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.