I used to think the Banana Flats were named thusly because the kindly policeman who used to visit our primary school to teach us road safety and tell us not to talk to strangers slipped from the roof chasing a wee ned (Leith for scallywag) but that’s not the case.
They are shaped like a banana.
The flats (formally known as Cables Wynd House) shot to prominence in January 2017 when Historic Environment Scotland awarded them Category A listed building status (which means they are of national or, get this, international importance).
For many, that was quite a shock because ‘New Brutalism’ is an architectural style loved by few and The Banana Flats and their near Neighbour, Linksview House were built in this style in the 1960s as open terraced, low cost community housing schemes.
The building is also famous as it was used as the location for Sick Boy’s childhood home in the movie Trainspotting from the book by Irvine Welsh.
So, controversial or otherwise, a trip to see the Banana Flats opens up a whole new dimension to Edinburgh because it takes you deep into the port of Leith where the residents can be ‘colourful’.
Many, myself included, consider Leith to be something of a haven in Edinburgh, not least because it’s our port, but also because it showcases a more rugged, earthy personality of the city that is missing in the more genteel touristy Old and New towns.