EDINBURGH - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"EDINBURGH, comprising the parishes of St. John, St. Cuthbert and many others, a city, royal and parliamentary borough, sheriffdom, and metropolis of Scotland, exercising separate jurisdiction, but locally situated in the county of Midlothian, Scotland, in N. lat. 55° 57' 23", and W. long. 3° 10' 30". It is distant about 2 miles from the S. shore of the Frith of Forth, and 337 miles N.N.W. of London in a straight line, or 399½ by railway from King's Cross. It is the centre of a system of railways communicating with all the chief towns of England and Scotland, by means of the Edinburgh and Glasgow, North British and Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee lines, which are brought in by tunnels to a general railway terminus at North Bridge, in the valley between the old and new towns; and by the Caledonian railway, which has its station at the W. end of the city: the Dalkeith branch of the North British line has a station at the E. end, in St. Leonard's-street.
The Union canal goes out from Port Hopetoun basin, W. of the city, and after a course of 31½ miles, in which it passes 11 locks, joins the Forth and Clyde canal near Camelon. Although not a seaport, Edinburgh carries on a considerable traffic through the ports of Leith and Granton; the former having been united to it by charter of James VI., in 1603. From Leith, steamers sail to Hull (24 hours), London (36 hours), and Newcastle (10 hours); besides occasionally to Anstruther, Dunkirk, Hamburgh, Dantzig, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Pillau, and Stettin; from Granton to Aberdeen (7 to 9 hours), Inverness and the Moray Frith, Kirkwall (24 hours), Lerwick and Shetland (36 hours), London (36 hours), Thurso (24 hours), and Wick (20 hours); and from Silloth to Dublin. Sailing packets to all the above places, with Glasgow, Liverpool, Banff, &c.
Like London, Edinburgh has recently extended far beyond its original limits, taking in several distinct places subject to different jurisdictions, though united under the Reform Act for parliamentary purposes, so that it now includes Edinburgh, Canongate, Portsburgh, and Calton. Of these Edinburgh proper is the oldest, occupying, as its name implies, the site of the castle built by Edwin, the Saxon king of Northumbria, in the 7th century. Previous to this, its Gaelic name was Dunmonaidh, "hill of the moor", which, after the building of the castle, was changed to Magh-dun, or Maidy, "fort of the plain"; this last being mistaken for maiden, gave rise to the monkish name of Castrum Puellarum. Its Saxon name Edinburc, however, prevailed, and was translated into Gaelic as Dun-Edin, and into Latin by Buchanan as Edina. This was the more appropriate, as, previous to 1020, Edinburgh formed no part of Scotland, but was entirely a Saxon town, in which the kings of Northumbria frequently held their court.
In 1093 the castle was the scene of Queen Margaret's death, and in 1128 David I. raised it into a burgh, and founded Holyrood, the monks of which soon began to build Canongate. In 1174, it was given up to the English crown, but was restored in 1186. In 1215 Alexander II. held his first parliament here, and in 1239 it was the seat of a Church council. Alexander III. selected the castle as the repository for the regalia and archives, and occasionally held his court in it. During the wars of independence, under Bruce and Baliol, it was frequently occupied by the English, but was retaken by the Black Douglas in 1341.
Previous to its being burnt by Richard II. in 1385, it was visited by Froissart, who describes it as containing 4,000 houses, but these of so mean a sort that it could not accommodate a company of French knights who had arrived on a visit to the Scotch court. It was shortly after rebuilt, but did not extend beyond the central range of hills, consisting at this time of little more than the High-street, from the castle to the Canongate. It had, however, become the seat of the court, and was walled and fortified by James II., who celebrated his marriage with Mary of Gueldres here in 1449.
It now began to increase rapidly in population, and upon the draining of the South marsh, many wealthy families took up their residence in the Grass Market and Cowgate, which for several centuries continued to be the fashionable quarter of the town. James III. celebrated here his marriage with Margaret of Denmark in 1469, and erected the city into a sheriffdom of itself, with special privileges to the guilds or trades unions, symbolised by a banner called the "blue blanket", which is still preserved. His successor James IV. held his first parliament here in 1488, and five years afterwards celebrated his marriage with the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VII. of England, with great magnificence. During his reign, the city was terribly visited by the plague, and after the fatal battle of Flodden underwent an entire renovation, the southern valley being drained and built over, and the new suburb of Cowgate enclosed within walls, having previously been entirely defenceless.
James V. organised the town guard, and made Edinburgh the seat of the royal palace, of the parliament, and of the superior courts of justice, which had previously been held at Scone, where the Scottish kings were crowned. In 1548 the city and castle were occupied by a French garrison, to prevent their falling into the hands of the English, as had happened four years previously, when the city was fired by order of the Earl of Hertford, afterwards Protector Somerset. In 1558 the city was first lighted with lamps across the street, and the houses were rebuilt after a more substantial fashion, having previously been constructed of mud and wattles.
During the latter half of the century, many interesting events took place connected with the tragic fate of Queen Mary, and the early history of the Reformation. It was here that the first covenant was signed on the 3rd of December, 1557, and the house from which John Knox used to preach is still standing, near the upper end of Canongate. The following year the town was occupied by the "lords of the congregation", and in 1560 the first assembly of the Reformed Kirk met here. It was successively the scene of numerous tragic events, as the murder of Darnley, the assassination of the Regent Murray, and the execution of Morton by the "maiden" which he had himself introduced.
In 1586 it was ravaged by the plague, and again in 1645. In 1603 James VI. took his departure from Holyrood to ascend the English throne by the title of James I., after having granted the golden charter. Charles I., on his visit to Scotland in 1633, was crowned here. In 1635, the first post went out to London. On the introduction of episcopacy in 1637, Edinburgh sided with the General Assembly, and in 1640 Leslie, the popular general, took possession of the castle. In the following year it was again visited by Charles I., and in 1643 the Solemn League and Covenant was here confirmed by the Estates and General Assembly, who bound themselves to aid the English parliament for the defence of religion.
After the king's death, Charles II. was proclaimed here, and the town was taken by Cromwell in 1650, after his victory at Dunbar. The castle was then occupied by an English garrison, which kept possession of it till the Restoration. At this time episcopacy was restored, and the Grass Market became a spot of thrilling interest, from the number of Presbyterian Protestants who there suffered martyrdom. On the triumph of the liberal party at the Revolution, Presbyterianism was finally established, and the chapel of Holyrood was destroyed, though the castle held out under the Duke of Gordon till 1690.
After the union of Scotland with England in 1707, and the transference of the parliament and privy council to London, many of the nobility removed thither, leaving Canongate almost deserted. The national sympathy for the dethroned Stuarts also tended to confine the nobility to their estates, and in 1715 the Jacobites thought themselves sufficiently strong to attempt a surprise of Edinburgh Castle, but unsuccessfully. In 1736 an alarming riot took place, occasioned by the reprieve of John Porteous, Captain of the City Guard, whose history is told in "The Heart of Mid Lothian". On the receipt of the warrant for his reprieve from Queen Caroline, then regent, the popular indignation could not be restrained, and the captain was forcibly carried from prison and hanged on a dyer's pole in the Grass Market.
Nine years afterwards, in 1745, the city was taken possession of by the rebels, and Prince Charles Edward Stuart was lodged in the palace of Holyrood. After the defeat of the Pretender's forces, and the re-establishment of order, the prospects of the city brightened, and many of the nobility and gentry who were not called on to attend the parliament in London, resorted to Edinburgh for the enjoyment of the luxuries and gaieties of the Scottish capital. This caused a demand for suitable accommodation, and in 1753 an Act of Parliament was obtained for the entire renovation of the city. Many of the old houses were pulled down, and lines of handsome streets erected in their stead.
The Royal Exchange, in the High-street, was amongst the first of the new buildings, followed shortly by the North Bridge, across that valley which was constructed with the design of erecting a new town on the opposite eminence, beyond the North Loch. For this project an Act was obtained in 1767, and St. Andrew's-square formed the nucleus of the new town. A similar extension took place on the S. side, where George square, Brown-square, and many handsome streets rose in rapid succession.
The following century was a period of political tranquillity, marked chiefly by the social improvements which were effected, as the introduction of the first penny post by P. Williamson, in 1776, and the establishment of a regular line of mail-coaches in 1789, whereas previously communication had been maintained by a monthly coach, which took from twelve to sixteen days to accomplish the journey between Edinburgh and London.
In 1843, the general calm was disturbed by a great religious excitement, when 203 members of the General Assembly seceded from the Established Church of Scotland, and quitting St. Andrew's church, where the annual meeting of the Assembly was held, retired to Tanfield Hall, in Canon Mills, thus founding the Free Church of Scotland. The municipal affairs are regulated by the lord-provost, who is admiral, and lord-lieutenant of the city, assisted by a town-clerk, 31 councillors, lord dean of guild, and 6 city magistrates.
Previous to the passing of the Burgh Reform Act, Edinburgh was a close corporation, the revenue from various sources amounting to £27,524; when the accompts were drawn up in 1833, under the authority of the magistrates and reformed council, the debts and obligations of the city amounted to £425,194, exclusive of the engagements on account of the Leith docks. Under these circumstances the city became insolvent, and an Act was passed in August, 1833, conveying certain properties and revenues to trustees for its creditors, which in 1860, under the improved management, produced £37,937.
By charter of George III., granted in 1794, the lord-provost, who was previously sheriff and coroner, was constituted lord lieutenant of the county of the city, which dignity was confirmed by the Edinburgh Municipality Extension Act of 1856. This Act increased the number of councillors from 33 to 42, and the number of wards from 5 to 13, but left unchanged the municipal boundaries, which coincide with the parliamentary, as fixed by the Act 2 and 3 William IV., cap. 65. Edinburgh sends two members to parliament.
In 1861, the parliamentary and municipal constituency was 8,680, out of a total population of 168,098, exclusive of Leith, which numbered 33,530. In 1851 the population of Edinburgh was 120,573, and that of Leith 20,302, showing an increase for the decennial period, in the former of 47,525, and in the latter of 13,228. Since the commencement of the present century the population has more than doubled, the census of 1801 giving only 66,544 for the city and suburbs.
Although not half so populous as Glasgow, Edinburgh is not only the nominal, but the virtual capital of Scotland, being the centre of political and national life. Its inhabitants are composed, to a great extent, of persons of independent property, bankers, annuitants, and the liberally educated classes, excelling in this respect every other town in the United Kingdom. This circumstance, taken in connection with the abundance and cheapness of the necessaries and luxuries of life, the facilities it enjoys for education, and the picturesque grandeur of its environs, has obtained for it the names of "Modern Athens", and "Athens of the North", a similarity which modern travellers assert equally applies to its physical aspect.
Mr. Williams, adopting the words of Stuart, says, "The distant view of Athens from the AEgean Sea is extremely like that of Edinburgh from the Firth of Forth, except that the latter is more imposing". The ranges of houses are certainly magnificent, surpassing anything that London or Dublin can boast, of, and being built of stone, have a solidity and vastness which gives them the appearance of palaces in the eye of a stranger. The stone, which is as cheap as brick, and capable of receiving a high polish, is procured from the neighbouring quarries of Craigleith, where some of the pits are 250 feet deep.
The circumstance of the whole of the new town of Edinburgh having been built within the present century, in accordance with a regular and well-considered plan, gives it the advantage of unity of design; its streets are spacious and well-arranged, its public buildings and monuments artistically grouped, and the most made of its admirable site, so that it is no exaggeration to say that this portion, at least, of Edinburgh remains unsurpassed for simple elegance and unique grandeur.
The city, as seen from the Castle batteries, consists of the Old and New town, built on four or five hills, and covering a space of about 2 square miles, being in form a decagon of 8 miles in circumference. To the S.E. is the Old Town, occupying the summit of a wedge-shaped hill, extending from the castle to Holyrood, a length of 5,578 feet, the whole length of which is traversed by one long street, with numerous small streets and closes branching off on either side.
This street is designated Canongate towards the E., High-street in the centre, and the Lawn Market to the W. After emerging from the lower or Canongate end, this street widens out into a spacious thoroughfare, lined on either side by lofty houses, with antique gables, interspersed with numerous public edifices, and marked at intervals by massive ornamental architecture, of an age long gone by. After passing by St. Giles's Cathedral, and the Victoria Hall, the street again contracts, and under the name of Castle Hill finally emerges on the esplanade or open area before the gate of the castle, at the distance of 900 yards from the commencement of the Canongate.
Between those two points several important streets branch off, as Bank-street, Blair-street, the West Bow, and George IV.'s Bridge; this last, though really a bridge consisting of three open double arches, with seven concealed arches at the ends, wears every appearance of a street, being lined on either side with houses and public buildings. Immediately E. from this bridge High-street commences, with its busy traffic and handsome shops, crossed by the great thoroughfare from North Bridge to Newington.
The houses in the High Street and Canongate are from ten to thirteen stories high, let out in flats after the French style, and sometimes inhabited by as many as 100 or 150 individuals. Behind this line of street, and nearly parallel to it, is a long narrow street, extending from Holyrood to the Grass Market, and designated at its lower end "the South Back of Canongate"; and towards the West Cowgate, in the rear of these streets, to the right and left, are lofty ranges of buildings, separated only by dark narrow closes or wynds.
Although the traveller's greatest enthusiasm cannot now gild the misery that too obviously dwells in this portion of the town, there was a time, only one or two centuries back, when this and the adjoining district of Canongate were the abode of aristocracy; and many of the ancient houses, built in the reigns of Mary and James VI., still testify, by their richness of internal decoration, to the luxury of their former occupiers.
Continuous with Cowgate, but suddenly expanding into a spacious rectangular area, is the Grass Market, famous in Scottish history as the scene of the sufferings of so many fervent Presbyterians, who, under the Stuarts, here sealed their faith with their blood, but now, as in ancient times, the rendezvous of farmers, Braziers, and corn-dealers, who resort to the new Corn Exchange, which stands on the S. side of the rectangle.
Besides the ancient portion of the city surrounding the High-street, the Old Town now includes many spacious streets, lined with commodious and elegant shops, leading to the extensive suburbs of Newington and Laurieston; of these the principal are Montague street, St. Leonard's-street (near which is the Edinburgh and Dalkeith railway for goods traffic,) the Pleasance, Minto-street, Clerk-street, Nicholson-street, South Bridge-street, in which the college is situated, and North Bridge-street, which last, forming the commencement of the lofty roadway of the North Bridge, is built for half its length upon vaults or closed arches, supported by strong buttresses and counter forts.
These arches, as they approach the centre of the North Loch Valley, gradually expand into regular arches, the three central ones measuring 72 feet wide by 68 in height, from the bottom of the ravine to the top of the parapet. The road-way they support is 40 feet wide, by 310 feet long, and running into Prince's-street at right angles, thus unites the Old and New Towns.
Beside the North Bridge, the Waverley Bridge also spans the intervening ravine which separates the Old from the New Town. It is a low bridge of recent construction, with descending approaches serving chiefly for the traffic connected with the railway termini, which centre at this point, occupying part of the North Loch Valley to the W. of the North Bridge.
Other parts of this valley, formerly covered with water, but now drained, are occupied by the meat and vegetable markets, and by spacious public gardens, tastefully planted. But the grandest ornament of this lovely valley is the huge causeway called the Mound, consisting of a mass of earth, 300 feet broad by 100 high, connecting the Old and New Towns, and bearing aloft on its summit the Royal Institution and National Gallery.
On the northern side of this ravine, and occupying the summit of the most northerly of the three longitudinal and parallel hills on which Edinburgh is built, is the vast expanse of the New Town, stretching away as far as the eye can reach beyond the W. face of the Castle Hill, and extending towards the picturesque shores of the Forth, which is visible in the distance. For the greater facility of description we must divide the New Town into four sections, viz. South, North, West, and East; of these the South occupies the heights facing the Old Town, and consists chiefly of the principal parallel lines of street, viz. Queen-street on the N., George street in the centre, and Prince's-street on the S.
The first of these streets still retains its original construction, the houses all being of one figure and elevation, and looking down upon the tastefully laid out public gardens, with the northern New Town beyond, and the shores of the Forth in the distance. The second, George-street, is extremely spacious, being 115 feet broad, and lined on either side with handsome and well-built houses, including, towards the eastern end, some of the finest public buildings of the city, interspersed with its most ambitious shops and warehouses.
At either end of this street, which runs as straight as an arrow from W. to E., are the superb squares called Charlotte-square and St. Andrew's-square, with the lofty fluted column of Lord Melville rising from the centre of the latter. This square, which has recently been transmuted from its original character of a place of opulent dwelling-houses to a place of commercial stir, contains some of the first banks, insurance-offices, hotels, and warehouses in the city.
The third-named street, Prince's-street, is the principal thoroughfare of the New Town, by means of the North Bridge conducting the commerce from the old city to the opulent neighbourhoods of the New Town and Calton Hill. Its architectural appearance has undergone a complete transmutation in the last thirty years - from a street of elegant and commodious dwelling-houses, built with remarkable uniformity and regularity, to a bustling thoroughfare, lined with hotels, club-rooms, public offices, warehouses, and shops, each distinguished by separate devices or architectural adornments, irrespective of the neighbouring edifices, and often grotesquely characterising the picturesque irregularities of the Old Town, which faces the houses on the N. side of the street, the S. side remaining unbuilt.
Intersecting these principal longitudinal streets are several cross streets, as St. Andrew's-street on the E., St. David's, Hanover, Frederick, Castle, Charlotte, and Hope streets, the last forming the extreme W. Beyond this southern portion of the Now Town, and separated by the area of the Queen-street Gardens, is the magnificent range of streets constituting the North New Town. These streets, like those of the S. part, run in longitudinal and parallel lines, and are named Great King-street, Northumberland-street, and Cumberland street, with the magnificently edificed areas of Drummond-place on the E., and the Royal Circus on the W.
Further to the N., and lying in the valley of the Water of Leith, is the large suburb of Stockbridge, with the adjoining districts of Canonmills, Tanfield, and Inverleith; joining on the E. the old suburb of Canonmills, with its mean-looking streets and houses in strange contrast to the palatial edifices crowning the heights above.
Adjoining the N. and S. towns on the W. are the magnificent streets and squares forming the West New Town, built upon the lands of Coates, and surpassing in superbness of their architecture all other parts of the New city. Commencing from the W. end of Heriot-row, Darnaway-street leads direct into Moray-place, the glory of Edinburgh, with its magnificent conglomeration of Doric palaces, arranged in the form of a dodecagon. These were constructed after designs by Gillespie Graham, and exhibit probably the finest specimens of domestic architecture in Europe. From this centre of attraction to all visitors,
Great Stuart-street branches off to the S.W., extending over a distance of 320 yards, and expanding in the centre into a double crescent called Ainslie-place; farther on it cuts Randolph-crescent, and sends off Queensferry-street to the S.E., connecting the W. end of Prince's-street, and by another line of street to the N.W., called Lynedoch-place, approaches Dean Bridge, which here spans the romantic ravine of the Water of Leith, forming the great thoroughfare to Perth and the North by way of Queensferry.
The view from this bridge is extremely pleasing, embracing the rustic village of the Water of Leith, with its mills and picturesque houses at the bottom of the dell; while surmounting the rocky steps of the ravine to the E., rise in striking contrast the lofty symmetrical edifices of Randolph-cliff, Dean-terrace, and the back of Moray-place, sustained on a series of arches that give its hanging gardens and sloping lawns an altogether Babylonish aspect.
Returning again to Randolph-place, the lines of street still run in a S.W. direction, Melville-street being the most spacious and elegant, but Maitland-street the most important, forming the continuation of Prince's-street, which it connects with the Glasgow-road at a point called the hay Market, where the Glasgow and Edinburgh railway has a station.
Having reached the extreme S.W. limit of the city, we must again return eastward by the castle and Lawn Market, already described, to the North Bridge, crossing which we come immediately upon the East New Town, with Waterloo place to the right, forming the eastern continuation of Prince's-street.
At the W. end, adjoining Prince's-street, the houses are four stories high, having a pediment and pillars above the lower story; but as they proceed eastward they increase in magnificence; and on the S. side of the street, which is here built upon, are several public edifices, as the General Post-office and the Inland Revenue Office. A new post-office is being built at the W. end of Waterloo Place, on the S. side of Prince's-street, on the site of the old Theatre Royal.
The principal feature of this part of the town, however, is the Regent's Bridge, spanning the ravine at the foot of Calton Hill, which it strikes about half-way up, and adorned with beautiful statues and arches for about 50 feet of its length. On ascending Calton Hill, which rises 345 feet above the sea, we have a magnificent view of the city and surrounding country, dotted over for miles with handsome villas and suburban residences, and a distant view of the important suburb of Leith, with its quays and shipping on the shores of the Forth, and long lines of houses stretching along the road all the way from Leith, forming one continuous street of 2 miles called Leith-walk.
On the hill itself is the antique-looking colonnade of the National monument, with its thirteen granite columns, rising 356 feet high, and only too closely resembling, in its unfinished state, the ruins of the Parthenon, which it was designed to imitate, but was abruptly left off for want of funds. At a short distance is Nelson's monument, consisting of a lofty shaft springing from an octagonal base; also an observatory, and monuments to Dugald Stewart and Professor Playfair.
Around the eastern slope of the hill are a series of handsome private mansions, forming the Royal-terrace, Carlton-terrace, and Regent-terrace. On the S. side of the hill, near the middle of the esplanade, stands the new High School, a noble Grecian structure, 270 feet long, consisting of a centre and two wings, built of fine white stone, and containing a bust of the Prince of Wales, presented by the ford-provost, on the 9th November, 1862, the day on which the Prince attained his majority. Nearly opposite this building, and overhanging the S. side of the precipitous acclivity, is the classic monument of Burns.
Westward from this spot, and occupying a considerable area, are the castellated edifices known as the gaol and bridewell, but now forming one prison, under the management of the Prison Board. Lying immediately below this hill, to the N.W., is the extensive portion of the East New Town, comprising several handsome streets, as London-street, on a line with Great King-street, which it vies with in the elegance of its buildings; Barony-street, the continuation of Northumberland-street; Albany-street, of Abercromby-place; and York-place, of Queen-street, thus forming a compact union with the northern and southern new towns. At right angles to these, and commencing near the western base of Calton Hill, winds Leith-street, branching off after a short distance into the two spacious streets called Broughton-street and Leith-walk.
The former of these, before the introduction of railways, was the grand thoroughfare to Fife, Dundee, and the North, by way of Newhaven Ferry, and the latter is still the direct route to the port of Leith, with houses and streets along the greater part of its length till it passes into Leith, at the distance of about 2 miles. [See Leith]
Besides the public buildings already noticed in the general description of the city, Edinburgh contains several important structures requiring separate mention; among these the Castle stands out pre-eminent, with its antique bastions, visible for 40 miles, and occupying an area of 6 acres, inclusive of the esplanade. The rock on which it stands is a huge mass of columnar trap, of the variety called basaltic clinkstone, towering aloft nearly 300 feet above the vale below, and 380 feet above the sea-level. On all its sides, except the E., the face of the rock is precipitous, and in parts almost perpendicular. On the E. side it joins the wedge-shaped sandstone rock, on which the old city stands, and slopes down gradually to the esplanade at the head of Castle-street, where stands the bronze statue of the Duke of York and Albany, erected in 1839.
To recount the historical associations of this ancient edifice would be to go over the greater part of the history of Scotland; but as it has altered so much in appearance, both internally and externally, since the times when it figured in history, the description given in the Memoirs of Kirkaldy of Grange, as it appeared in 1572, before the modern alterations commenced, cannot fail to be of interest.
"On the highest part of the rock stood, and yet stands, the square tower where Mary of Guise died, James VI. was born, and where the regalia have been kept for ages. On the N., a massive pile called David's Tower, built by the second monarch of that name, and containing a spacious hall, rose to the height of more than 40 feet above the precipice which threw its shadows on the loch 200 feet below. Another, named from Wallace, stood nearer to the city; and where now the formidable half-moon battery rears up its time-worn front, two high embattled walls, bristling with double tiers of ordnance, flanked on the N. by the round tower of the constable, 50 feet high, and on the S. by a square gigantic peel, opposed their faces to the city.
The soldiers of the garrison occupied the peel, the foundations of which are yet visible. Below it lay the entrance, with its portcullis and gates, to which a flight of forty steps ascended. The other towers were St. Margaret's, closed by a ponderous gate of iron, the kitchen tower, the larch munition-house, the armourer's forge, the bakehouse, brewery, and gun-house, at the gable of which swung a sonorous copper bell, for calling the watchers and alarming the garrison. Between the fortress and the city a strong round rampart, called the Spur, and another named the Well-house Tower, defended a narrow path which led to St. Cuthbert's Well. The castle then contained a great hall, a palace, the regalia, a church and an oratory, endowed by St. Margaret, who, 500 years before, expired in a room which tradition still names the Blessed Margaret's Chamber".
In its present form the castle appears exceedingly ill adapted for the purposes of a fort, except on the eastern side, where is situated the half-moon battery, overlooking the Old Town, and entirely commanding the approach along Castle-street and Castle Hill. A little further to the N., and crowning the highest point of the rock, is the bomb battery, bearing aloft the celebrated piece of ordnance called Mons Meg, employed by James IV. in 1497 at the siege of Norham Castle, and believed, according to an inscription on its frame, to have been forged at Mons in 1486. This marvellous piece of ordnance is composed of strips of wrought iron, bound together by iron hoops, and remained perfect till 1682, when it was rent whilst firing a salute to James, Duke of York, on his visit to Scotland.
A little to the S.E. is the royal flagstaff, from behind which George IV. and Queen Victoria surveyed the city, and on the W. side is the Argyle battery, mounting 10 guns of 12 and 18 pounders, which are pointed towards the New Town, and from which in general the salutes are fired. On all other sides the castle presents a confused mass of wall, projecting rock, and lofty houses, having little pretension to regular fortifications. Within the outer palisaded barrier of the fort, and occupying the space towards the W., are the arsenal, adapted for storing 30,000 stand of arms, the houses of the governor and other functionaries, and the state prison, approached through an arched gateway protected by strong iron gates.
Nearly in the centre of the castle, and occupying the more elevated portion of the rock, are the ancient erections of the old castle alluded to above, including the palace of Queen Mary, built in 1565; the crown-room, containing Bruce's gold crown, the sceptre, sword of state, presented by Pope Julius II., and other portions of the regalia of Scotland, formerly supposed to have been secretly conveyed to London, but found in 1818 stored away in a strong chest. Here is also the room in which James VI. was born (1566). Below these buildings, and perched on the slope of the rock, are the new barracks, a huge unsightly pile, erected in 1796, and resting in the rear upon piazzas.
Another range of buildings called the North Barracks are now being reconstructed, the order for which was given by the War Office in 1863. These, according to the designs of Mr. R. W. Billings, to whom the contract is entrusted, will include the parallelogram of the original building, which had been dismantled some years ago to make room for improvements never accomplished, with E. and W. wings, protected by projecting facets crossing the opposing outer angles. The building is three stories high, and on each story will be two large well-aired barrack-rooms; the sergeants' quarters being formed in the wings. The walls will be topped by a bold outline of turret and battlement, which will give effect to the building in the distant view, and especially on the N. side, where the back outline, in the centre of which is to be a tower, terminating in a carved thistle-top, is conspicuously seen from Prince's-street. The tender also includes a smaller building in the upper quadrangle, giving additional barrack accommodation, and the amount of the estimate is, £4,100, exclusive of the fittings for heating and ventilating, which will be supplied by the War Department.
Next in antiquity is the venerable abbey of Holyrood, by prescription a sanctuary for debtors. It was originally founded by David I. in 1128, solely as a religious house for Austin Canons, who had Canongate assigned to them, but like other abbeys of the time it was furnished with apartments for hospitably entertaining strangers, both rich and poor, who might seek the shelter of its roof. Among its early visitors were several of the Scottish monarchs, who came to visit the castle, being one of the strongest fortresses of the kingdom. Bruce and Baliol held their parliaments in the abbey, and James I. frequently resided here with his family. In 1543 this then venerable pile was destroyed by the English under the Earl of Hertford, who burnt the abbey and gutted the church, but it was shortly after restored, and James V. added apartments solely for the use of the royal household, portions of which buildings are still standing, and go by the name of James V.'s Towers.
At this time the palace and abbey consisted of five courts, covering an area much more extensive than the present building, but inferior in architectural display. The most imposing part of the structure was that which now forms the N. wing of the present W. front, including the apartments of the unfortunate Queen Mary, whose furniture and embroidery still remain undisturbed. It was here she married Darnley, and in one of the chambers they show the marks of Rizzio's blood. In the garden is still preserved her dial, a solid of twenty sides on a pedestal and one-sided base of three steps; the remaining portion of the old building consists of the picture gallery, 150 feet long, hung with 106 pretended likenesses of Scottish kings.
It was in this apartment that Prince Charles Edward Stuart (the young Pretender) held his receptions in 1745, and in it the representative peers are chosen. The other three sides of the quadrangle were rebuilt at the Restoration by Sir W. Bruce, and enclose an open court in the centre. The E. and S. fronts have been recently faced with polished stone, and the state apartments entirely refitted for the reception of Queen Victoria, who, since 1850, has passed several days at Holyrood every year, on her way to and from Balmoral.
Near the N. side of the palace stands the ruin of the Abbey Church, eloquent in its desolation, and containing the dust of many members of the royal line. Its fate seems to have been sealed at the Revolution, when the mob, maddened by the performance of the mass within its walls by James II. of England, better known in Scotland as James VII., gutted it more completely than the English had done in 1543, and left it a permanent ruin, part of the royal chapel, the W. door and towers, with the bare walls alone remaining. But what is more to be regretted is the disafforesting of the royal demesne, which was accomplished in the time of Cromwell, who suffered the tastefully laid out gardens to be ploughed up, and the park converted into meadow land. Some portion of the ancient park, including Salisbury Crags, David Dean's House, near St. Leonard's, Arthur's Seat, rising 820 feet above the sea level, covered with a great variety of herbage, and St. Anthony's Well and ruined chapel, have been reclaimed for the public.
The Old Town is also the seat of the College of Justice, founded by James V. in 1532. It includes the supreme court, called the Court of Session, the courts of admiralty, jury, exchequer, &c., under 13 judges, who combine the highest civil and criminal jurisdictions. The first of these courts consists of an inner and outer house; the former composed of two divisions, severally presided over by the Lord Justice General, who is head over the whole court, and by the Lord Justice Clerk; while the outer house forms a kind of subordinate court, composed of the five lords ordinary, who are called to the inner house as vacancies occur.
The judgment of either division is final in Scotland, but may be appealed from to the House of Lords, as the supreme court of judicature for the whole empire. In 1859 the number of appeals was twenty-five, of which ten were in matters of real property, thirteen in matters of personal property, one real and personal, and one in a matter of divorce. The winter session commences on the 12th November, and terminates on the 20th March; the summer session extends from the 12th May to the 20th July. The Court of Justiciary, or supreme criminal court, the admiralty, the exchequer, and the teind courts are also composed of members of the Court of Session, who are chosen according to seniority or ancient usage.
The inferior courts consist of the sheriff's court, the justices of peace, and the small debts courts, each differing in material respects from the similar courts in England, and having their special privileges guaranteed by the Act of Union, which secures to Scotland its separate national and legal organisation. The entrance to these courts is by a magnificent hall, 122 feet long by 49 feet broad, with an oak roof. The hall contains a statue of Henry Dundas, first Lord Melville, by Chantrey. The inner court occupies part of the old parliament house, built in 1632-40, where is a statue of President Blair, by Chantrey; while the outer court adjoins it, with a statue of President Forbes, by Roubilliac.
Next this hall is the Advocates' Library, founded in 1682, and containing the largest and most valuable collection of MSS. and books in Scotland: the former amount to 1,700 volumes, including a Vulgate Bible of the 4th century from Dunfermline Abbey, and the original Solemn League and Covenant; the latter amount to above 150,000 volumes, including one of the earliest printed Bibles, by Faust. The Signet Library adjoins Parliament House on the N., and forms a handsome Grecian building, containing two spacious apartments on different stories. The upper one, 139 feet long by 39 broad, is said to be the most elegant room in Scotland, supported on each side by a range of twelve Corinthian pillars, and in the centre a cupola. It was used by George IV. as his reception room on the occasion of the banquet given in the parliament house, and is at present appropriated to the library, which numbers 60,000 volumes.
These libraries are respectively the property of the Faculty of Advocates and of the writers to the Signet, who have their separate incorporations and privileges, but are managed with such liberality that any respectable person is admitted to study in the apartments, and even strangers are permitted to survey the library stores and works of art.
Next in antiquity comes the university, originally founded by Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney, before the Reformation, and actually opened for studies in 1583, after a sharp contest between the prelates of St. Andrew's and Aberdeen. It was not, however, till after the Revolution that this institution attained its high standing among the educational seminaries of Europe; but now no college can probably boast of a longer or more brilliant array of eminent men, whether as professors or alumni. Among the former have been Cullen, Black, Munro, the Gregorys, Maclaurin, Blair, Ferguson, Robertson, Robinson, Playfair, Brown, Monro, Dugald Stewart, Leslie, and Chalmers.
In 1720 the faculty of medicine was added; and at present the university numbers considerably above 2,000 students, of whom nearly half have entered for literature, two-thirds of the remaining half for medicine, and the rest for law and divinity. The number of matriculated students for 1860 was 1,550; of members of the general council, 1,788; and of graduates of that year, 102, viz. in arts 45 (22 M.A., 23 B.A.), in medicine 57. The winter session opens in the beginning of November, and closes in the end of April; the summer session opens in the beginning of May, and closes in the end of July. The general council meets twice a year-on the first Tuesday after the 14th of April, and on the last Friday of October. The university court consists of the rector, the principal, the Lord-Provost of Edinburgh, and the five assessors. The Senatus Academicus consists of the principal and professors. The foundation bursaries number eighty, of the aggregate value of £1,172.
The site of the present building was purchased in 1563, and includes the whole space between South Bridge-street, North, West, and South College streets. The edifice itself is a magnificent Grecian structure, forming a parallelogram 358 feet long by 255 wide. Its main front is to South Bridge-street, and is pierced by three lofty archways forming the principal entrance, and adorned by a Doric portico, composed of six columns 26 feet high, each formed of a single block of stone. The university buildings surround the inner court, and include the library, the museum, the hall of the Senatus Academicus, and the several class-rooms.
The building was commenced in 1786 by the town council, but soon came to a stand for want of funds to carry out so magnificent an undertaking, and continued in this unfinished state till 1815, when the government resolved to expend £10,000 annually towards its completion, which was effected in 1834. The original design was by Robert Adams, but was subsequently modified by W. Playfair, to whom the completion of the building was intrusted.
The county hall, near Parliament-square, was erected in 1817, after designs by Eliot, in imitation of the temple of Erectheus at Athens. It has a fine Ionic portico, modelled after the Choragic monument of Thrasyllus, and contains several spacious apartments, as the court-room, 43 feet by 29, the room in which the county meetings are held, 50 feet by 26, besides other apartments for the sheriff's court.
The General Register House for Records, &c., was also built from designs by Adams. It is situated at the E. end of Prince's-street, and stands 40 feet back from the roadway, being screened on either side by an elegant curtain wall, with a double flight of steps in the centre, much improved by the alterations made in 1850. The front of the edifice is 200 feet long, and two stories high, with a basement floor, and flanked by round corner turrets. The central court is surmounted by a dome 50 feet in diameter; and opposite the building is the statue of the Duke of Wellington.
The town and county gaol, which adjoins the E. end of Waterloo-place, is situated on the slope of the Calton Hill, extending along the Regent-road, and presents a castellated front of considerable extent, comprising three separate buildings, viz: the original gaol, built in 1815-7, in place of the old Tolbooth, or "Heart of Midlothian", which stood near the Luckenbooths till 1817, when the gate was given to Sir Walter Scott, and removed to Abbotsford; the original bridewell, built by Robert Adams, 1791, and united to the gaol in 1840; and the new extension gaol, contiguous to the bridewell, and completed in 1847; this last is a strong castellated edifice of four stories, terminated towards the E. by massive towers and a grand gate, in keeping with the original gaol on the W., and appearing in the distance more like a sumptuous baronial hall than a convict prison.
The new corn exchange, situated on the S. side of the Grass Market, is a handsome Italian building, 152 feet long, erected in 1849, after designs by D. Cousin. The observatory, situated on Calton Hill, consists of two buildings - the original one, instituted in 1776, with a fine camera obscura; and the new one, called St. George's Cross, 62 feet by 62, with a dome, transit, and other instruments, and a monument to Playfair. This latter building is situated in lat. 55° 57' 23.2" N., and long. 3° 10' 54" W. of Greenwich, with which it is connected by electric wires.
The instant of one o'clock, Greenwich time, is simultaneously indicated by the drop of the time-ball on the summit of Nelson's monument, and by the clock of the observatory, which latter, by a simple piece of mechanism, fires a gun from one of the batteries of the castle, so that the flash of the gun and the fall of the time-ball communicate the exact second, at whatever distance the state of the atmosphere may render them visible; but allowance has to be made, according to distance, for the report of the time-gun, sound taking longer to travel than light. On the top of Arthur's Seat it is heard 7 seconds after the discharge, and at the ports of Leith and Granton not till 11 or 12 seconds.
The Adelphi Theatre stood at the intersection of Broughton-street and Leith-walk; it was burnt down in 1853, but has since been rebuilt, and is now the Theatre Royal. The Assembly Rooms are situated on the S. side of George street, and present a plain front, relieved chiefly by four Doric columns. They comprise a ball-room 92 feet long by 42 wide, and 40 high; and a handsome music hall, 108 feet in length by 91 feet in breadth: the latter was built in 1843, at the cost of £10,000, and forms a great addition to the original building.
The Royal Institution, situated on the N. end of the Mound, was founded in 1823, and completed at a cost of £40,000. It is a handsome oblong edifice, surrounded on all its four fronts by fluted Doric columns, resting on flights of steps, and surmounted by an uniform entablature. On the N. side the building is crowned by a colossal statue of Queen Victoria, executed by Steell in 1844, and surrounded by sphynxes. Besides the apartments of the Royal Institution, which also administers the Spalding fund, the building accommodates the Royal Society of Edinburgh, with its library, museum, and galleries.
On the S. side of the Mound stands the new building devoted to the Art Galleries, in design somewhat similar to the Royal Institution, but surpassing it in extent. The N. and S. fronts are adorned by a handsome Ionic portico, formed of two projecting wings, with a centre. It was founded by the late lamented Prince Consort in 1850, with great pomp, but was only completed a few years before his demise. Besides affording a home for the newly-formed National Gallery, it is used for the annual exhibition of the Scottish Royal Academy, and for a museum of art, comprising Sir J. Erskine's collection of pictures and bronzes.
The hall of the Royal College of Physicians stands in Queen-street, and was erected in 1845 from designs by Hamilton. It is a purely Grecian building, with a Corinthian portico of unique character. The hall of the College of Surgeons stands in Nicholson-street. It is a large modern Ionic building, and contains a collection of 10,000 preparations, wax models, &c.
The Royal Medical Society is in Surgeons'-square, and has a good library and museum. There are two veterinary colleges, one in Clyde-street, and the other in the Lothian-road. The Highland and Agricultural Society's museum is a handsome massive edifice at the S. corner of Victoria-street and George IV.'s Bridge.
The museum of the Society of Antiquaries is now accommodated in the Royal Institution. It is rich in curiosities connected with Scottish history, as the "maiden "or guillotine, Knox's pulpit, an old bridle for taming the tongues of railers, and the stool which Janet Geddes hurled at the Bishop of Edinburgh, whilst preaching in St. Giles's church. In August, 1860, an Act was passed to confer powers on the Public Works Commissioners to acquire certain property in Edinburgh for an industrial museum for Scotland, the laying the foundation-stone of which was one of the last public acts of the late Prince Consort.
Besides the above, there are numerous other public edifices of less pretension, as the old mint, in Gray's-close; the bailie court, with the council chamber and city offices, in the Royal Exchange buildings; the stock exchange, erected in 1845; the Chamber of Commerce, established in 1786; the Merchants' Company, founded in 1681; the new police buildings, erected in 1849; the curious old structure called the Canongate, or Debtors' Tolbooth; and the old Linen Hall, once Earl Murray's house.
Scarcely inferior in extent, and certainly not in architectural display, are some of the numerous banking establishments and insurance offices. The elegant office of the Union Bank is situated in Parliament square; the still more pretentious office of the Bank of Scotland, at the S. end of the Mound, facing High-street, with a back front towards the New Town. This building is surmounted by a dome, and was erected at the cost of £75,000.
The Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank is a handsome Grecian edifice at the E. corner of George-street. The Commercial Bank, situated on the S. side of George street, occupies the site of the former Physicians' Hall. It was erected in 1847, after designs by David Rhind, at the cost of £60,000. Its facade is 95 feet in length, and exhibits the finest portico in the city, consisting of six fluted Corinthian pillars 35 feet high.
The office of the Scottish Widows' Fund, formerly that of the Western Bank, is situated on the W. side of St. Andrew's-square. It was erected in 1848 in the Italian style. The British Linen Company Bank, erected in 1852, occupies an admirable site on the E. side of the square, and has a Corinthian facade 60 feet in height. Its interior is arranged with almost regal splendour, the telling-room being 74 feet by 69, lit from the top by a cupola 30 feet in diameter. In the same square are the National and Royal Banks, both spacious buildings.
Besides these private establishments, there are several savings-banks, and about fourteen insurance companies, the principal of which are-the Friendly Insurance office, established in 1720; the Caledonian (fire; Hercules (fire); North British (fire); Edinburgh (life); Scottish Union (sea assurance); Forth Assurance; Insurance Company of Scotland; and Scottish Clergy Widows' Fund, founded by Dr. Webster in 1742; Scottish Equitable (life); and branches of most English offices. The friendly societies, as ministers' widows, sons and daughters of the clergy, medical men, school-masters, booksellers, &c., are too numerous to individualise.
The water companies of Edinburgh date as far back as 1674, when the first reservoir was constructed on the N.E. verge of the castle esplanade, to retain the water brought in pipes from Comiston on the acclivities of the Pentland hills. This was only 5 feet deep, 40 long, by 30 broad, but was considered one of the wonders of Edinburgh, and served to supply the city till 1849, when, the supply of water proving inadequate, its capacity was enlarged to 30 feet deep, 110 long, by 90 broad, containing about 297,000 cubic feet of water, a considerable proportion of which was brought from Crawley, 9 miles from Edinburgh, at the expense of above £200,000.
Two other reservoirs were also subsequently formed, one in the green of Heriot's Hospital, the other in the shotyard of the castle. This latter, constructed in 1850, is designed to supply the garrison of the castle and the houses in the upper part of High-street, which occupy a higher level than the original reservoir. The total supply of the city is now above 522 cubic feet per minute, with an additional supply of 126 cubic feet of burn water.
The premises of the Edinburgh Gas-light company, formed in 1817, occupy a large space in Canongate, and at the S. foot of Calton Hill, where the furnace is situated, the chimney of which rises above 340 feet from the ground. A new company was formed in 1839 called the Edinburgh and Leith Gas company, and has its works at Leith. The new abattoirs, opened in 1852, are situated at the south-western extremity of the city, near Fountain bridge, and extend over an area of 4 acres, approached by a grand Egyptian facade.
Rivalling the civil edifices in number, if not in architectural display, are the ecclesiastical structures, including churches, chapels, and places of worship belonging to the various religious denominations, viz: the Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland, United Presbyterian Synod, Synod of United Original Seceders, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Scottish Episcopal Church, Episcopal chapels, Baptist, Congregationalist, Evangelical Union, Wesleyan Methodist, Wesleyan Reformers, Roman Catholic, Glassite, Catholic Apostolic Church, Society of Friends, Unitarian, Jew's synagogue, Latter-day Saints, and New Jerusalemites.
Edinburgh is divided into 15 parishes, viz: the Tolbooth, High Church, Trinity College, Old Church, Tron Church, New North, St. John's, Wester or New Greyfriars', Easter or Old Greyfriars', and Lady Yester, within the ancient royalty; and St. Andrew's, St. George's, St. Mary's, St. Stephen's, and Greenside, within the extended royalty. The stipends of the ministers of these several parishes are fixed at £600 each, and the seat-rents go to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Five of these churches are collegiate, or have two ministers each.
St. Giles's stands on the N. side of Parliament square. It is an ancient cruciform building 206 feet long by 110 broad, built before 1359 on the site of a still more ancient structure erected by one of the Northumbrian kings in 854. It was made collegiate in 1446, and had thirty-six altars dedicated to the Virgin and different saints. After the Reformation it was partitioned into four churches, and in 1633 was made the cathedral of the brief bishopric of Edinburgh. In 1830 it underwent an entire renovation, under the direction of Mr. Burn, and is now divided into three parts for the parishes of High Church, Old Church, and New North Church, the first being attended by all the civic functionaries in their robes of office, which circumstance causes it to be regarded as the metropolitan church of Scotland, though exercising no ecclesiastical superiority.
Near the middle of the S. side are the tombs of the Regent Moray and of the great Marquis of Montrose; and under a window near the N.E. corner is the monument of Napier of Merchistoun, the inventor of logarithms. It also contains a handsome monument by Steele, erected in 1845 to the memory of 600 of the 78th Highlanders who died by disease in India.
The Victoria Hall is a modern structure, erected in 1844 after designs by Gillespie Graham. It is situated on high ground at the junction of Castle Hill, and the new western approach, and serves for the meeting-ball of the General Assembly, consisting of the 370 divines, which meets in May, under the presidency of the queen's lord high commissioner.
Trinity College church, at the foot of Leith-wynd, was founded in 1462 by Mary of Gueldres, but was taken down in 1848, being in the way of the works of the North British railway.
On the site of the Greyfriars' monastery, near the S. end of George IV.'s bridge, stand the Old and New Grey friars' churches, recently rebuilt after having been consumed by fire in 1845. In the burial-ground are the tombs of George Buchanan, Henderson, the composer of the Assembly's Catechism, Sir G. Mackenzie, A. Ramsay, Dr. Black, R. Adams, the architect, Robertson, Blair, and other eminent men.
Canongate church, built in 1688, has neither tower nor spire, but on the pinnacle of the gable a horned deer's head, surmounted by a cross, alluding to the legend of David I. and the miraculous cross. It contains the tombs of Ferguson the poet, Adam Smith, and Dugald Stewart. The Tron church so named from an ancient weighing beam which stood near its site, is situated at the N. end of South Bridge street. It is an ancient structure, with a spire added by Dicksons in 1828. The Gaelic church, formerly a chapel-of-ease, was erected into a quoad sacra parish in 1850. It is a plain, unpretending building at the corner of Argyle-square.
St. Cuthbert's, or West Kirk, is a huge massive structure with double galleries, rebuilt in 1770 on the site of a very ancient church of the 11th century, situated under the N.W. face of the Castle Rock, at the corner of Prince's-street. It has belonging to it several chapels-of-ease, as Buccleuch, Dean, St. David's, Morningside, Roxburgh, Hope Park, and Lady Glenorchy's. There are, besides, Lady Yester's, rebuilt in 1803; Newington, built in 1823, with a steeple 110 feet high; and St. John's parish church, built in 1838.
Within the extended royalty of the city are St. George's, a massive pile erected in 1814 at the cost of £33,000. It stands on the W. side of Charlotte-square, and has a Grecian portico 112 feet wide, with a large central dome crowned by a cyclostyle, lantern, cupola, and cross. St. Andrew's, built in 1785, is reckoned one of the handsomest churches in Edinburgh, with its elegant octagonal spire rising to the height of 168 feet, and visible from all parts of the New Town. St. Stephen's was erected in 1828 at the cost of £21,000, and has a massive tower 163 feet high, but is situated in a hollow at the W. end of Fettes-row. St. Mary's occupies a commanding position in the centre of Bellevue-crescent. It was built in 1824, and has an elegant tower of three stages, crowned by an open cyclestyle.
Greenside church was built in 1838, and has been subsequently enlarged by the addition of a tower, which was completed in 1851. The Free Church has 31 places of worship, some of them elegant structures, but two only requiring particular notice - the High church, situated at the head of the Mound, and Canongate, or John Knox's church. The former is one of the most prominent buildings in the city, and includes the Free Church college. The joint structure is in the Elizabethan style, with a buttressed and pinnacled tower, erected after designs by Playfair, and was completed in 1850, at the cost of £30,000. The college contains a senate hall, library, in which is a bust of Chalmers by Steele, and a suit of class-rooms, the lectures being confined to natural science, logic, metaphysics, and theology.
John Knox's church, situated at Netherbow in Canongate, immediately E. of Knox's house, from which he used to preach, and where his effigy stands, is a remarkably elegant Gothic structure, recently completed, with richly crocketted pinnacles and a pediment surmounted by a cross. The United Presbyterian edifices, including the Synod Hall, are comparatively uninviting structures, though some of them very commodious.
The Episcopalian edifices display both elegance and richness of architectural design. The three principal are - St. Paul's Episcopal church, in York-place; St. John's, in Prince's-street, erected in 1818 after designs by Burn; and Trinity, at the N.W. end of Dean Bridge, overhanging the romantic village of the Water of Leith. This last is a beautiful Gothic pile erected in 1839 after a design by John Henderson.
The Roman Catholic chapels in Broughton, Cowgate, and Lothian streets are plain Gothic buildings. The former, St. Mary's, contains a magnificent altar-piece by Vandyck, "The Dead Saviour". The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland holds a full meeting annually at Edinburgh in May, as does also the General Assembly of the Free Church.
Edinburgh is also the seat of a bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the residence of a Roman Catholic bishop, the head of a presbytery, and the meeting place of the synods of the various religious denominations mentioned above. Its educational and benevolential establishments are almost as numerous as its churches. Besides the university, medical and art schools above described, there are several first-class classical schools, as, the High School, originally founded as early as the beginning of the 12th century, and placed under the control of the canons of Holyrood. In 1598 it was remodelled, and took the name of Schola Regia Edinburgensis.
In 1777 it was rebuilt on its original site, now occupied by the Infirmary; but as the city extended northwards, its situation in the Old Town was found inconvenient, and the present structure was commenced in 1825 on the S. slope of Calton Hill, which was deemed more convenient for the inhabitants of the city. The edifice, which cost £30,000, and was designed by the late Thomas Hamilton, architect, was completed in 1829. The main building is 270 feet in length, and has a magnificent hexastyle Doric portico in the centre, which is united to the wings by two corridors, the entablatures of which are supported by twelve columns, also of the Doric order. There is ample accommodation for conducting the various branches of study. The library contains about 7,000 volumes, selected by the rector and masters, to which all the pupils have access. The play-ground, a portion of which is roofed over, is spacious, extending to nearly two acres, and commands a picturesque view of the ancient city, and surrounding country.
The Edinburgh Academy, which was established in 1824, and incorporated by royal charter from George IV., is situated to the N.E. of the Royal Circus. It is a handsome building, after a design by Mr. Burn, and cost upwards of £14,000. It is under the superintendence of a board of 16 directors, and is divided into two schools called the classical and modern sides. The Edinburgh Institution was established in 1832, and occupies a large house in Queen-street.
Besides these there are upwards of 150 schools of a public character in Edinburgh, such as the Lancastrian, Bell's, Church of Scotland Training College, Free Church of Scotland Normal Training College, &c., many of which are remarkable either for their commodiousness, for elegance, or for both. These, together with the private schools, which are half as many in number, are attended by 82.4 per cent. of the whole number of children in the Old and New towns, between the ages of five and twelve, the greatest proportion being at the age of nine.
The benevolent and charitable institutions are numerous, comprising several rich foundations, as Heriot's Hospital, for the maintenance and education of 180 boys, the sons of burgesses. This hospital is situated on the summit of the southern ridge of Edinburgh, in a spacious park adjoining the Grass Market, and is esteemed the finest specimen of Gothic architecture designed by Inigo Jones. The building, a quadrangle of 162 feet each way in the exterior, with a central paved court and fountain, was commenced in 1628, and finished in 1650, at the cost of £30,000. The annual income having increased to above £15,000, an Act of Parliament was obtained (6 and 7 William IV., cap. 26) empowering the governors to erect elementary schools within the city for educating, free of all expense, the sons of poor burgesses. There were in 1861 twelve Heriot schools, namely, eight juvenile and four infant schools, attended by upwards of 300 boys and girls.
George Watson's hospital, erected in 1741, at the cost of £5,000, stands at the back of George-square, near Heriot's hospital. It educates and maintains 86 boys, being the sons or grandsons. of merchants, burgesses, or guild-brothers of Edinburgh, with a preference to the Merchant Company. John Watson's institution maintains and educates about 100 destitute children. Stewart's hospital, erected out of, funds left by Daniel Stewart of the Exchequer, who died in 1814, was finished in 1853. It is a handsome building, 230 feet in length, adorned with towers at the angles, and stands near Dean Bridge, overlooking the road to Queensferry. It is designed for the maintenance and education of the children of industrious parents, residing within the city of Edinburgh or suburbs, preference being given to the names of Stewart and MacFarlane.
The Merchant Maiden hospital, founded by the Company of Merchants of Edinburgh and Mary Erskine, stands at the extremity of Archibald-place, facing the Meadows. It was erected in 1816, after a design by Burn, at the cost of £12,250. The edifice is 180 feet long, with a handsome Icnic portico. It at present maintains and educates about 86 girls, being the daughters or granddaughters of merchant-burgesses of Edinburgh, or of ministers of the city or suburbs, or of those who have been governors or benefactors of the hospital.
Donaldson's hospital was founded by James Donaldson, of Broughton Hall, printer, who died at Edinburgh, in October, 1830, bequeathing the greater part of his property, amounting to about £200,000, to trustees for the endowment and erection of a hospital for the maintenance of poor boys and girls, after the plan of the orphan hospital in Edinburgh and John Watson's institution. The building, which occupies a commanding position at the W. end of the city, is a large and beautiful quadrangular structure in the Elizabethan style, from a design by the late W. H. Playfair. It was finished in 1851, and covers a space of 258 feet by 207, containing a court of 176 feet by 164. The hospital can accommodate 300 children, whom it maintains and clothes, but in 1861 contained only 177, of whom 72 (45 boys and 27 girls) are deaf and dumb.
Besides the above, are numerous other foundations, as the Orphan hospital, Trades' Maiden hospital, Cauvin's hospital, at Duddingston, for the maintenance and education of boys, being the sons of respectable but poor teachers and poor but honest farmers, &c.; James Gillespie's hospital and free-school; Fettes's endowment for the maintenance, education, and outfit of young people whose parents have either died or are through misfortune unable to give suitable education to their children: the management of the charity is vested in trustees. Chalmers's hospital, for the sick and hurt, recently erected in Laurieston.
Edinburgh school for blind children. Society for the Industrious Blind; this asylum continues to depend principally for its support on the annual bounty of the citizens, and the sale of goods manufactured by the blind. The number of inmates in 1861 was upwards of 120; nearly one-third of the male members are married, and their families are also maintained by means of the charity. The Edinburgh Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, established in 1810. Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society, instituted in 1835. The Edinburgh Association for Improving the Lodging-houses of the Working Classes, instituted in 1841.
The first house was opened in September, 1841. These establishments, of which, in 1861, there were three belonging to the association, are called "Victoria Lodging-houses", and for the small suns of 3d. per night accommodate the lodger with a comfortable bed, a kitchen, and utensils for cooking and taking his food, and a sitting-room, containing a select library. The other benevolent institutions and clubs, with the religious and missionary societies, of Edinburgh are too numerous for even a bare mention.
Although not a manufacturing town, Edinburgh, has several ancient guilds or trades union, first incorporated by James III. so early as the middle of the 15th century. The Lord Dean of Guild is still an important officer, holding his separate court; and burgess-ship is considered an indispensable qualification for the office of councillor. There are fourteen incorporated trades, which were formerly represented in the town-council, and still form a separate guild, under the title of the "Office-bearers and Deacons of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh". These comprise the goldsmiths, skinners, farriers, hammermen, wrights, masons, tailors, bakers, fleshers, cordiners, websters, waulkers, and bonnet-makers.
The weavers, dyers, and cloth-dressers, &c., form another guild, entitled, "The Convenery of Canongate", and were incorporated by royal charter, Charles I., 1630. The incorporated trades of the barony of Calton form a third body, with separate constitution and officers. The candlemakers and barbers also enjoy, by virtue of ancient charters, the usual privileges of incorporated trades, but were not represented in the convenery or town-council. The Merchants' Company, established by royal charter, 1681, is intimately connected with the guildry, and has the virtual patronage of three important public charities. The last Act of Parliament regulating this society is dated 28th May, 1827, and fixes the entry-money at £63, with privilege to admit into the society "all persons being merchants, burgesses, and guild-brethren, or entitled to be chosen merchant-councillors or magistrates of the city of Edinburgh".
Besides these ancient trades, modern ingenuity has introduced various other manufactures, employing as many if not more hands than the privileged trades, as silk-weaving, stockings, glass, cotton, shawls, golf-balls, chairs, coach-building, hair, iron, brass, jewellery, linen, nails, rope, twiners, and weavers; but the great industry of Edinburgh is connected with the learned professions and literature, including lawyers, clergy, school-teachers, teachers of music, painters, sculptors, authors, publishers, booksellers, engravers, die-sinkers, type-founders, and printers, who together constitute a larger proportion of the population than are engaged in similar pursuits in any other town of the United Kingdom, except London.
The publishing trade alone is not far from being the staple manufacture of the Scotch metropolis, employing six large establishments, entirely devoted to wholesale or number publishing, besides agencies for several others, and thirty firms which combine publishing with retail bookselling. These together bring out many ponderous and standard works, at an enormous expense, besides an unrivalled series of periodicals, including the Edinburgh Review, first started in 1802, North British Review, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, British and Foreign Evangelical Review, Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine, Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, Monthly Medical Journal, Medical and Surgical Journal, Edinburgh Medical Journal, Maophail's Magazine, Chambers' Edinburgh Journal, Scottish Congregational Magazine, News of the Churches, Home and Foreign Record of the Free Church, Missionary Record of the United Presbyterian Church, Scottish Christian Journal, Christian Treasury, Hogg's Instructor, British Mothers' Magazine, the Bulwark, and the Evangelist.
The Edinburgh newspapers are daily, the Evening Courant, and the Caledonian Mercury, which succeeded the Mercurius Scoticus, published first in 1651, and were once edited by Defoe and Ruddiman respectively, the Scotsman, which has the largest circulation, the Daily Review, and the North Briton; twice a week, the Edinburgh Gazette, Advertiser, and Evening Post, and the Scottish Press; weekly, the Edinburgh Guardian, Edinburgh News, North British Advertiser, North British Agriculturist, Northern Standard, Lady's Own Journal, Scottish Railway Gazette, and the Scottish Tribune.
The names illustrious in history and literature connected with Edinburgh are too numerous even to mention, but amongst those born in the city were James I. of England; Archbishop Leighton, Bishop Burnett; Law, the financier, Dr. Pitcairn, Keith, the mathematician; Nesbit, the antiquary; the two Blairs; Dr. Campbell, author of "Lives of the Admirals"; Dalrymple, second Earl of Stair; Dalrymple Lord Hailes; Davies, author of the Life of Garrick; Boswell, author of the Life of Johnson; Dr. Cumming, the antiquary; Robert Ferguson, the poet; Dugald Stewart; Raeburn, the painter; Dr. Allan, the painter; Alison, Sir Walter Scott, Sir D. Baird, Sir C. Bell; P. Nasmyth, the painter; T. Drummond, and Lord Brougham, besides numerous other worthies.
In the vicinity of Edinburgh are several interesting and pleasant spots, as Bruntsfield Links, where golf is played; Craigmillar Castle, Merchiston, Craigcrook, and the caves of Hawthornden. Edinburgh is divided into five districts for the registration of births, deaths, and marriages, viz. St. George's, St. Andrew's, Canongate, St. Giles's, and Newington. The markets are both numerous and well supplied, the grand market day both for corn and cattle being Wednesday; the former held in the spacious corn-market built in the Grass Market, and the latter in the triangular space between Westport, Lady Lawson's-wynd, and Laurieston-place. Town markets are also held daily in the large area under the North Bridge, as also at West Nicholson street, Stockbridge, and Dublin-street. Races take place in August, on an oval course of little more than 1¼ mile, at Musselburgh, 6 miles from Edinburgh."
An 1868 Gazetteer description of the following places in Edinburgh is to be found on a supplementary page.
- Canon Mills
- Easter Portsburgh
- Grey Friars
- Little France
- Port Hopetoun
- Trinity College Church
- Tron Church
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
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