North Foulis’ Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh
North Foulis Close named after John Foulis, who owned the land were he traded as an apothecary (Chemist) and owner of a tenement in the close it was North because of further down the High Street was South Foulis’ Close at No 32 with no connection to this close or owner, near to Hyndford’s Close.
James Gillespie was an Edinburgh city merchant and founder of James Gillespie’s Hospital and School. The hospital opened in 1802 and could accommodate up to 66 Pensioners and the school. The school was originally sited at Gillespie Crescent near to the original hospital at Wright’s house. James Gillespie was born in Edinburgh on the 28 April 1726 and died at his home in Spylaw, Colinton a suburb of Edinburgh on 8 April 1797. His brothers, John and James were Tobacco and snuff merchants at 231 High street Edinburgh and had their own factory at the back of their house at Spylaw. Due to the civil war in the Americas they were a main British supplier to the trade and controlled the prices at the time.
The inscription on the plaque reads; Formerly | the shop of | James Gillespie | of Spylaw | Tobacco and Snuff | Manufacturer | Founder of | James Gillespie’s | Hospital | and Schools | died 8 April 1797 | erected by | The governors 1883