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  • Edinburgh


  • Emotions, attitudes and behaviour
  • Employment, industry and industrial relations
  • Environment, the
  • Leisure and recreation
  • Architecture and buildings


  • Documentary
  • Experimental
  • Women film makers


  • TAIT, Margaret


  • 1950s

Related films

1952 | col | sound
1955 | col | sound
1951 | bw | silent
1957 | bw | sound

Related biographies

Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.


Reference number: 6224

Date: 1956

Director: d. Margaret Tait

Production company: Ancona Films

Sound: sound

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 14.44 mins

Description: The minutiae of daily life on Edinburgh's Rose Street in the fifties is presented in this impressionistic documentary piece.

See also ref. 3702.

Allegedly, C. M. Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) and Alex Pirie are glimpsed in the film (?)

The original negative for ROSE STREET was misplaced in the early 1970s.

See also Additional Information file at 11/1/455. Paper Archives 4/5/119, 4/11/651, 4/5/92.

Film Festival Screenings: Experimental Film Festival, Knokke, Belgium, 1958, Edinburgh International Film Festival Retrospective, 1970.

The Tait papers are deposited in Orkney Archives. Currently being catalogued. For any enquiries please contact Principal Archivist.

She made specific reference to her working environment in Rose Street (1956), which showed life going on in the Edinburgh lane in which her office was located at number 91.
[Source: taken from an online resource. No longer available. 3/4/2008]

The British Artist's Film and Video Study Collection at based at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design holds an artist's file on Margaret Tait.

The British Film Institute National Library holds many of the published articles on her and her work. This title is also available in clip form on BFI Screenonline: [last accessed 3/4/2008]

In 1979 Margaret Tait was the subject of a BBC Scotland 'Spectrum' arts programme.

Credits: Rose Street Edinburgh
by Margaret Tait
assisted by Alex Pirie

Shotlist: [shotlisted from timecoded VHS copy]

[censors certificate] (0.11) shot of Edinburgh Castle high on the hill in background, slow pan left to right along street shop fronts and general bustle, ending with a shot looking down Rose Street lined with parked cars - a heavily laden goods truck turns in (0.41) c/u sign 'Rose Street' (0.50) shot overlooking lorry load of wooden boxes full of bottles of beer or wine [presumably delivery for one of the pubs] (1.07) lightly laden lorry stops outside antiques shop (1.19) binman empties refuse bins into his truck (1.26) extremely c/u shot as 'Blue Ribbon Furniture' lorry slowly drives past shop window (1.39) c/u shot traffic passing by, the first vehicle being a truck laden with sacks [possibly coal] - after man has directed this lorry he jumps on to the side of it and hangs on, various other vehicles pass, in background two ladies in fur coats peer in shop window (1.57) two men, one on a ladder, clean and polish shop window (2.03) empty wine or beer bottles are unloaded by hand from truck, intercut with brief shot cat lazily sitting on doorstep with empty milk bottles alongside (2.24) ints grocery shop, where whistling shopkeeper in white coat walks through from back room (2.31) c/u antiques shop window, man and woman converse outside, the man appears to be selling an item to the lady, but she refuses and moves on (2.47) man looks in shop window, across the road ladies look in another shop window (3.03) ints milliner shop, gvs ladies trying on various hats (3.52) gvs street, as people pass by, stopping, starting and looking in shop windows (4.28) man pulling along a makeshift 'barrow' with pieces of wood in it, walks to camera and then stops and stares at camera - could be a down and out? (4.44) a few men give bin lorry a push start, helping to start the engine (5.01) exts bookshop, where a man browses the second hand titles shelves lined up on window ledge (5.46) general shot looking down Rose Street (5.57) front of shop, man walks in, a small girl stands to left of picture holding toy (6.07) shot of street, lorry parked in foreground, exts shop and sign 'Kelly - Everything For The Kitchen (6.18) ints cobbler at work, manually shaping heel of shoe (6.47) shot of woman climbing staircase [very dark], ints woman handmaking jewellery (7.36) two small children outside shop (8.02) looking down on exts pub, the barman stands outside to watch the world go by, then returns inside, shot of two small children standing on street (8.42) a woman puts up security metal grating on flower shop window at close of business, another woman securely padlocks her shop door (9.02) small boy runs into cafe where he speaks to man behind counter, c/u chips being wrapped up in brown paper (9.25) exts pub, where man plays accordion on pavement (9.39) ints pub, where the bar is crammed full of men in overcoats drinking (9.58) exts accordion man again, with little girl dancing along to the music beside him (10.17) while Sunday morning church bells peal in background, the scene is of children playing games such as hopscotch and drawing with chalk in an empty Rose Street (11.04) young boys play football in the street (11.15) very brief shot crowd of young women smoking (11.18) shopkeeper stands on doorstep, a group of young lads stop by - they chat and laugh (11.35) gvs as children on bicycles career along the street, some run and jump, gvs street or yard where they all play games in a crowd (12.27) gvs boys playing football - they are joined by young men standing outside the pub, intercut with crowd of children playing street games (one of whom is wearing wellington boots) (13.43) group of children sit on doorstep and read book together, followed by slow pan upwards to reveal a painted sign on door reading 'Ancona Films Second Floor' [Margaret Tait's studio at that time] (14.03) ecs (14.25)