Edinburgh City Streets
Edinburgh City Streets “The Old Town”
The original Edinburgh City was defined by the city wall which started at Edinburgh Castle and enclosed the then city, finishing at the Trinity College Church at the side of the Nor Loch at the foot of Calton Hill below the old city jail wall. The wall route and inside the wall was Old Edinburgh. The Flodden Wall was built in the early 1500s after the English massacred the Scots at the Battle of Flodden in Northumberland. It was a defence against the expected English army invading Edinburgh. (THE ROUTE) From the Castle Wall down to Granny Green Steps in Johnston Terrace, down the steps to The Grassmarket follow the paving stones across to, The Vennel. Go up the Vennel steps and follow the wall where it joins the Telfer Wall in Heriot Place. When you come to the main road Lauriston Place turn left and pass Heriot’s School on your left and a part of the Telfer Wall Continue left into Forrest Road and before , Greyfriars Kirkyard, you will see a Plaque on the wall: Flodden Wall at Bristo Gate. The wall from this point is no longer there. Continue round to your left and Greyfriars Kirkyard where parts of the Flodden Wall an Telfer Wall are still standing in the graveyard. To complete the journey around the wall turn right out of Greyfriars Kirk and cross the road. Continue along Bristo place and turn left to Lothian Street and continue on to the foot of South College Street. On your left is Edinburgh University Old College. Take a look inside the Quadrangle where more information about the University and the area known as Kirk O Fields where Lord Darnley, Mary Queen of Scots’ husband was killed and many great people attended the University. From the University cross the main road to Drummond Street. On the left you can see the original Royal Infirmary Gates and the continuation of the Flodden Wall. Turn left into the Pleasance where the wall continues to the foot of the hill. This is the final part of the wall but if you cross the road and continue to the top of St Mary’s Street then cross the Royal Mile where the Netherbow Gate stood shown by the Brass Cobbles in the road. In Jeffery Street look over the wall you can see where the Waverley Train Station is now. Ahead the Calton Hill and the old Calton Jail Wall and to the left the North Bridge. The Trinity Church was below the Jail Wall but is no longer there. The Trinity Apse now stands in Chalmer’s Close (it was moved brick by brick before the station was built). At the foot Jeffrey Street, on your left next to the Hotel, here the Train Station stands now was a loch that was a defence against invaders. The loch covered the area from beneath the North Bridge around the castle to the west end of Princes Street at St Cuthbert’s R.C. You can enter the church yard by King Stable Road or Princes Street Gardens.
The naming of the Edinburgh City Streets “The New Town”
In 1759 King George III had a new town built as an extension of Edinburgh City, as the over population of the old town streets had become unlivable. A bridge was built as an access to where the new town would be built (North Bridge). Where the area of the Nor Loch once covered, now Waverley Rail Station and Princes Street Gardens stand. When the plans for the new town were agreed the King named the streets with the main street after himself (George Street). The other streets of the new town were named after as follows: Queen Street, named after his wife the Queen: St. Giles Street after the city’s patron saint, St. Giles: St. Andrew Square after the patron saint of Scotland and George Square after the patron saint of England. The smaller street between George Street and Queen Street is named Thistle Street (Scotland’s national emblem) The street between George Street and St. Giles Street named Rose Street (England’s national emblem). King George, afterconsideration, rejected the name St. Giles Street as St Giles being the patron saint of lepers and also the name of a slum area on the edge of the City of London. It was renamed Princes Street after his sons, the three Princes. The name of St. George Square was also changed to Charlotte Square after his wife Charlotte the Queen as there was already a George Square just outside the old town. Thistle Street was split into three separate street names, from the west end. It became Young Street then Hill Street after the architects who built the new town with the final part remaining Thistle Street now half the length of Rose Street. The three streets running across the main street completing the new town area, Castle Street named for the view of the castle, Frederick Street after the king’s father Frederick and Hanover Street was after the Royal house of Hanover. The main access to the new town was by the North Bridge. The Nor Loch was drained and the debris from the excavations of the new town were piled up in the middle of the now dry bed of the loch and formed the mound the only other access from the old town to the new town. The gardens were then formed on both sides of the mound in the dry bed where the loch had been at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, running the length of Princes Street. The first buildings in the New Town to be built were in Thistle Court, at the east end of Thistle Street in 1767, this building can still be seen today.