Hollywood Hit 'Mrs Doubtfire' originated in Stockbridge

Madame Doubtfire outside her shop in 1973, Picture Credit - The Scotsman

Madame Doubtfire outside her shop in 1973, Picture Credit - The Scotsman

Mrs Doubtfire, the Hollywood box office hit movie about a cross-dressing, half-Scottish nanny played by the late Robin Williams has its origins in Stockbridge.

The real Mrs Doubtfire was Annabella Coutts, a shop owner in Edinburgh. Mrs Coutts had ‘Madame Doubtfire’ daubed across the exterior of her premises at South East Circus Place. and it quickly became the name by which most locals referred to her.


Madame Doubtfire's shop, 1960's, Picture Credit - The Scotsman

Madame Doubtfire's shop, 1960's, Picture Credit - The Scotsman

Located at the foot of a flight of typical New Town basement steps, Madame Doubtfire’s was a dimly-lit second-hand store crammed with bric-a-brac, clothes, antiques and the distinct aroma of pipe smoke and cats. Her slogan “Madame Doubtfire, cast-off clothing of all description, invites inspection” used to amuse the local kids.

Madame Doubtfire was awfully fond of her felines and kept several.


I remember her sitting outside her shop in the early 1970s with her numerous cats. I think she had about half a dozen. Some were less than friendly and would snarl and hiss if you got too close! There were plenty well-off residents in the area able to supply her with a never-ending supply of the very best second hand goods. Only down side was you had to hold your nose the whole time, because it stank to high heavens of cat pee!
— Former local resident, Olivia McAdam

Madame Doubtfire with one of her many cats. Picture Credit - Douglas Corrance, The Scotsman

Madame Doubtfire with one of her many cats. Picture Credit - Douglas Corrance, The Scotsman


Madame Doubtfire Gallery 

Madame Doubtfire Gallery 

Madame Doubtfire became a local legend, and the epitome of the classic New Town eccentric - but she wasn’t actually from the district at all.

Nowhere near it, in fact.

Ends.