Did you know that people have kept pigeons as a hobby for more than 5,000 years all around the world? There have even been some pretty famous ‘Pigeon Fanciers’ in recent years, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and boxing champion Mike Tyson!
At Create Business Properties, we know that the people of Craigmillar and Niddrie have for many years been keen pigeon fanciers, with many entering and winning international flying competitions. We have a long-standing historical connection with the community’s vibrant and active Pigeon Club.
So, how is a commercial business property landlord like Create linked to the art of pigeon keeping? The story starts in 1986 when the Pigeon Club was set up in Craigmillar. At that time, there were no local merchants to buy pigeon food from, so a local man, Stuart Fraser, would import the supplies from England and deliver it to the homes of pigeon owners.
At that time, the pigeons were kept in lofts on a plot of land in Craigmillar, but this was soon earmarked as the site for the new police station. So a new home was needed for the pigeon lofts in the local area. They approached Craigmillar Opportunity Trust (which is now Create) to see if there was any land available. The CEO at the time was Neil Scott, and he was happy to offer the Pigeon Club space in the grounds of the Create building as a home for the pigeons. The picture at the top of this blog post shows the pigeon lofts in situ beside Castlebrae Business Centre.
The pigeon lofts are still a much-loved part of our property here at Create, and their home here has created a legacy in the form of one of our longest-standing tenants! In February 1999, Stuart Fraser (who imported and delivered the pigeon food back in the eighties) opened Craigmillar Pet Supplies in a unit at Create. Stuart and his wife, Minnie, ran the shop until Stuart sadly passed away in 2015.
However, Craigmillar Pet Supplies is still part of the Create Business community. Minnie is still running the pet supply shop here. She has relocated to a larger unit, and despite thinking about retirement many times over recent years, she loves to supply the local community with dog food, small bird food, and other products. However, the business is still mainly based around selling pigeon food and products.
Minnie is proud that Craigmillar Pet Supplies has built up a great reputation in the pigeon community, and that pigeon keepers come from all over Edinburgh to buy their pigeon food and supplies. We suspect they also come for the warm welcome they receive, as Minnie loves to chat and socialise with her customers.
Minnie tells us that the biggest challenge for her business today is the rising cost of living, leading many people to give up their beloved pigeon-keeping hobby as they can no longer afford it.
Our longest-standing tenant here, Minnie loves being part of our business community and says Create is a great location for people in Craigmillar and across Edinburgh.
When asked what else she loves about Create, Minnie says: “The staff are very helpful and approachable and always sort out any problems. It’s a great community, I know most of the tenants, and I use Print Vision for all my printing and buy gifts from neighbours at Quirky Chocolate and Twenty Seven Gifts.”
And in the spirit of our supportive community here at Create, many pet-owning tenants buy dog food and other supplies from Minnie. We’re proud to have had Craigmillar Pet Supplies as a tenant here for so long and love the history linking us to Craigmillar’s pigeon-fancying community!