Edinburgh City Guard House Royal Mile Edinburgh
Edinburgh City Guard House and holding cell was demolished in 1817 when the City Guard was disband. Edinburgh City Guard were the forerunner to the police force. Edinburgh City Guard was originally founded in 1048 and then abandoned and reformed in 1679 with 40 men. The purpose of the city guard was to retain order in the Edinburgh city streets. Most that ended up in the guard House would then be taken to the Tolbooth for sentencing. The Tolbooth was situated in the High Street near to St Giles and the Lawnmarket Gallows. The position of the Edinburgh City Guards House is outlined in brass cobbles opposite Stevenslaw Close in the High street the last remaining close on the upper south side. This was not the first position of the Guard House as it had be re-situated on many occasions, with it gaining the nickname of the “The Long Black Snail”. The buildings to the right of the Tron Kirk pictured, one of which was the Black Turnpike, where Mary Queen of Scots was held after her arrest at Carberry. The buildings next to the Tron Kirk were demolished to make way for Blair Street, This was to make a direct link with the Cowgate to the High Street and Hunter Square, both named after the Lord Provost of Edinburgh Sir James Hunter Blair. This was when the South Bridge was being built to give direct access to the south of Edinburgh and Lady Nicholson’s lands. The nickname for Edinburgh was “Old Reekie” due to the amount of smoke from the chimney stacks as you can see from the image below, smoke bellowing from each chimney.
Edinburgh City Guard House High Street Edinburgh
City Guard House Cobbles Edinburgh City Guard