1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Edinburgh
EDINBURGH, a city and royal burgh, and county of itself, the capital of Scotland, and county town of Edinburghshire or Midlothian, situated to the south of the Firth of Forth, 396 m. by rail N. of London. The old Royal Observatory on Calton Hill stands in 55° 57′ 23″ N. and 12° 43′ 05″ W. Edinburgh occupies a group of hills of moderate height and the valleys between. In the centre is a bold rock, crowned by the castle, between which and the new town lies a ravine that once contained the Nor’ Loch, but is now covered with the gardens of Princes Street. To the east rises Calton Hill (355 ft.) with several conspicuous monuments, the city prison and the Calton cemetery. On the south-east, beyond the Canongate limits, stands the hill of Arthur’s Seat (822 ft.). Towards the north the site of the city slopes gently to the Firth of Forth and the port of Leith; while to the south, Liberton Hill, Blackford Hill, Braid Hills and Craiglockhart Hills roughly mark the city bounds, as Corstorphine Hill and the Water of Leith do the western limits. The views of the city and environs from the castle or any of the hills are very beautiful, and it is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque capitals in the world. Its situation, general plan and literary associations suggested a comparison that gave Edinburgh the name of “the modern Athens”; but it has a homelier nickname of “Auld Reekie,” from the cloud of smoke (reek) which often hangs over the low-lying quarters.
Chief Buildings.—Of the castle, the oldest building is St Margaret’s chapel, believed to be the chapel where Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, worshipped, and belonging at latest to the reign of her youngest son, David I. (1124-1153). Near it is the parliament and banqueting hall, restored (1889-1892) by the generosity of William Nelson (1817-1887) the publisher, which contains a fine collection of Scottish armour, weapons and regimental colours, while, emblazoned on the windows, are the heraldic bearings of royal and other figures distinguished in national history. Other buildings in the Palace Yard include the apartments occupied by the regent, Mary of Guise, and her daughter Mary, queen of Scots, and the room in which James VI. was born. Here also are deposited the Scottish regalia (“The Honours of Scotland”), with the sword of state presented to James IV. by Pope Julius II., and the jewels restored to Scotland on the death (1807) of Cardinal York, the last of the Stuarts. The arsenal, a modern building on the west side of the rock, is capable of storing 30,000 stand of arms. In the armoury is a collection of arms of various dates; and on the Argyll battery stands a huge piece of ancient artillery, called Mons Meg, of which repeated mention is made in Scottish history. Argyll Tower, in which Archibald, 9th earl of Argyll, spent his last days (1685), was also restored in 1892 by Mr William Nelson.
Holyrood Palace was originally an abbey of canons regular of the rule of St Augustine, founded by David I. in 1128, and the ruined nave of the abbey church still shows parts of the original structure. Connected with this is a part of the royal palace erected by James IV. and James V., including the apartments occupied by Queen Mary, the scene of the murder of Rizzio in 1566. The abbey suffered repeatedly in invasions. It was sacked and burnt by the English under the earl of Hertford in 1544, and again in 1547. In a map of 1544, preserved among the Cotton MSS. in the British Museum, the present north-west tower of the palace is shown standing apart, and only joined to the abbey by a low cloister. Beyond this is an irregular group of buildings, which were replaced at a later date by additions more in accordance with a royal residence. But the whole of this latter structure was destroyed by fire in 1650 while in occupation by the soldiers of Cromwell; and the more modern parts were begun during the Protectorate, and completed in the reign of Charles II. by Robert Milne, after the designs of Sir William Bruce of Kinross. They include the picture gallery, 150 ft. in length, with 106 mythical portraits of Scottish kings, and a triptych (c. 1484) containing portraits of James III. and his queen, which is believed to have formed the altar-piece of the collegiate church of the Holy Trinity, founded by the widowed queen of James II. in 1462, demolished in 1848, and afterwards rebuilt, stone for stone, in Jeffrey Street. The picture gallery is associated with the festive scenes that occurred during the short residence of Prince Charles in 1745; and in it the election of representative peers for Scotland takes place. Escaping from France at the revolution of 1789, the comte d’Artois, afterwards Charles X. of France, had apartments granted for the use of himself and the emigrant nobles of his suite, who continued to reside in the palace till August 1799. When driven from the French throne by the revolution of 1830, Charles once more found a home in the ancient palace of the Stuarts. George IV. was received there in 1822, and Queen Victoria and the prince consort occupied the palace for brief periods on several occasions, and in 1903 Edward VII., during residence at Dalkeith Palace, held his court within its walls. A fountain, after the original design of that in the quadrangle of Linlithgow Palace, was erected in front of the entrance by the prince consort. The royal vault in the Chapel Royal, which had fallen into a dilapidated condition, has been put in order; Clockmill House and grounds have been added to the area of the parade ground, and the abbey precincts generally and the approaches to the King’s Park have been improved. With the abolition of imprisonment for debt in 1881 the privileges of sanctuary came to an end.
Parliament House, begun in 1632 and completed in 1640, in which the later assemblies of the Scottish estates took place until the dissolution of the parliament by the Act of Union of 1707, has since been set apart as the meeting-place of the supreme courts of law. The great hall, with its fine open-timbered oak roof, is adorned with a splendid stained-glass window and several statues of notable men, including one (by Louis François Roubiliac) of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, lord president of the court of session (1685-1747), and now forms the ante-room for lawyers and their clients. The surrounding buildings, including the courtrooms, the Advocates’ and the Signet libraries, are all modern additions. The Advocates’ library is the finest in Scotland.
Founded in 1682, at the instance of Sir George Mackenzie, king’s advocate under Charles II., and then dean of the faculty, it is regarded as the national library, and is one of the five entitled by the Copyright Act to receive a copy of every work published in Great Britain.
The General Register House for Scotland, begun in 1774 from designs by Robert Adam, stands at the east end of Princes Street. It contains, in addition to the ancient national records, adequate accommodation, in fireproof chambers, for all Scottish title-deeds, entails, contracts and mortgages, and for general statistics, including those of births, deaths and marriages.
The Royal Institution, in the Doric style, surmounted by a colossal stone statue Of Queen Victoria by Sir John Steell, formerly furnished official accommodation for the Board of Trustees for Manufactures and the Board of Fishery, and also for the school of art, and the libraries and public meetings of the Royal Society (founded in 1783), and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (founded in 1780). In 1910 it was renamed and appropriated to the uses of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which was instituted in 1826, and incorporated by royal charter in 1838, on the model of the Royal Academy in London. It is situated on the Mound close to the National Gallery, of which the prince consort laid the foundation stone in 1850. These collections, especially rich in Raeburn’s works, include also Alexander Nasmyth’s portrait of Robert Burns, Gainsborough’s “The Hon. Mrs. Graham” (see Painting, Plate VI. fig. 20), Sir Noel Paton’s “Quarrel” and “Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania,” several works by William Etty, Robert Scott Lauder and Sam Bough, Sir Edwin Landseer’s “Rent Day in the Wilderness,” and the diploma pictures of the academicians, besides many specimens of the modern Scottish school. The National Portrait Gallery and Antiquarian Museum are housed in Queen Street, in a building designed by Sir Rowand Anderson and constructed at the expense of J. R. Findlay of Aberlour (1824-1898), the government providing the site.
Churches.—In conformity with the motto of the city, Nisi Dominus frustra, there are numerous handsome places of public worship. St Giles’s church, which was effectively restored (1879-1883) by the liberality of Dr William Chambers the publisher, has interesting historical and literary associations. The regent Moray, the marquess of Montrose, and Napier of Merchiston were buried within its walls and are commemorated by monuments, and among the memorial tablets is one to R. L. Stevenson by Augustus St Gaudens. The choir (restored in 1873 by public subscription) is a fine example of 15th-century architecture, and the Gothic crown surmounting the central tower forms one of the most characteristic features in every view of the city. Just outside the church in Parliament Square, the supposed grave of John Knox is indicated by a stone set in the pavement bearing his initials, and in the pavement to the west a heart indicates the site of the old Tolbooth, which figures prominently in Scott’s Heart of Midlothian. Other churches having historical associations are the two Greyfriars churches, which occupy the two halves of one building; Tron church, the scene of midnight hilarity at the new year; St Cuthbert’s church; St Andrew’s church in George Street, whence set out, on a memorable day in 1843, that long procession of ministers and elders to Tanfield Hall which ended in the founding of the Free Church; St George’s church in Charlotte Square, a good example of the work of Robert Adam. The United Free Church claims no buildings of much historic interest, but St George’s Free was the scene of the ministrations of Dr Robert S. Candlish (1806-1873), Dr Oswald Dykes (b. 1835), Dr Alexander Whyte (b. 1837), a man of great mark and influence in the city, and his successor Hugh Black (b. 1868). Preachers like Robert Candlish, Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873), Marcus Dods (b. 1834), occupied many pulpits, besides those of the particular congregations whom each served. The most imposing structure belonging to the Scottish Episcopal Church is St Mary’s cathedral, built on ground and chiefly from funds left by the Misses Walker of Coates, and opened for worship in 1879. It is in the Early Pointed style, by Sir Gilbert Scott, is 278 ft. long, and is surmounted by a spire 275 ft. high. The old-fashioned mansion of East Coates, dating from the 17th century, still stands in the close, and is occupied by functionaries of the cathedral. St John’s Episcopal church at the west end of Princes Street was the scene of the ministrations of Dean Ramsay, and St Paul’s Episcopal church of the Rev. Archibald Alison, father of the historian. The Catholic Apostolic church at the foot of Broughton Street is architecturally noticeable, and one of its features is a set of mural paintings executed by Mrs Traquair. The Central Hall at Tollcross testifies to Methodist energy. John Knox’s house at the east end of High Street is kept in excellent repair, and contains several articles of furniture that belonged to the reformer. The Canongate Tolbooth adjoins the parish church, in the burial-ground of which is the tombstone raised by Burns to the memory of Robert Fergusson, and where Dugald Stewart, Adam Smith and other men of note were buried. Almost opposite to it stands Moray House, from the balcony of which the 8th earl of Argyll watched Montrose led to execution (1650). The city gaol, a castellated structure on the black rock of Calton Hill, forms one of the most striking groups of buildings in the town. In the Music Hall in George Street, Carlyle, as lord rector of the university, delivered his stimulating address on books to the students, and Gladstone addressed the electors in his Midlothian campaigns. St Bernard’s Well, on the Water of Leith, was embellished and restored (1888) at the cost of Mr William Nelson. A sum of £100,000 was bequeathed by Mr Andrew Usher (1826-1898) for a hall to be called the Usher Hall and to supplement
the municipal buildings. The library of the solicitors to the supreme courts presents to the Cowgate a lofty elevation in red sandstone. The Sheriff Court Buildings stand on George IV. Bridge, and facing them is Mr Andrew Carnegie’s free library (1887-1889). At the corner of High Street and George IV. Bridge stand the County buildings. The Scotsman newspaper is housed in an ornate structure in North Bridge Street, the building of which necessitated the demolition of many old alleys and wynds, such as Fleshmarket Close and Milne Square. Ramsay Gardens, a students’ quarter fostered by Prof. Patrick Geddes (b. 1854), grew out of the “goose-pie” house where Allan Ramsay lived, and with its red-tiled roof and effective lines adds warmth to the view of the Old Town from Princes Street. Not the least interesting structure is the old City Cross (restored at the cost of W. E. Gladstone), which stands in High Street, adjoining St Giles’s. Several of the quaint groups of buildings of Auld Reekie have been carefully restored, such as the White Horse Close in the Canongate; the mass of alleys on the north side of the Lawnmarket, from Paterson’s Close to James’s Court have been connected, and here Lord Rosebery acquired and restored the 17th-century dwelling which figures in the legend of My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror. Another model restoration of a historic close is found in Riddle’s Close, which contains a students’ settlement. If these and other improvements have led to the disappearance of such old-world picturesque buildings as Allan Ramsay’s shop “at the sign of the Mercury, opposite Niddry Wynd,” Cardinal Beaton’s palace, the old Cunzie House, or mint, the beautiful timber-fronted “land” that stood at the head of the West Bow, and even such “howffs” as Clerihugh’s tavern, where Mr Counsellor Pleydell and the rest played the “high jinks” described in Guy Mannering, it must be conceded that the changes in the Old Town (many of a drastic nature) have been carried out with due regard to the character of their environment.
Monuments.—Edinburgh is particularly rich in monuments of every description and quality. Of these by far the most remarkable is the Scott monument in East Princes Street Gardens, designed by George Meikle Kemp (1795-1844); it is in the form of a spiral Gothic cross with a central canopy beneath which is a seated statue of Scott with his dog “Maida” at his side, by Sir John Steell, the niches being occupied by characters in Sir Walter’s writings. A column, 136 ft. high, surmounted by a colossal figure of Viscount Melville, Pitt’s first lord of the Admiralty, rises from the centre of St Andrew Square. At the west end of George Street, in the centre of Charlotte Square, stands the Albert Memorial, an equestrian statue of the prince consort, with groups at each of the four angles of the base. Burns’s monument, in the style of a Greek temple, occupies a prominent position on the Regent Road, on the southern brow of the lower terrace of Calton Hill. It was originally intended to form a shrine for Flaxman’s marble statue of the poet (now in the National Portrait Gallery), but it proved to be too confined to afford a satisfactory view of the sculptor’s work and was at length converted into a museum of Burnsiana (afterwards removed to the municipal buildings). On Calton Hill are a number of finely placed monuments. The stateliest is the national monument to commemorate the victory of Waterloo, originally intended to be a reproduction of the Parthenon. The plan was abandoned for lack of funds, after twelve out of the twenty-four Greek pillars had been erected, but it is perhaps more effective in its unfinished state than if it had been completed. The Nelson monument, an elongated turreted structure, stands on the highest cliff of the hill. Close by is the monument to Dugald Stewart, a copy of the choragic monument of Lysicrates. Sir John Steell’s equestrian statue of the duke of Wellington stands in front of the Register House, and in Princes Street Gardens are statues of Livingstone, Christopher North, Allan Ramsay, Adam Black and Sir J. Y. Simpson. In George Street are Chantrey’s figures of Pitt and George IV., and a statue of Dr Chalmers; the 5th duke of Buccleuch stands beside St Giles’s. Charles II. surveys the spot where Knox was buried; the reformer himself is in the quadrangle of New College: Sir David Brewster adorns the quadrangle of the university; Dr William Chambers is in Chambers Street, and Frederick, duke of York (1763-1827), and the 4th earl of Hopetoun are also commemorated.
Cemeteries.—Obviously the churchyards surrounding the older and more important parish churches—such as Greyfriars’, St Cuthbert’s and the Canongate, contain the greatest number of memorials of the illustrious dead. In Greyfriars’ churchyard the Solemn League and Covenant was signed, and among its many monuments are the Martyrs’ monument, recording the merits of the murdered covenanters, and the tomb of “Bluidy” Mackenzie. To the three named should be added the Calton burying-ground, with its Roman tomb of David Hume, and the obelisk raised in 1844 to the memory of Maurice Margarot, Thomas Muir (1765-1798), Thomas Fyshe Palmer (1747-1802), William Skirving and Joseph Gerrald (1765-1796), the political martyrs transported towards the end of the 18th century for advocating parliamentary reform. The Scottish dead in the American Civil War are commemorated in a monument bearing a life-sized figure of Abraham Lincoln and a freed slave. The cemeteries are all modern. In Warriston cemetery (opened in 1843) in the New Town, were buried Sir James Young Simpson, Alexander Smith the poet, Horatio McCulloch, R.S.A., the landscape painter, the Rev. James Millar, the last Presbyterian chaplain of the castle, and the Rev. James Peddie, the pastor of Bristo Street church. In Dean cemetery, partly laid out on the banks of the Water of Leith, and considered the most beautiful in the city (opened 1845), were interred Lords Cockburn, Jeffrey and Rutherford; “Christopher North,” Professor Aytoun, Edward Forbes the naturalist, John Goodsir the anatomist; Sir William Allan, Sam Bough, George Paul Chalmers, the painters; George Combe, the phrenologist; Playfair, the architect; Alexander Russel, editor of the Scotsman; Sir Archibald Alison, the historian; Captain John Grant, the last survivor of the old Peninsular Gordon Highlanders; Captain Charles Gray, of the Royal Marines, writer of Scottish songs; Lieutenant John Irving, of the Franklin expedition, whose remains were sent home many years after his death by Lieut. Frederick Schwatka, U.S. navy; and Sir Hector Macdonald, “Fighting Mac” of Omdurman. In the south side are the Grange, Newington or Echobank, and Morningside cemeteries. In the Grange repose the ashes of Chalmers, Guthrie and Lee, Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, Sir Hope Grant, Hugh Miller and the 2nd Lord Dunfermline.
Parks and Open Spaces.—Edinburgh is exceptionally well provided with parks and open spaces. The older are Princes Street Gardens, covering the old Nor’ Loch, Calton Hill, the Meadows and the Bruntsfield Links. The municipal golf links are on the Braid Hills. On the southern side Blackford Hill has been set apart for public use. Here stands the Royal Observatory, in which the great Dunecht telescope was erected in 1896. Harrison Park is a breathing spot for the congested district of Fountainbridge, and the park at Saughton Hall, opened in 1905, for the western district of the city. To the north of the Water of Leith lie Inverleith Park, the Arboretum and the Royal Botanical Garden. This institution has undergone four changes of site since its foundation in 1670 by Sir Andrew Balfour and Sir Robert Sibbald, and now occupies an area of 34 acres in Inverleith Row. It includes a herbarium and palm house, with an extensive range of hot-houses, a museum of economic botany, a lecture-room and other requisites for the study of botany. The most important open spaces, however, surround Arthur’s Seat (822 ft.). This basaltic hill, the name of which is believed to commemorate the British king Arthur, who from its height is said to have watched the defeat of the Picts by his followers, is shaped like a lion couchant, with head towards the north. It is separated from the narrow valley, in which lie the Canongate and Holyrood Palace, by Salisbury Crags, named after Edward III.’s general William Montacute, 1st earl of Salisbury (1301-1344). At their base is the Queen’s Drive (3½ m. long), named by Queen Victoria. Adjoining Holyrood Palace is the King’s Park, used as a parade ground.
Facing the crags on the south-west are the spots familiar to readers of The Heart of Midlothian, where stood Jeanie Deans’s cottage, and between the crags and Arthur’s Seat lies Hunter’s Bog, used as a shooting range. Near here too are three small lakes, Duddingston, Dunsappie and St Margaret’s, the last overlooked by the ruins of St Anthony’s chapel.
Environs.—In several directions many places once to be described among the environs have practically become suburbs of Edinburgh. Newhaven (population of parish, 7636), so called from the harbour constructed in the reign of James IV., had a shipbuilding yard of some repute in former times. The village has always been a fishing-place of importance, the “fishwives” in their picturesque garb being, till recently, conspicuous figures in the streets of the capital. It used to be a popular resort for fish dinners, and it plays a prominent part in Charles Reade’s novel of Christie Johnstone. To the west lies Granton (pop. 1728), where the 5th duke of Buccleuch constructed a magnificent harbour. Before the building of the Forth Bridge the customary approach to Fifeshire and the north-east of Scotland was by means of a steam ferry from Granton to Burntisland, which is still used to some extent. There is regular communication with Iceland, the continental ports and London. A marine station here was established by Sir John Murray, but has been discontinued. Still farther west lies the village of Cramond (pop. of parish, 3815), at the mouth of the river Almond, where Roman remains have often been found. It was the birthplace of several well-known persons, among others of John Law (1671-1729), originator of the Mississippi scheme, Lauriston Castle being situated in the parish. Cramond Brig was the scene of one of the “roving” adventures of James V., when the life of the “Gudeman of Ballengeich” was saved by Jock Howieson of the Braehead. Corstorphine (pop. 2725), once noted for its cream and also as a spa, is now to all intents and purposes a western suburb of the capital. The parish church contains the tombs of the Forresters, of old the leading family of the district, with full-length sculptured figures, and at the base of Corstorphine Hill—from one point of which (“Rest and be Thankful”) is to be had one of the best views of Edinburgh—are the seats of several well-known families. Among these are Craigcrook Castle (where Lord Jeffrey spent many happy years, and the gardens of which are said to have given Scott a hint for Tullyveolan in Waverley), and Ravelston House, the home of the Keiths. To the south of the metropolis are Colinton (pop. 5499), on the Water of Leith, with several mansions that once belonged to famous men, such as Dreghorn Castle and Bonally Tower; and Currie (pop. 2513), which was a Roman station and near which are Curriehill Castle (held by the rebels against Queen Mary), the ruins of Lennox Tower, and Riccarton, the seat of the Gibson-Craigs, one of the best-known Midlothian families. At Dalmahoy Castle, near Ratho (pop. 1946), the seat of the earl of Morton, are preserved the only extant copy of the bible of the Scottish parliament and the original warrant for committing Queen Mary to Lochleven Castle in Kinross-shire. Craigmillar, though situated in the parish of Liberton, is really a part of Edinburgh. Its picturesque castle, at least the oldest portion of it, probably dates from the 12th century. Its principal owners were first the Prestons and latterly the Gilmours. After playing a varied rôle in local and national story, now as banqueting-house and now as prison, it fell gradually into disrepair. It was advertised as to let in 1761, and early in the 19th century, along with the chapel adjoining, was in ruins, but has been restored by Colonel Gordon-Gilmour. It was a favourite residence of Mary Stuart, and its associations with the hapless queen give it a romantic interest. Duddingston (pop. 2023), once a quiet village, has become a centre of the distilling and brewing industries. The parish church, effectively situated on an eminence by the side of the lake, was the scene of the ministration of the Rev. John Thomson (1778-1840), the landscape painter, who numbered Sir Walter Scott among his elders. Duddingston House is a seat of the duke of Abercorn. Liberton (pop. of parish, 7233), a name that recalls the previous existence of a leper’s hospital, is prominently situated on the rising ground to the south of Edinburgh, the parish church being a conspicuous landmark. Adjoining is the village of Gilmerton (pop. 1482), which used to supply Edinburgh with yellow sand, when sanded floors were a feature in the humbler class of houses. Portobello (pop. 9180), being within 3 m. of the capital, must always enjoy a large share of public patronage, though it is not in such favour as a watering-place as it once was. Its beautiful stretch of sands is flanked by a promenade extending all the way to Joppa. The beach was at one time used for the purpose of reviews of the yeomanry. The town dates from the middle of the 18th century, when a cottage was built by a sailor and named Portobello in commemoration of Admiral Vernon’s victory in 1739. The place does a considerable trade in the making of bricks, bottles, earthenware, pottery, tiles and paper. Joppa, which adjoins it, has salt works, but is chiefly a residential neighbourhood. Inveresk (pop. 2939), finely situated on the Esk some 6 m. from Edinburgh, is a quaint village with several old-fashioned mansions and beautiful gardens. Alexander Carlyle, the famous divine (1772-1805), whose Memorials of his Times still affords fascinating reading, ministered for fifty-five years in the parish church, in the graveyard of which lies David Macbeth Moir (1798-1851), who under the pen-name of “Delta” wrote Mansie Wauch, a masterpiece of Scots humour and pathos. Lasswade (pop. of parish, 9708), partly in the Pentlands, famous for its oatmeal, was often the summer resort of Edinburgh worthies. Here Sir Walter Scott lived for six years and De Quincey for nineteen, and William Tennant (1784-1848), author of Anster Fair, was the parish dominie. Many interesting mansions were and are in the vicinity, amongst them Melville Castle, the seat of the Dundas Melvilles, and Auchendinny, where Henry Mackenzie, author of The Man of Feeling, resided. The two most celebrated resorts, however, amongst the environs of Edinburgh are Roslin (pop. 1805) and Hawthornden. Roslin Castle is romantically situated on the beautifully wooded precipitous banks of the Esk. It dates from the 12th century and is a plain, massive ruin, architecturally insignificant. Partially destroyed by fire in 1447 and afterwards rebuilt, it was sacked in 1650 and again in 1688, and then gradually fell into decay. The chapel, higher up the bank, a relic of great beauty, was founded in 1446 by William St Clair, 3rd earl of Orkney. It is believed to be the chancel of what was intended to be a large church. Although it suffered at the hands of revolutionary fanatics in 1688, the damage was confined mainly to the external ornament, and the chapel, owing to restoration in judicious taste, is now in perfect condition. The Gothic details are wonderful examples of the carver’s skill, the wreathed “Prentice’s pillar” being the subject of a well-known legend. The walk to Hawthornden, about 1½ m. distant, through the lovely glen by the river-side, leads to the mansion of the Drummonds, perched high on a lofty cliff falling sheer to the stream. The caverns in the sides of the precipice are said to have afforded Wallace and other heroes (or outlaws) refuge in time of trouble, but the old house is most memorable as the home of the poet William Drummond, who here welcomed Ben Jonson; the tree beneath which the two poets sat still stands. Near Swanston, on the slopes of the Pentlands, where R. L. Stevenson when a boy used to make holiday occasionally, is a golf-course which was laid out by the Lothianburn Club. The Pentland range contains many points of interest and beauty, but these are mostly accessible only to the pedestrian, although the hills are crossed by roads, of which the chief are those by Glencorse burn and the Cauld Stane Slap. Habbie’s Howe, the scene of Allan Ramsay’s pastoral The Gentle Shepherd, is some 2 m. from Carlops, and Rullion Green is noted as the field on which the Covenanters were defeated in 1666. At Penicuik (pop. 5097), where the Clerks were long the ruling family, S. R. Crockett was minister until he formally devoted himself to fiction. The town is, industrially, remarkable for its paper mills and mines of coal and other minerals.
Communications.—The two trunk railways serving Edinburgh are the North British and the Caledonian. The North British station is Waverley, to which the trains of the Great Northern, North Eastern and the Midland systems run from England. The
Caledonian station is Princes Street, where the through trains from the London & North-Western system of England arrive. Leith, Granton and Grangemouth serve as the chief passenger seaports for Edinburgh. Tramways connect the different parts of the city with Leith, Newhaven, Portobello and Joppa; and the Suburban railway, starting from Waverley station, returns by way of Restalrig, Portobello, Duddingston, Morningside and Haymarket. In summer, steamers ply between Leith and Aberdour and other pleasure resorts; and there is also a service to Alloa and Stirling. In the season brakes constantly run to Queensferry (for the Forth Bridge) and to Roslin, and coaches to Dalkeith, Loanhead and some Pentland villages.
Population.—In 1801 the number of inhabitants was 66,544; in 1851 it was 160,302; in 1881 it was 234,402; and in 1901 it was 316,479. In 1900 the birth-rate was 26.90 per thousand, 7.8% of the births being illegitimate; the death-rate was 19.40 per thousand, and the marriage-rate 10 per thousand.
The area of the city has been enlarged by successive extensions of its municipal boundaries, especially towards the west and south. An important accession of territory was gained in 1896, when portions of the parishes of Liberton and Duddingston and the police burgh of Portobello were incorporated. Under the Edinburgh Corporation Act 1900, a further addition of nearly 1800 acres was made. This embraced portions of South Leith parish (landward) and of Duddingston parish, including the village of Restalrig and the ground lying on both sides of the main road from Edinburgh to Portobello; and also part of Cramond parish, in which is contained the village and harbour of Granton. The total area of the city is 10,597½ acres. The increase in wealth may best be measured by the rise in assessed valuation. In 1880 the city rental was £1,727,740, in 1890 it was £2,106,395, and in 1900-1901 £2,807,122.
Government.—By the Redistribution Act of 1885 the city was divided for parliamentary purposes into East, West, Central and South Edinburgh, each returning one member; the parliamentary and municipal boundaries are almost identical. The town council, which has its headquarters in the Municipal Buildings in the Royal Exchange, consists of fifty members, a lord provost, seven bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, a convener of trades, seven judges of police, and thirty-two councillors. The corporation has acquired the gas-works, the cable tramways (leased to a company), the electric lighting of the streets, and the water-supply from the Pentlands (reinforced by additional sources in the Moorfoot Hills and Talla Water). Among other duties, the corporation has a share in the management of the university, and maintains the Calton Hill observatory.
May Meetings.—During the establishment of Episcopacy in Scotland, Edinburgh was the seat of a bishop, and the ancient collegiate church of St Giles rose to the dignity of a cathedral. But the annual meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland at Edinburgh is now the public manifestation of the predominance of Presbyterianism as the national church. In May each year the sovereign appoints a representative as lord high commissioner to the General Assembly of the Established Church, who takes up his abode usually in the palace of Holyrood, and thence proceeds to the High Church, and so to the assembly hall on the Castle Hill. The lord provost and magistrates offer to him the keys of the city, and levees, receptions and state dinners revive in some degree the ancient glories of Holyrood. The General Assembly of the United Free Church is usually held at the same time.
University.—The university of Edinburgh, the youngest of the Scottish universities, was founded in 1583 by a royal charter granted by James IV., and its rights, immunities and privileges have been remodelled, ratified and extended at various periods. In 1621 an act of the Scottish parliament accorded to the university all rights and privileges enjoyed by other universities in the kingdom, and these were renewed under fresh guarantees in the treaty of union between England and Scotland, and in the Act of Security. Important changes were made in the constitution by acts passed in 1858 and 1889. It was one of the first universities to admit women students to its classes and degrees, and its alumni are brought into close bonds of sympathy and activity by a students’ union. The number of students averages nearly three thousand a year. As a corporation it consists of a chancellor, vice-chancellor, lord rector (elected by the students every three years), principal, professors, registered graduates and matriculated students. The chancellor is elected for life by the general council, of which he is head; and the rights of the city as the original founder have been recognized by giving to the town council the election of four of the seven curators, with whom rest the appointment of the principal, the patronage of seventeen of the chairs, and a share in other appointments. Along with that of St Andrews, the university sends one member to parliament. While the college, as such, bears the name of the College of King James, or King’s college, and James VI. is spoken of as its founder, it really originated in the liberality of the citizens of Edinburgh. William Little of Craigmillar, and his brother Clement Little, advocate, along with James Lawson, the colleague and successor of John Knox, may justly be regarded as true founders. In 1580 Clement Little gave all his books, three hundred volumes, for the beginning of a library, and this was augmented by other valuable benefactions, one of the most interesting of which was the library of Drummond of Hawthornden. The library now contains upwards of 220,000 volumes, and more than 7000 MSS. The buildings of the university occupy the site of the ancient collegiate church of St. Mary in the Field (the “Kirk of Field”), the scene of the murder of Darnley. The present structure, the foundation-stone of which was laid in 1789, is a classical building, enclosing an extensive quadrangle. The older parts of it, including the east front, are from the design of Robert Adam, his plans being revised and modified by W. H. Playfair (1789-1857), but it was not till 1883 that the building was completed by the dome, crowned by the bronze figure of Youth bearing the torch of Knowledge, on the façade in South Bridge Street. This edifice affords accommodation for the lecture rooms in the faculties of arts, law and theology, and for the museums and library. The opening up of the wide thoroughfare of Chambers Street, on the site of College Wynd and Brown and Argyll Squares, cleared the precincts of unsightly obstructions and unsavoury neighbours. The Royal Scottish Museum, structurally united to the university, contains collections illustrative of industry, art, science and natural history; and Minto House college and Heriot-Watt college are practically adjuncts of the university. The library hall was restored and decorated, largely through the generosity of Sir William Priestley (1829-1900), formerly M.P. for the university; while munificent additions to the academic funds and resources were made by the 15th earl of Moray (1840-1901), Sir William Fraser (1816-1898), and others. The university benefits also, like the other Scottish universities, from Mr Andrew Carnegie’s endowment fund. The medical school stands in Teviot Row, adjoining George Square and the Meadows. To this spacious and well-equipped group of buildings the faculty of medicine was removed from the college. The medical school is in the Italian Renaissance style from the designs of Sir Rowand Anderson. The magnificent hall used for academic and public functions was the gift of William M’Ewan, some time M.P. for the Central division of Edinburgh. Closely associated with the medical school, and separated from it by the Middle Meadow Walk, is the Royal Infirmary, designed by David Bryce, R.S.A. (1803-1876), removed hither from Infirmary Street. Its wards, in which nearly ten thousand patients receive treatment annually, are lodged in a series of turreted pavilions, and cover a large space of ground on the margin of the Meadows, from which, to make room for it, George Watson’s College—the most important of the Merchant Company schools—was removed to a site farther west, while the Sick Children’s hospital was moved to the southern side of the Meadows.
Scientific Institutions.—The old Observatory is a quaint structure on Calton Hill, overlooking the district at the head of Leith Walk. The City Observatory stands close by, and on Blackford Hill is the newer building of the Royal Observatory.
The Astronomer-Royal for Scotland also holds the chair of practical astronomy.
The museum and lecture-rooms of the Royal College of Surgeons occupy a handsome classical building in Nicolson Street. The college is an ancient corporate body, with a charter of the year 1505, and exercises the powers of instructing in surgery and of giving degrees. Its graduates also give lectures on the various branches of medicine and science requisite for the degree of doctor of medicine, and those extra-academical courses are recognized, under certain restrictions, by the University Court, as qualifying for the degree. The museum contains a valuable collection of anatomical and surgical preparations.
The Royal College of Physicians is another learned body organized, with special privileges, by a charter of incorporation granted by Charles II. in 1681. In their hall in Queen Street are a valuable library and a museum of materia medica. But the college as such takes no part in the educational work of the university.
Educational Institutions.—After the Disruption in 1843, and the formation of the Free Church, New College was founded in connexion with it for training students in theology. Since the amalgamation of the United Presbyterian and the Free Churches, under the designation of the United Free Church of Scotland, New College is utilized by both bodies. New College buildings, designed in the Pointed style of the 16th century, and erected on the site of the palace of Mary of Guise, occupy a prominent position at the head of the Mound.
Edinburgh has always possessed exceptional educational facilities. The Royal high school, the burgh school par excellence, dates from the 16th century, but the beautiful Grecian buildings on the southern face of Calton Hill, opened in 1829, are its third habitation. It was not until 1825, when the Edinburgh Academy was opened, that it encountered serious rivalry. Fettes College, an imposing structure in a 16th-century semi-Gothic style, designed by David Bryce and called after its founder Sir William Fettes (1750-1836), is organized on the model of the great English public schools. Merchiston Academy, housed in the old castle of Napier, the inventor of logarithms, is another institution conducted on English public school lines. For many generations the charitable foundations for the teaching and training of youth were a conspicuous feature in the economy of the city. Foremost among them was the hospital founded by George Heriot—the “Jingling Geordie” of Scott’s Fortunes of Nigel—the goldsmith and banker of James VI. At his death in 1624 Heriot left his estate in trust to the magistrates and ministers of Edinburgh for the maintenance and teaching of poor fatherless sons of freemen. The quadrangular edifice in Lauriston, sometimes ascribed to Inigo Jones, is one of the noblest buildings in the city. Even earlier than Heriot’s hospital was the Merchant Maiden hospital, dating from 1605, which gave to the daughters of merchants similar advantages to those which Heriot’s secured for burgesses’ sons. In 1738 George Watson’s hospital for boys was founded; then followed the Trades’ Maiden hospital for burgesses’ daughters, John Watson’s, Daniel Stewart’s, the Orphans’, Gillespie’s, Donaldson’s hospitals, and other institutions founded by successful merchants of the city, in which poor children of various classes were lodged, boarded and educated. Nearly all these buildings are characterized by remarkable distinction and beauty of design. This is especially true of Donaldson’s hospital at the Haymarket, which has accommodation for three hundred children. As the New Town expanded, the Heriot Trust—whose revenues were greatly benefited thereby—erected day-schools in different districts, in which thousands of infants and older children received a free education, and, in cases of extreme poverty, a money grant towards maintenance. Public opinion as to the “hospital” system of board and education, however, underwent a revolutionary change after the Education Act of 1872 introduced school boards, and the Merchant Company—acting as governors for most of the institutions—determined to board out the children on the foundation with families in the town, and convert the buildings into adequately equipped primary and secondary day-schools. This root-and-branch policy proved enormously successful, and George Watson’s college, Stewart’s college, Queen Street ladies’ college, George Square ladies’ college, Gillespie’s school, and others, rapidly took a high place among the educational institutions of the city. Nor did the Heriot Trust neglect the claims of technical and higher education. The Heriot-Watt college is subsidized by the Trust, and Heriot’s hospital is occupied as a technical school. Concurrently with this activity in higher branches, the school board provided a large number of handsome buildings in healthy surroundings. The Church of Scotland and the United Free Church have training colleges.
Charities.—Besides the Royal Infirmary there are a considerable number of more or less specialized institutions, two of the most important being situated at Craiglockhart. On the Easter Hill stands the Royal Edinburgh asylum for the insane, which formerly occupied a site in Morningside, while the City infectious diseases hospital is situated at Colinton Mains. The Royal blind asylum at Powburn in its earlier days tenanted humbler quarters in Nicolson Street. Chalmers’s hospital in Lauriston was founded in 1836 by George Chalmers for the reception of the sick and injured. The home for incurables is situated in Salisbury Place. The infirmary convalescents are sent to the convalescent house in Corstorphine. Other institutions are the Royal hospital for sick children, the home for crippled children, the Royal maternity hospital, and the deaf and dumb asylum. Though Trinity hospital no longer exists as a hospital with resident pensioners, the trustees disburse annually pensions to certain poor burgesses and their wives and children; and the trust controlling the benevolent branch of the Gillespie hospital endowment is similarly administered.
Industries.—Although Edinburgh is a residential rather than a manufacturing or commercial centre, the industries which it has are important and flourishing. From 1507, when Walter Chapman, the Scottish Caxton, set up the first press, to the present day, printing has enjoyed a career of almost continuous vitality, and the great houses of R. & R. Clark, T. & A. Constable, the Ballantyne Press, Morrison & Gibb, Turnbull & Spears, and others, admirably maintain the traditional reputation of the Edinburgh press. Publishing, on the other hand, has drifted away, only a few leading houses—such as those of Blackwood, Chambers and Nelson—still making the Scottish capital their headquarters. Mapmakers, typefounders, bookbinders and lithographers all contribute their share to the prosperity of the city. Brewing is an industry of exceptional vigour, Edinburgh ale being proverbially good. The brewers and distillers, such as M’Ewan, Usher and Ure, have been amongst the most generous benefactors of the city. The arts and crafts associated with furniture work, paper-making and coach-building may also be specified, whilst tanneries, glassworks, india-rubber and vulcanite factories, brass-founding, machinery works, the making of biscuits, tea-bread and confectionery are all prominent. In consequence of the large influx of tourists every year the North British and Caledonian railway companies give employment to an enormous staff. Building and the allied trades are chronically brisk, owing to the constant development of the city. Fine white freestone abounds in the immediate vicinity (as at Craigleith, from the vast quarry of which, now passing into disuse, the stone for much of the New Town was obtained) and furnishes excellent building material; while the hard trap rock, with which the stratified sandstones of the Coal formation have been extensively broken up and overlaid, supplies good materials for paving and road-making. On this account quarrying is another industry which is seldom dormant. Owing to the great changes effected during the latter part of the 19th century, some of the
old markets were demolished and the system of centralizing trade was not wholly revived. The Waverley Market for vegetables and fruit presents a busy scene in the early morning, and is used for monster meetings and promenade and popular concerts. Slaughter-houses, cattle markets and grain markets have been erected at Gorgie, thus obviating the driving of flocks and herds through the streets, which was constantly objected to. An infantry regiment is always stationed in the castle, and there are in addition the barracks at Piers-hill (or “Jock’s Lodge”), half-way between Edinburgh and Portobello.
Social Life.—Edinburgh society still retains a certain old-fashioned Scottish exclusiveness. It has been said that the city is “east-windy” and the folk “west-endy.” But this criticism needs judicious qualification. The local patriotism and good taste of the citizens have regulated recreation and have also preserved in pristine vigour many peculiarly Scottish customs and pastimes. Classical concerts and concerts of the better sort, chiefly held in the M’Ewan and Music Halls, are well attended, and lectures are patronized to a degree unknown in most towns. In theatrical matters in the old days of stock companies the verdict of an Edinburgh audience was held to make or mar an actor or a play. This is no longer the case, but the Lyceum theatre in Grindlay Street and the Theatre Royal at the head of Leith Walk give good performances. Variety entertainments are also in vogue, and in Nicolson Street and elsewhere there are good music halls. Outdoor recreations have always been pursued with zest. The public golf-course on Braid Hills and the private courses of the Lothianburn club at Swanston and the Barnton club at Barnton are usually full on Saturdays and holidays. The numerous bowling-greens are regularly frequented and are among the best in Scotland—the first Australian team of bowlers that visited the mother country (in 1901) pronouncing the green in Lutton Place the finest on which they had played. Cricket is played by the university students, at the schools, and by private clubs, of which the Grange is the oldest and best. In winter the game of curling is played on Duddingston Loch, and Dunsappie, St Margaret’s Loch, Lochend and other sheets of water are covered with skaters. Rugby football is in high favour, Edinburgh being commonly the scene of the international matches when the venue falls to Scotland. Hockey claims many votaries, there usually being on New Year’s day a match at shinty, or camanachd, between opposing teams of Highlanders resident in the city. The central public baths in Infirmary Street, with branch establishments in other parts of the town, including Portobello, are largely resorted to, and the proximity of the Firth of Forth induces the keener swimmers to visit Granton every morning. Facilities for boating are limited (excepting on the Forth), but rowing clubs find opportunity for practice and races on the Union Canal, where, however, sailing is scarcely possible. Edinburgh maintains few newspapers, but the Scotsman, which may be said to reign alone, has enjoyed a career of almost uninterrupted prosperity, largely in consequence of a succession of able editors, like Charles Maclaren, Alexander Russel, Robert Wallace and Charles Cooper. The Edinburgh Evening News and the Evening Dispatch are popular sheets. In the past the Edinburgh Evening Courant, the chief organ of the Tory party, of which James Hannay was editor for a few years, had a high reputation. The Witness, edited by Hugh Miller, the Daily Review, edited first by J. B. Manson and afterwards by Henry Kingsley, and the Scottish Leader, were conducted more or less as Liberal organs with a distinct bias in favour of the then Free Church, but none of these was long-lived. Volunteering has always attracted the younger men, and the highest awards at Wimbledon and Bisley have been won by the Queen’s Edinburgh.
History.—In remote times the seaboard from the Tyne to the Forth was occupied by the Ottadeni, a Welsh tribe of the Brigantes, the territory immediately to the west of it being peopled by the Gadeni. It is probable that the Ottadeni built a fort or camp on the rock on which Edinburgh Castle now stands, which was thus the nucleus around which, in course of time, grew a considerable village. Under the protection of the hill-fort, a native settlement was established on the ridge running down to the valley at the foot of Salisbury Crags, and another hamlet, according to William Maitland (1693-1757), the earliest historian of Edinburgh, was founded in the area at the north-western base of the rock, a district that afterwards became the parish of St Cuthbert, the oldest in the city. The Romans occupied the country for more than three hundred years, as is evidenced by various remains; but James Grant (1822-1887), in Old and New Edinburgh, doubts whether they ever built on the castle rock. When they withdrew, the British tribes reasserted their sway, and some authorities go so far as to suggest that Arthur was one of their kings. The southern Picts ultimately subdued the Britons, and the castle became their chief stronghold until they were overthrown in 617 (or 629) by the Saxons under Edwin, king of Northumbria, from whom the name of Edinburgh is derived. Symeon of Durham (854) calls it Edwinesburch, and includes the church of St Cuthbert within the bishopric of Lindisfarne. Its Gaelic name was Dunedin. This name is probably a translation of the Saxon name. James Grant’s view that it may have been the earlier name of the castle, from dun (“the fort”), and edin (“on the slope”), conflicts with the more generally received opinion that the Britons knew the fortress as Castelh Mynedh Agnedh (“the hill of the plain”), a designation once wrongly interpreted as the “castle of the maidens” (castrum puellarum), in allusion to the supposed fact that the Pictish princesses were lodged within it during their education. In the 16th century the latinized form Edina was invented and has been used chiefly by poets, once notably by Burns, whose “Address” begins “Edina! Scotia’s darling seat.” Long after Edwin’s conquest the lowland continued to be debatable territory held by uncertain tenure, but at length it was to a large extent settled anew by Anglo-Saxon and Norman colonists under Malcolm Canmore and his sons.
In the reign of Malcolm Canmore the castle included the king’s palace. There his pious queen, Margaret, the grand-niece of Edward the Confessor, died in 1093. It continued to be a royal residence during the reigns of her three sons, and hence the first rapid growth of the upper town may be referred to the 12th century. The parish church of St Giles is believed to have been erected in the reign of Alexander I., about 1110, and the huge Norman keep of the castle, built by his younger brother, David I., continued to be known as David’s Tower till its destruction in the siege of 1572. Soon after his accession to the Scottish throne David I. founded the abbey of Holyrood (1128), which from an early date received the court as its guests. But notwithstanding the attractions of the abbey and the neighbouring chase, the royal palace continued for centuries to be within the fortress, and there both the Celtic and Stuart kings frequently resided. Edinburgh was long an exposed frontier town within a territory only ceded to Malcolm II. about 1020; and even under the earlier Stuart kings it was still regarded as a border stronghold. Hence, though the village of Canongate grew up beside the abbey of David I., and Edinburgh was a place of sufficient importance to be reckoned one of the four principal burghs as a judicatory for all commercial matters, nevertheless, even so late as 1450, when it became for the first time a walled town, it did not extend beyond the upper part of the ridge which slopes eastwards from the castle. So long, however, as its walls formed the boundary, and space therefore was limited, the citizens had to provide house-room by building dwellings of many storeys. These tall tenements on both sides of what is now High Street and Canongate are still a prominent characteristic of the Old Town. The streets were mostly very narrow, the main street from the castle to Holyrood Palace and the Cowgate alone permitting the passage of wheeled carriages. In the narrow “wynds” the nobility and gentry paid their visits in sedan chairs, and proceeded in full dress to the assemblies and balls, which were conducted with aristocratic exclusiveness in an alley on the south side of High Street, called the Assembly Close, and in the assembly rooms in the West Bow. Beyond the walls lay the burghs of Calton, Easter and Wester Portsburgh, the villages of St Cuthbert’s,
Moutrie’s Hill, Broughton, Canonmills, Silvermills and Deanhaugh—all successively swallowed up in the extension of the modern city. The seaport of Leith, though a distinct burgh, governed by its own magistrates, and electing its own representative to parliament, has also on its southern side become practically united to its great neighbour.
The other three royal burghs associated with Edinburgh were Stirling, Roxburgh and Berwick; and their enactments form the earliest existing collected body of Scots law. The determination of Edinburgh as the national capital, and as the most frequent scene of parliamentary assemblies, dates from the death of James I. in 1436. Of the thirteen parliaments summoned by that sovereign, only one, the last, was held at Edinburgh, but his assassination in the Blackfriars’ monastery at Perth led to the abrupt transfer of the court and capital from the Tay to the Forth. The coronation of James II. was celebrated in Holyrood Abbey instead of at Scone, and the widowed queen took up her residence, with the young king, in the castle. Of fourteen parliaments summoned during this reign, only one was held at Perth, five met at Stirling and the rest at Edinburgh; and, notwithstanding the favour shown for Stirling as a royal residence in the following reign, every one of the parliaments of James III. was held at Edinburgh. James II. conferred on the city various privileges relating to the holding of fairs and markets, and the levying of customs; and by a royal charter of 1452 he gave it pre-eminence over the other burghs. Further immunities and privileges were granted by James III.; and by a precept of 1482, known as the Golden Charter, he bestowed on the provost and magistrates the hereditary office of sheriff, with power to hold courts, to levy fines, and to impose duties on all merchandise landed at the port of Leith. Those privileges were renewed and extended by various sovereigns, and especially by a general charter granted by James VI. in 1603.
James III. was a great builder, and, in the prosperous era which followed his son’s accession to the throne, the town reached the open valley to the south, with the Cowgate as its chief thoroughfare. But the death of James IV. in 1513, along with other disastrous results of the battle of Flodden, brought this era of prosperity to an abrupt close. The citizens hastened to construct a second line of wall, enclosing the Cowgate and the heights beyond, since occupied by Greyfriars churches and Heriot’s hospital, but still excluding the Canongate, as pertaining to the abbey of Holyrood. In the 16th century the movements connected with John Knox and Mary, queen of Scots, made Edinburgh a castle of much activity. With the departure, however, of the sixth James to fill the English throne in 1603, the town lost for a long period its influence and prestige. Matters were not bettered by the Act of Union signed in a cellar in High Street in 1707, amidst the execrations of the people, and it was not till the hopes of the Jacobites were blasted at Culloden (1746) that the townsfolk began to accept the inevitable. This epoch, when grass grew even in High Street, long lingered in the popular memory as the “dark age.”
By the accession of George III. (1760), Edinburgh showed signs of revived enterprise. In 1763 the first North Bridge, connecting the Old Town with the sloping ground on which afterwards stood the Register House and the theatre in Shakespeare Square, was opened; a little later the Nor’ Loch was partially drained, and the bridging of the Cowgate in 1785 encouraged expansion southwards. Towards the end of the 18th century the New Town began to take shape on the grand, if formal, lines which had been planned by James Craig (d. 1795), the architect, nephew of the poet Thomson, and the erection of Regent Bridge in Waterloo Place (formally opened in 1819 on the occasion of the visit of Prince Leopold, afterwards king of the Belgians) gave access to Calton Hill. The creation of Princes Street, one of the most beautiful thoroughfares in the world, led to further improvement. The earth and débris from the excavation of the sites for the houses in this and adjoining streets had been “dumped” in the centre of the drained Nor’ Loch. This unsightly mass of rubbish lay for a while as an eye-sore, until the happy thought arose of converting it into a broad way joining the new road at Hanover Street with the Old Town at the Lawnmarket. Upon this street, which divides Princes Street and its gardens into east and west, and which received the title of the Mound, were erected the National Gallery and the Royal Institution. Speaking generally, the New Town was resorted to by professional men—lawyers, doctors and artists,—and in its principal streets will be found the head offices of the leading banks and insurance offices, all lodged in buildings of remarkable architectural pretensions. The Commercial, the Union and the Clydesdale banks are in George Street, the National Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the British Linen Company’s Bank are in St Andrew Square, the Bank of Scotland is at the head of the Mound. The extensive building operations engaged in by the town council in the early part of the 19th century resulted in the insolvency of the city in 1833. The property of the corporation was valued at £271,658 against a debt of £425,195, which was compounded for by the issue of 3% annuity bonds—the loss to the creditors amounting to 25% of their claims.
Meanwhile the progress of letters, science and learning manifested the recovery of the city. The names of Knox (d. 1572), Buchanan (1582), Alexander Montgomery (1605), Drummond of Hawthornden (1649), Allan Ramsay (1757), Smollett (1771), Fergusson (1774), and Burns (1796), carried on the literary associations of the Scottish capital nearly to the close of the 18th century, when various causes combined to give them new significance and value. The university was served by a body of teachers and investigators who won for it a prominent position among European schools. Then succeeded the era of Scott’s Marmion and The Lady of the Lake, followed by the Waverley novels and the foundation of Blackwood’s Magazine and the Edinburgh Review.
Modern conditions have changed the character of Edinburgh society. In Scott’s early days a journey to London was beset with difficulties and even dangers; but railways have now brought it within a few hours’ distance, and Scottish artists and literary men are tempted to seek a wider field. Nevertheless, the influence of the past survives in many ways. Edinburgh is not markedly a manufacturing city, but preserves its character as the Scottish capital.
- The original Tolbooth was completed in 1501, but a new one took its place in 1563-1564, and was subsequently altered. At first occupied by the parliament and courts of justice, it served later as a prison, and was removed in 1817.
- James Gillespie (1726-1797) was a tobacco and snuff manufacturer, and when he set up his carriage Henry Erskine suggested as a motto the homely couplet:—
“Wha wad hae thocht it,
That noses wad bocht it?”
- James Donaldson (1751-1830) was a printer who bequeathed nearly the whole of his large fortune for the purposes of a hospital for poor boys and girls, and the trustees have usually selected half of the children admitted from the ranks of the deaf and dumb.