Starbank Park

Starbank House was built in 1815 and belonged originally to Alexander Goalen.  The boundaries of the original grounds were similar to those of the present-day Starbank Park.  Goalen was the uncle of William Ewart Gladstone, the great Victorian Prime Minister.  Walter Goalen,  the founder and rector of Christ Church near the north end of Trinity Road, appears to have inherited the house from his father (Alexander Goalen) and lived there until his death in 1889.  Leith Town Council bought the property in 1889 and opened the grounds of Starbank House as Starbank Park in 1891.  Starbank House was originally the home of the park keeper. It became a museum in 1920 on the demise of Leith Town Council and the contents were transferred to Huntly House Museum in the Canongate in 1932.  The house became the parkie’s house for many years before being converted into two flats that are currently lived in by retired Council staff.

There is a much more detailed history at Starbank Park History June 2019.


The park commands magnificent views over the Firth of Forth to the north.

The star-shaped  flower border on the bank is known to many and is thought to represent a ship’s compass.   At the lower, north end of the park there are the remains of the Devlin Fountain which was erected in 1910 by Thomas Devlin, a Newhaven fish merchant of Irish Origins.   The fountain was vandalised before being dismantled over 20 years ago.  The base was recently converted to a garden feature.

The southern end of the park is a beautiful and tranquil formal garden with geometrical flower and herb beds and fine trees, including glorious cherry blossom trees.

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8 thoughts on “Starbank Park

  1. Rosemary Tolmie

    I’d like to compliment all who have worked on the star , it is looking beautiful at the moment .It cheers me up to see it as I pass by . It was so sad when the lovely old fountain was all broken and the flower beds neglected..
    Thank you .
    Rosemary Tolmie

  2. Adele Russell

    Can you please tell me how I would go about getting a bench and plaque put in starbank park in memory of my daughters father

  3. Rev. Rob Spicer

    Thankyou for your work. I was quite pleased to read the 125 Years On history. I am James Dobbie’s great-grandson and live in Canada. I visited Starbank Park in 2010 with my wife and cousin while on vacation but would love to come again sometime.

    1. alastairheather Post author

      Thank you for your kind comments. The work is a pleasure, it has been a real community effort and we are now friends at Starbank Park as well as the Friends of Starbank Park. As far as I know there are no photos of your great grandfather at the park. However, if he was still there in 1910 when the Devlin Fountain was opened he may be in some of these photos. I’ll e-mail them separately I hope you can visit the park again soon.

  4. Linda

    Came here for first time today 20 May 2018 with Benny who was born not far from here nearly 80 years ago. He had not been to the top part and did not know it was there.

    Meg his mum worked at the Ship Inn (not now there) in New Haven – near the Peacock Inn (now Sassy)

    What a little paradise! Thank you all!

  5. Pingback: A Guide To Starbank Park

  6. Sue Harper

    The park is fabulous. I met some of the volunteers today, Stan, Janet & Vicki but I noticed there are quite a few all working hard. Its one if the best parks i have been to, a hidden gem and it has such a lot of attention to detail, lots of history and a beautiful view of the firth of forth. I loved the little ‘Tardis’ library. The Beechgrove Garden team are visiting next week so i expect it will become more popular. Well done to everyone who looks after the park it was a pleasure to visit


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