High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh is the largest part of the Royal Mile and was the main part of Edinburgh’ s old town. The High Street is in two parts, the upper part starts at St Giles Street where the Lawnmarket ends, and finishes at the crossroads where the Tron Kirk stands. The road that splits the two parts of the High Street is in fact two bridges the North Bridge, which was built to give access to the new town and the south bridge, to give access to the south side of Edinburgh which was under development.

The High Street was the most populated part of Edinburgh, with tenement buildings up to 11 stories high. On November 15th 1824 a tenement of 11 stories caught alight and was the beginning of the worst fire in the history of Edinburgh. Starting at around 10 pm that evening the fire spread from the tenement in Assembly Close to buildings in Old Fishmarket close, to the West and as far as the Tron Kirk in the east, and south along the Cowgate.The fire was finally extinguished the next morning 12 hours from when it had started, but it was not the end as another fire started at 10 that evening which destroyed what was left on the south side of the High Street, all but St Giles and the Parliament buildings were saved. Over four hundred families were left homeless.

Upper part of High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Upper north side 

The close’s of the Upper north side of the High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh from the St Giles Street are; Byre’s Close, Advocate’s Close, Roxburgh Close and Court, Warriston Close, Writer’s Court, Mary King’s Close, (Allan’s Close and Craig’s Close are shown by wall plaques), Anchor Close, Geddes’s Entry, North Foulis’ Close, Old Stamp Office Close, Lyon’s Close, Jackson’s Close, Fleshmarket Close and Cockburn Street.

  Byre's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Advocate's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Roxburgh's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Warriston's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Writer's Court High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Mary King's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Allan's Close Plaque High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Craig's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Anchor's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Geddes' Entry High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh North Foulis' Close High street Edinburgh Old Stamp Office Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Lyon's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Jackson's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Fleshmarket Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Upper south side 

Crossing over to the north side which was burnt in the fire of 1828 Stevenlaw’s Close, New Advocate’s Close, Bell’s Wynd, Burnet’s Close, Covenant Close, Old Assembly Close, Borthwick’s Close and Old Fish Market Close.    

 Fleshmarket Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh New Assembly Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Bell's Wynd High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Burnet's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Covenant Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Old Assembly Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Borthwick's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Old Fishmarket Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Barrie's Close | Steil's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Lower part of High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

We now cross over the Bridges to the Lower part of the High Street which finishes at the crossroads where the Nether Bow Port (old city wall gate) stood. First we go dow

Lower north side (Going Down)

Carrubber’s Close, Bishop’s Close, North Grey’s Close, Morrison’s Close, Bailie Fyfe’s Close, Paisley Close, Chalmer’s Close, Monteith’s Close, Trunk’s Close Sandemans House, Hope’s Court, Baron Maule’s Close

 Carrubber's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Bishop's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Morrison's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh
Bailie Fyfe's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Paisley Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Chalmer's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Monteith's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Trunk's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Hope's Court High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Baron Maule's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Nether Bow Port (Gate)

Nether Bow Port The Gate that stood at the entrance to Edinburgh

Lower south side  (Going Up)

World’s End Close, Tweeddale Court, Fountain Close, Hyndford’s Close, South Grey’s Close, Toddrick’s Wynd, Blackfriar’s Street, Melrose Close, Cant’s Close Dickson’s Close, Niddry Street.

 World's End Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Tweeddale Court High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Fountain Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Hyndford's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh South Gray's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Toddrick's Wynd High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Melrose Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Cant's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Dickson's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

HIGH STREET ROYAL MILE EDINBURGH 

The Upper High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Upper High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Upper High Street Royal Mile Tron Kirk in Distance  

Things to see in the High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh. 

The First is St Giles Cathedral and Parliament Square. Then on the north side is Real Mary King’s Close and the City Chambers. Take a walk down all the close’s as there are many things of interest that can be seen.   

The Duke of Buccleuch High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The statue of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott (1806 – 1884) the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and the 7th Duke of Queensberry was erected in West Parliament Square Edinburgh High Street in 1888.

The Duke of Buccleuch was born in Dalkeith House Midlothian and was a very wealthy land baron. He became the Duke on the death of his father at the age of 13. He was knighted in 1835 and served in Prime Minister Peel’s government in the 1840s. There is still a Duke of Buccleuch to this day, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch and the 12th Duke of Queensbury lives in Drumlanrig Castle. He is also the Chief of Clan Scott. Drumlanrig Castle is home to the world renowned Buccleuch Art collection. The Castle and Estate can be found south of Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire off the A76.  

The Dukes of Buccleuch that have followed; 

William Henry Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch and 8th Duke of Queensberry, KG KT PC JP DL (9 September 1831 – 5 November 1914)

John Charles Montagu Douglas Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch and 9th Duke of Queensberry KT GCVO (30 March 1864 – 19 October 1935)

Walter John Montagu Douglas Scott, 8th Duke of Buccleuch and 10th Duke of Queensberry, KT GCVO TD PC (30 December 1894 – 4 October 1973)

Walter Francis John Montagu Douglas Scott (9th Duke of Buccleuch and 11th Duke of Queensberry), landowner and politician, born September 28 1923; died September 4 2007.

Present Duke of Buccleuch;

Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch. Richard Walter John Montagu Douglas Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry, KBE DL FSA FRSE (born 14 February 1954)

Statue of the 5th Duke of Buccleuch in West Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

ST GILES CATHEDRAL HIGH STREET ROYAL MILE EDINBURGH

There are records that show a parish church being in Edinburgh in 854 A.D. The parish church of Edinburgh was formally dedicated by the bishop of St Andrews on 6 October 1243. The parish church of Edinburgh was subsequently deconsecrated and named in honour of the patron saint of Edinburgh, St Giles. St Giles a Greek Holy man who settled in the south of France in the 7th century and was said to be associated with the early Frankish Kings, in particular Charles Martel (688–741). St Giles is seen in the carving above the west door of St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh (pictured below). St Giles is said to have stopped a hunter’s arrow with his hand and saved a deer. There are many stories of St Giles and his miracles throughout history. St Giles later became the patron saint of both Edinburgh and the Cathedral now known as St Giles Cathedral. St Giles died on the 1st September 721 A.D

St Giles Cathedral

 West Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

                           St Giles East Door               St Giles West Door

  St Giles Cathedral East Door Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh This was the original front entrance.  St Giles Cathedral West Door West Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The west door of St Giles Cathedral was originally the back door, but over time with more space in West Parliament Square for the people to congregate before and after services the  west door was adopted as the main entrance. Above the door there are a number of statues and in the centre a carved stone of St Giles with a Roe that he had saved from a lethal arrow with his hand. The many statues are of Kings and clergymen of St Giles Cathedral. The East door previously the front entrance has one of the only statues of Saint Andrew in Scotland.

 

KING DAVID I. (centre of picture)

David was born in 1084, he spent many years in the court of Henry I, which gave him a good education. David became King of Scotland in 1124 on the death of his brother. He established the feudal system in Scotland. He also introduced many novel ideas such as silver coinage and promoting education. He also carried on his brother’s quest to build many Abbeys which included Holyrood Abbey and Inchcolm Abbey. David died peacefully in Carlisle in 1153 at the age of 69 and is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. During his reign he founded The Abbey of Holyrood in 1128 and built the Chapel in Edinburgh Castle a memorial to his mother Queen Margaret who died in 1093. Later becoming Saint Margaret in 1250.

The three brothers that shaped Scotland Alexander I, David I and Alexander III the sons of Malcolm III and Margaret later to be Saint Margaret.

KING ALEXANDER III   (right of picture)

Alexander was born on the 4 September 1241. He was King at the age of 7 from 1249. At 21 he formally approached the Norwegian King Haakon for the Western Isles which Haakon rejected. In 1263 King Haakon died and his successor agreed to the Treaty of Perth by which he gave the Isle of Man and the Western Isles to Scotland in return for a large sum of money. Norway kept control of Orkney and Shetland. Alexander died when he fell from his horse in Kinghorn in Fife on 18 March 1286. Travelling on his way from Edinburgh to visit his Queen on her birthday, which was the next day. In 1886, a monument to Alexander III was erected at the approximate location of his death in Kinghorn. Alexander was buried in Dunfermline Abbey in 1286.                  

KING ALEXANDER I. (left of picture)

Alexander I was born in 1078 and was the eldest brother of three David I and Alexander III his brothers. Alexander I established an Augustinian priory at Scone sometime between 1114 and 1122. In 1123 Alexander I on a journey had to shelter on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth during a storm, he promised to build a monastery in thanks for being saved from the storm but died in 1124 before being able to keep his promise. His brother David I kept his brothers promise and invited Augustinian canons to establish a priory on the island and it later became an Abbey in 1235. Alexander I died in Stirling on the 23 April 1124 and is buried in Dunfermline Abbey.

Statues of Three Kings above the door of St Giles Cathedral High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

ROBERT THE BRUCE (King Robert I)   (Left of picture)

Robert I, known as Robert the Bruce, became King of Scots on 25 March 1306. At the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, he led a Scottish army and defeated the English army lead by Edward II. To confirm an independent Scottish monarchy in 1320 a letter was sent to Pope John XXII declaring that Robert the Bruce was their rightful monarch. This letter was the ‘Declaration of Arbroath’ and it asserted the antiquity of the Scottish people and their monarchy. In 1324 Robert the Bruce received papal recognition as king of an independent Scotland. Robert died on 7 June 1329. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey.

KING JAMES I   (centre of picture)

James I became King on the death of his father in 1406 but he was not crowned at Scone Palace until 1423. The reason for the 17 years’ delay in his being crowned was that he was imprisoned in London. While in prison his uncle Robert of Albany ruled Scotland and was happy for James to remain in prison hoping that one day he or his son Murdoch would become king. When James was released at age 30 he took over as king. He then began restoring the monarchy and forfeited the lands of the rebellious nobles including the Dukes of Albany. He was a strong leader and introduced social and economic legislation and founded the Scottish Court of Session. In 1437 James was killed in a Dominican Monastery in Perth.

KING JAMES VI of SCOTLAND AND I OF ENGLAND (Right of picture)

James son of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Darnley, was born in Edinburgh Castle in 1566. James became the youngest King of Scotland at the age of thirteen months. In 1603, he also became king of England and Ireland. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years. In 1605 a small group of Catholics, led by a man called Robert Catesby, devised a scheme to kill James and as many members of Parliament as possible. Catesby’s plan involved blowing up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November as in the Guy Fawkes rhyme, “Remember Remember the 5th of November gunpowder treason and plot”, Catesby being Guy Fawkes. The 5th of November was chosen because James was due to open Parliament on that day. At 57 years and 246 days, his reign in Scotland was the longest of any previous King. James died in 1625 at the age of 58 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Statues of Three Kings above the door of St Giles Cathedral High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

BISHOP WILLIAM FORBES. (Left of picture)

Bishop William Forbes In 1634 William Forbes became the first bishop of Edinburgh, with St Giles as his Cathedral. Bishop Forbes Died on the 12 April 1634 shortly after becoming the first bishop of Edinburgh. Bishop William Forbes is buried in St Giles Cathedral.

ALEXANDER HENDERSON (right of picture)

Alexander Henderson a Presbyterian minister moved from his parish in Leuchars, St Andrews to become the minister of the High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh. When King Charles visited Scotland in 1641 Alexander Henderson was appointed Dean of the Chapel Royal at Holyrood. He was also instrumental in the writing of the National Covenant and became the Moderator of the general assembly on more than one occasion. He died in Edinburgh in 1646 and is buried in Greyfriar’s Churchyard Edinburgh. 

Statues above St Giles Cathedral Door High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

GAVIN DOUGLAS   (Left of picture)

Gavin Douglas was born in 1474 at Tantallon Castle, Dunbar East Lothian. Gavin Douglas was a Scottish Bishop, royal court poet, courtier and translator. Gavin Douglas was appointed provost of St. Giles Church, Edinburgh, around 1501 and is best known for his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into Scots, the English language of the lowlands of Scotland. He was made bishop of Dunkeld in 1516 and died in London in 1522.

JOHN KNOX   (Right of picture)

John Knox was born in the Haddington area of East Lothian in approximately 1514. He was appointed minister of the Church of St. Giles in 1560.  John Knox was married twice and his second marriage in 1564 was not looked upon favourably because John Knox was 50 and his new wife was only 17. He was considered to be the greatest Reformer in the history of Scotland. Knox died on 24 November 1572 in Edinburgh, his epitaph: “Here lyeth a man who in his life never feared the face of man, who hath been often threatened with dagger, but yet hath ended his dayes in peace and honour.”

Statues above St Giles Cathedral Door High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

SAINT GILES

Saint Giles was a Greek holy man who settled in the south of France in the 7th century and was said to be associated with the early Frankish Kings, in particular Charles Martel (688–741).

Saint Giles was born with the name Aegidius circa 6th century and died of natural causes in 541 A.D. In the 7th century the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Gilles was founded in his honour. Saint Giles is the patron saint of Beggars, Disabled, and lepers. He spent his life as a hermit living in a cave in the Rhone. Saint Giles’s Memorial Day is the 1st of September.

St Giles is seen in the carving above the west door of St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh (pictured below). St Giles is said to have stopped a hunter’s arrow with his hand and saved a deer. There are many stories of St Giles and his miracles throughout history. St Giles later became the patron saint of both Edinburgh and the Cathedral now known as St Giles Cathedral. 

Saint Giles Above the door of St Giles Cathedral High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

SAINT ANDREW (above the east door)

When visiting St Giles Cathedral take a walk round the exterior and see the many carvings. High above the east door of St Giles Cathedral stands a carved statue of St Andrew holding two fish. Below the statue an angel holds a scroll with his name carved on it and above two angels hold a shield with the cross of St Andrew. You will also see a number of other carvings above and around the doorway which dates from the late 1380s. You will find shields with the crosses of St George and St Andrew, and decoration of Thistles, Roses and Fleur de Lis. Also shields with coats of arms that include James VII and Queen Anne.

Saint Andrew on top of St Giles Cathedral East DoorSaint Giles Above the door of St Giles Cathedral High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Heart of Midlothian Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic built into the pavement next to St Giles on the High Street. Together with brass markers set into the pavement, it records the position of the 15th-century Old Tolbooth demolished in 1817, which was the administrative centre of the town, the prison and one of several sites of public execution. Some people spit on the heart. Although it is now said to be done for good luck, it was originally done as a sign of disdain for the former prison. 

Heart of Midlothian Edinburgh Tolbooth High Street Royal Mile

The brass cobbles mark where the Tolbooth stood. 

First Tolbooth in Edinburgh was circa 1368 records show the first time the term Tolbooth (Tolbuith) was used was circa 1450. A Tolbooth was a municipal building where all matters of the town was dealt with.  The Old Tolbooth was demolished in 1817 and the great door was taken to Abbottsford by Sir Walter Scott.

Old Tolbooth High Street Brass Cobbles Royal Mile

John Knox Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

The small stone above the number 23 in a council parking space marks the position of John Knox grave, in the once graveyard of St Giles Cathedral. (Now a council car park). John Knox was a very important part of the history of the church in Scotland and was behind the Government in 1560 severing contact with the Pope and catholic faith. He was the head of the Scottish reformation and from 1559 till his death in 1572 was the minister of the High Kirk of St Giles, in Edinburgh. The Statue of John Knox can be seen in the quadrangle in the New Library on Mound Place. 

John Knox's Grave High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

King Charles II (May 1630 –Feb 1685) Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

King Charles II Statue dressed as a Roman Emperor on horseback is the oldest lead cast statue in Great Britain. The statue of King Charles II stands in Parliament Square behind St Giles Cathedral and was first erected in 1685. Charles was born on May 29th 1630 at St. James’s Palace in London nicknamed “The Merry Monarch” he became king of Great Britain and Ireland in 1660 till his death 1685. Charles II was proclaimed king of Scotland by the Scots in 1649.  He was crowned both in Westminster Abbey in 1661 and in Scone Perthshire in 1651.

 Charles II Statue High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Charles II Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

James Braidwood Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

James Braidwood 1800 – 1861 is known as the father of the British Fire Service, James Braidwood was born in Edinburgh and founded the world’s first municipal fire service in Edinburgh in 1824. A statue of James Braidwood can be seen in Parliament Square and is dedicated to his memory.  He was a pioneer of the scientific approach to fire-fighting, an approach that has saved lives all over the world.

James Braidwood 1800 – 1861 Father of the British Fire Service

This statue is dedicated to the memory of James Braidwood, a pioneer of the scientific approach to fire-fighting. It also recognises the courage and sacrifice of fire-fighters, not only in Lothian & Borders Fire and Rescue Service, but all over the world. 

In 1824 Edinburgh suffered two disastrous fires which destroyed much of the old city. As a result the city council decided to create the world’s first municipal Fir Brigade and  James Braidwood was appointed to take command. Quickly establishing an effective service, he developed new techniques, many of which are still used today. In 1832 he left his native Edinburgh to establish London’s first full-time Fire Brigade. Always to the front of the action He died Fighting in London’s Tooley Street in 1861. 

 James Braidwood Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  James Braidwood's Edinburgh Fire Engine

Edinburgh Mercat Cross

The Mercat Cross was first mentioned in 1365 when the cross stood in the middle of the High Street down from St Giles Cathedral. In 1885 the cross was placed on a new octagonal drum substructure at its current location. The use of a Mercat Cross in Scotland was for important civic announcements. In Edinburgh government proclamations that affected all of Scotland were also publicly read at the cross, for example, announcements concerning successions to the monarchy and the calling to parliament. Which are still announced to this day from the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. The only Mercat Cross that remains in its original form and position can be found in Prestonpans East Lothian. The Unicorn is the ancient emblem of Scotland and stands at the top of the Mercat Cross.

 Edinburgh Mercat Cross High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Unicorn at top of Edinburgh Mercat Cross Edinburgh Mercat Cross High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Mercat Cross Cobbles Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

The location of the Edinburgh Mercat Cross between 1617 and 1756 can be seen in an octagonal arrangement of cobble stones on the pavement outside the entrance to Old Fishmarket Close in the High street Edinburgh. This was the second position in which the Mercat Cross had stood, the first being in the centre of the road further down the High Street.

High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Mercat Cross Cobbles

 

Edinburgh Mercat Cross Door

The door that can be seen on the Mercat Cross is the entrance to the steps that take you to the platform that is surrounded by a parapet where the announcements are made. Above the door of the Cross there is a Latin inscription which was written by William Gladstone.

   
  High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Mercat Cross Door  High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Mercat Cross Door

Edinburgh Mercat Cross and Medallions Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Medallions that are around the Edinburgh Mercat Cross are not the originals. The original medallions can be seen in Sir Walter Scott’s House in Melrose.  Abbotsford House where Walter Scott lived and created master pieces.  The Medallions are of the Coat of Arms of; The Canongate, Edinburgh, Leith, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and England.

 Canongate Coat of Arms Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Edinburgh Coat of Arms Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Leith Coat of Arms Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 University of Edinburgh Coat of Arms Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Scottish Coat of Arms Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Irish Coat of Arms Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Royal Coat of Arms of Britain Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Royal Coat of Arms of England Mercat Cross Medallions High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Adam Smith Statue Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

Adam Smith’s 1723 – 1790 statue stands beside the Mercat Cross in the High Street, Royal Mile Edinburgh. 

Adam Smith lived in Panmure House in Lochend Close in the Canongate and is buried in the Canongate Kirk Graveyard, behind the Canongate Kirk. Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. He was one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment.  In 1776 The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Smith is cited as the father of modern economics. In 2009 Adam Smith was named among the “Greatest Scots” of all time, in a vote run by Scottish television.

  Adam Smith's Statue High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Adam Smith Plaque on Statue High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

High Street Wellhead Royal Mile Edinburgh

The High Street Wellhead can be found up from the Tron Kirk in the High Street Edinburgh. The High Street Well Head is where the people of Edinburgh would collect their water as the only water came from the reservoir at Castlehill and was piped to the cisterns (well heads) one in the Lawnmarket, two in the High Street and one in the Grassmarket then later one in the Canongate. 

High Street Wellhead with Happy Face High Street Royal Mile EdinburghHigh Street Wellhead with Sad Face High Street Royal Mile EdinburghHIGH STREET WELLHEAD PLAQUE HIGH STREET ROYAL MILE

Edinburgh City Chambers (Exchange Building)

The foundation stone was laid in September 1753 by the Grand Master of the Scottish masons George Drummond. The New Royal Exchange was completed in 1761.  Designed by John Adam. In 1811 it became the City Chambers when the Town Council moved here from the Tolbooth.  The Edinburgh Council Chambers was extended in 1904 and 1934 it has served as the administrative centre for Edinburgh Corporation, since 1975 for the Council of the City of Edinburgh

 City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Plaque

The inscription on the bronze plaque reads; THE CITY CHAMBERS –  FORMERLY – THE ROYAL EXCHANGE – DESIGNED BY JOHN ADAM THE ELDEST OF THE ADAM BROTHERS. – THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED 1753 – 1761 – AS AN EXCHANGE AND CUSTOMS HOUSE – IN 1811 IT BECAME THE CITY CHAMBERS – WHEN THE TOWN COUNCIL MOVED HERE FROM THE TOLBOOTH. – EXTENDED IN 1904 AND 1924 IT SERVED AS – THE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE FOR EDINBURGH CORPORATION – AND SINCE 1978 FOR THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EDINBURGH –  PRESENTED IN 1983 BY THE OLD EDINBURGH CLUB FOUNDED IN THE OLD COUNCIL CHAMBERS 29 JANUARY 1908 – Lord Provost George Drummond, laid the foundation-stone in September 1753.

 

The High Constables of Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Police Force, in the year 1611 the privy council of King James VI ordered the Burgh to appoint constables to impose law and order on the streets of Edinburgh. This was taken over by a regular police force in Edinburgh in 1805.

High Constabulary Edinburgh Plaque High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Hugh Miller 1802 – 1856 Plaque Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

Geologist Naturalist and Folklorist. There is a bust of Hugh Miller in the Hall of Heroes at the Wallace Monument in Stirling. Hugh Miller was editor of Witness, an evangelical newspaper established in 1840 by the Scottish geologist and writer. He committed suicide in December 1856. A shocked Western world mourned him, and his funeral procession was among the largest in the memory of Edinburgh residents. He lived in the seaside area of Portobello.

Hugh Miller Plaque High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Hollywood Style Stars Walk

City Chambers High Street Edinburgh Golden HandsPrinted on the paving stones of the City Chambers quadrangle you can see the golden hands of famous people awarded by Edinburgh, such as Author J.K. Rowling Olympic champion cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, Artist Richard Demarco, Author Ian Rankin, Singer Annie Lennox, Scientist Professor Peter Higgs, George Kerr CBE Judo 10th Dan, Dame Elizabeth Blackadder Painter, 46664 Concert Nelson Mandela speech. Tom Gilzean icon of the Royal Mile still raising funds for charity now in his 90s, Ken Buchanan Boxer, Undisputed World Lightweight Champion.

ken Buchanan Boxer                                        Sir Tom Farmer Businessman                             2016 Golden Hand's Ken Buchanan City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands   Golden Hands Sir Tom Farmer City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  

Annie Lennox Singer                                        J K Rowling Author 

Golden Hands Annie Lennox City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  J K Rowling author of Harry Potter

                     Steven age 14 living with aids              Tom Gilzean Edinburgh Icon               Professor Peter Higgs       George Kerr 10th Dan Judo

 Golden Hands Steven Age 14 LIVING WITH AIDS City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  Golden Hands Tom Gilzean City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  PROFESSOR PETER HIGGS Golden Hands City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  George Kerr 10th Dan Judo Golden Hands City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands 

 Richard Demarco Artist Dame  Elizabeth Blackadder Painter       Nelson Mandela Concert            Ian Rankin writer             Sir Chris Hoy Olympic Cyclist

 RICHARD DEMARCO City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  DAME ELIZABETH BLACKADDER City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  Nelson Mandela 46664 Concert City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  Ian Rankin writer City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands  SIR CHRIS HOY Olympian City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh Golden Hands

 

The Black Turnpike.  

Mary Queen of Scots Last Night in Edinburgh 1567. 

The Black Turnpike, also known as the ‘Auld Bishop of Dunkeld’s lodging’ was built in 1461 on the south side of  the High Street immediately west of where the Tron Kirk now stands. It was demolished in 1788 to make way for Hunter Square and Blair Street. The plaque can be seen on the wall of the City Chambers.The inscription reads “On this site stood the lodging of Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar (known as the Black Turnpike) the lord provost of the city of Edinburgh 1566 – 1567 in which lodging Mary Queen of Scotland after her surrender to the confederate lords at Carberry Hill was imprisoned overnight in Edinburgh 15 June 1567 in a stone chamber 13-foot square and 8-foot high. On the following evening she was conveyed to Holyrood and thereafter to Loch Leven Castle as a state prisoner. After 19 years of captivity, Mary was tried and condemned to death in October 1586, ending only with her execution at Fotheringhay on 8 February 1587”. To see more about Mary Queen of Scots visit Jedburgh where you can walk round where she once lived. With many interesting artefacts on display. 

The Black Turnpike High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Alexander the Great with his Horse Bucephalus

City Chambers Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

The statue that stands in Edinburgh City Chambers quadrangle is of Alexander the Great and his horse Bucephalus. The statue was cast in Bronze in 1883. The wondrous horse Bucephalus the horse that Alexander the Great rode for thousands of miles and through many battles to create his mighty empire. Both Horse Bucephalus and owner Alexander the Great tower over the square of Edinburgh City Chambers on the High Street in the Royal Mile.

Alexander & Bucephalus City Chambers High Street Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh War Memorial

The memorial in front of the City Chambers building in the High Street Royal Mile. The stone of remembrance is to commemorate the people of Edinburgh who lost their lives in the 1st and 2nd World Wars It was unveiled on Armistice Day 1927 by Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester son of King George V.

War Memorial City Chambers High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Guard House

Edinburgh City (Town) Guard was constituted by the Edinburgh Town Council in 1648 however an armed guard was not in place until 1679. The City Guard House was situated in the High street across from Stevenslaw Close. The Guard House was demolished in 1817 after the disbandment of the guard in the same year. In the cobbles on the high street is the outline of the old Guards House opposite Stevenslaw Close. 

Edinburgh City Guard House High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Cobbles show the outline of where the the old guard House stood in the High Street prior to 1817
Edinburgh Old City Guard House High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Hunter Square Royal Mile Edinburgh, Sir Chris Hoy Gold Mail Box

Sir Chris Hoy MBE, won his first Olympic gold medal in 2004. He won 3 Olympic gold medals in Beijing and was knighted by the queen in 2009. In the London Olympics of 2012 all British gold medal winners also received a post box painted gold in their home city/town. Sir Chris Hoy won 2 gold medals and there are 2 post boxes in Edinburgh one in Hunter Square of the Royal Mile and the other in Hanover Street across from the Art Galleries at the foot of The Mound. Sir Chris Hoy is Scotland’s most successful Olympian. Sir Chris Hoy was educated at George Watson and Edinburgh University. With 6 Olympic gold medals and 11 world championships he is most definitely a world sports superstar.

Hunter Square Sir Chris Hoy Golden Post Box

The Tron Kirk High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Looking from the North Bridge and down the High Street during the Edinburgh Festival in August with the Tron Kirk in the distance. The Tron kirk was founded by King Charles I as the congregation at St Giles require a church due to St Giles now being a cathedral. The Tron Kirk was built circa 1644. Due to the Great fires in 1824 the Tron’s Steeple was burnt down and rebuilt in 1824 The Tron was closed as a church in 1952. The area beside the Tron was the original place for bringing in the bells (celebrating the changing of the old year to new). The Inscription on the wall tablet tells of the spire being burnt and rebuilt

 Tron Kirk High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Tron Kirk Wall Tablet Tron Kirk High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

YOU HAVE NOW COME TO THE CENTRE OF OLD EDINBURGH. HALF WAY BETWEEN EDINBURGH CASTLE AND THE NETHERBOW GATE WHICH WAS THOUGHT MY THE RESIDENTS THE END OF THE WORLD. NOW CONTINUE DOWN THE ROYAL MILE  CROSSING WHAT IS LOCALLY KNOWN AS THE BRIDGES, TO THE LOWER PART OF THE HIGH STREET WHICH WAS THE FINAL PART OF THE ORIGINAL OLD EDINBURGH.

 

MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD ROYAL MILE HIGH STREET EDINBURGH

Edinburgh’s Museum of Childhood. The world’s first museum to be dedicated solely to the history of childhood was opened in 1955. The museum of Childhood contains five galleries with toys and games, both contemporary and antique, from around the world. Many toys that everyone of an age will remember; Action Man, Sindy, Corgi, Triang, Meccano. 

The Museum of Childhood High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

Carrubber’s Close Mission High Street Edinburgh

Carrubber’s Close Mission is a non-denominational Evangelical church in the High Street Edinburgh.  The Atheist Meeting House was founded in 1858 in Carrubber’s Close to be found a few yards up the High Street towards Edinburgh Castle.

The American Evangelist D.L Moody came to Edinburgh and was successful in raising funds to open the present mission hall in 1883. To this day Carrubber’s Christian Mission continues to have strong trans-Atlantic links.

Carrubber's Mission Hall High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Nether Bow Wellhead High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The final Wellhead in the Royal Mile or you could say in Edinburgh as the gates to Edinburgh were a short distance away at the Nether Bow Port (Gate). The first drinking water to be distributed to the people of Edinburgh was by the way of Wellheads which were supplied by pipes that came from the reservoir at Castlehill, now the Edinburgh Weaving Mill. The water supply was connected in 1676. The spring water came from Comiston Springs in the south near the Blackford Hill to the reservoir (storage tank) at Castlehill and from there it was pumped through pipes to the wellheads in the streets of Edinburgh. You will see on the Wellheads at the Netherbow, Grassmarket and Lawnmarket were the water came out of the Wellhead the spouts were of ugly faces. The Nether Bow Wellhead was originally the Fountain Wellhead as is stood outside Fountain Court and then it was moved to its present position in 1813 due to heavy traffic (coach and horses). This is the oldest Wellhead that has survived and was built in the late 1600s. 

 Nether Bow Wellhead High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Nether Bow Area High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

John Knox House High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

The house John Knox lived in can be found at the Nether bow in the High Street Edinburgh next to Mowbray House. This is one of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh built in the 1470s. John Knox House was first the residence of the Abbot of Dunfermline George Durie. John Knox was born in 1510 and was a Scottish clergyman and leader of the Protestant Reformation and was also considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination. There is a statue of John Knox in the inner quadrangle of the Assembly Hall on the Mound. He also had a house in Warriston’s Close and his grave is in the car park No.23 at the back of St Giles Cathedral.

 John Knox and Mowbray House's High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh   John Knox Statue New College Mound Place Edinburgh

George Jameson Mowbray House Royal Mile Edinburgh

George Jameson born in Aberdeen in 1588 was recognised as the best portrait painter of his time from the British Isles. He lived in Mowbray House and died in 1644 in Edinburgh and is buried in Greyfriars Churchyard. His work can be seen in the National Gallery of Scotland on the Mound.

George Jameson Mowbray House High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Scottish Storytelling Centre Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Scottish Storytelling Centre allows access to John Knox House, the oldest house in Edinburgh, the Netherbow Theatre, and is the headquarters of the Scottish Storytelling Network. The Storytelling Court is open to the public, and has an exhibition for children. There is a book shop, gift shop and Licensed Café for all to use.

 Storytelling Centre High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Nether Bow Bell High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Nether Bow Royal Mile Edinburgh City Gates.

When the Canongate was a Burgh of its own, there were walls around the city of Edinburgh with gates known as Ports 6 in all. The Story Telling Centre, combined with John Knox House was just a short distance from the historic main gateway of Edinburgh. The gateway, the Nether Bow, was rebuilt many times the last time it was rebuilt was in 1606 and then was finally demolished in 1764. The clock was preserved and moved to orphans hospital near Dean Church. The great bell being hung originally in 1621 was cast in Holland and can be seen at the top of the bell tower above the main entrance of the Story Telling Centre. The Nether Bow was the most important gateway as it stood halfway down the Royal Mile. The port access to and from the Canongate which was at that time a separate Burgh. The walls were built originally for defence against invading armies into Edinburgh in the 1500s after the battle of Flodden. In the 1700s the demolition of sections of the wall began. The Nether Bow was pulled down in 1764, and demolition continued into the 19th century. Today, a number of sections of the three successive walls survive, although none of the ports remain. You can see and find out more about Edinburgh’s history in the Museum of Edinburgh in the Canongate. he outline of the Nether Bow Port an still be seen by the way of brass cobbles in the crossroads a few yards away. 

 Nether Bow plaque High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh  Top of St Mary's Street | High Street Royal Mile Nether bow Port Brass Cobbles   Top of St Mary's Street | High Street Royal Mile Nether bow Port Brass Cobbles  

Link to Upper High Street South Royal Mile Edinburgh

Link to Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh

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