Edinburgh New Town

Edinburgh New Town when the plans were agreed the North bridge was built to access the area where the Edinburgh new town was to be built. This was the only access between the old and new town as the Nor Loch covered the area from east to west on the north of the castle and old town. Edinburgh New Town was originally 3 main streets with 2 Squares one in the East and One in the west. With 4 streets crossing vertically from Princes Street to Queen Street. A map of the New Town area can be seen on Edinburgh New Town Map 

North Bridge access to Edinburgh New Town

         The first North Bridge was erected in 1763, it was then widened in 1876 and replaced in 1896 – 1897 

   Edinburgh New Town Old North Bridge Plaque 

The new North Bridge foundation stone was laid on the 25 May 1896 and the new bridge opened in Sept 1897.

Edinburgh New Town North Bridge Foundation Stone Plaque

The North Bridge was refurbished in 1990.

Edinburgh New Town North Bridge Refurbishment 1990 Naming Edinburgh New Town Streets of Edinburgh

In 1759 King George III had a new town built as an extension of Edinburgh, 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.  This is still in use today, the North Bridge. Where the area of the Nor Loch once covered before being drained, now Waverley Rail Station (originally Canal Street 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 town were named as follows: Queen Street, named after his wife the Queen, St. Giles Street after the city’s patron saint, St. Giles, Saint Andrew Square after the Patron Saint of Scotland and George Square after the Patron Saint of England. Later the smaller street between George Street and Queen Street was named Thistle Street after Scotland’s national emblem. The smaller street between George Street and St. Giles Street was named Rose Street after England’s national emblem. King George, after some consideration, decided to rename 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. King George renamed it Princes Street after his two sons, George, later to become George IV and the Duke of York. The name of 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 city wall. Thistle Street was also renamed, when 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 (George 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 marshland was left Business men trying to cross from the New town to old started laying down stones and rubble to make pathways across the marshland and then they started taking wheelbarrows of earth and rubble from the new town excavations until finally the council sculptured a pathway up the hill with tons of earth and planted grass at the sides of the mound  to finish the project which linked the old and new town of Edinburgh and they called it the Earthen Mound. 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 which had protected the old town from invasion from any enemies. The Nor Loch ran from what is now Lothian Road to under the North Bridge. The first buildings in the New Town to be built were in Rose Court, now Thistle Court, at the east end of Thistle Street in 1767. This building can still be seen today.  As the new town grew and many modern inventions were coming to the front Edinburgh street lighting was modernised with gas being used in 1823.     

Edinburgh Old and New Town things to see

Link to Edinburgh Outer Areas

Link to All About Edinburgh