autograph picture!!! finger cross!! i never done before kind a stuff
    my english is not good but i tried hard much as i could, and tell RA..
    you are wonderful actor on earth.!! and thank you guys all info about RA!!
    thank you again!

  • julie lynch  - OMG!!!

    :woohoo: OMG!!!! I loved your website!!! i was watching north and south 5 times!!I did fall in loved this movie and alsoI love RA! thank you for this info i will plan to go there someday!!

  • cocuchacandylala  - Lovely.¡¡¡¡¡

    Really lovely. Sorry my English; Edinburgo is a pretty city.

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