Edinburgh: Then and Now

I’m a history student living in a UNESCO World Heritage City… this is long overdue.


Edinburgh University Old College 

Then: Law School with a variety of odd classes and offices.  Constructed on the original grounds set aside in 1582 for the university.

Now: Law School with a variety of odd classes and offices… but directly across the street from Black Medicine Coffee Co. and Blackwells Bookshop.


The Tron Kirk

Then: Functioning kirk built in the 18c on the lower end of the Royal Mile

Now: Ruined kirk that hosts a great local market full of handcrafts and local goods. (My thumb is actually covering a modern Starbucks)


The Royal Mile

Then: Busy street of vendors and Edinburghers.

Now: Busy street of vendors and mostly gawking tourists with Edinburghers mixed in.


St. Giles 

Then: 18c cathedral built on the grounds of the old cathedral.  To be considered a burgh a town must have a royal charter and a cathedral.

Now: Awesome piece of neo-gothic architecture that still holds regular services and amazing Holiday carol services.


Edinburgh Castle

Then: Literally this place has been a fortification since like… forever.  The photo is of the Royal Scots Brigade in 1885.

Now: The proper ending of all great pub crawls.


The Grassmarket

Then: The place of trade and public executions until the late 18c.  The public gallows were smack-dab in the middle.

Now: Full of pubs, shops, and great short-cut to Princes Street.



Then: Originally the road livestock was brought into the city on with easy access to the Grassmarket.  Later transitioned in overcrowded tenement-housing for the lower class.  Pictured is North Bridge which was constructed as a way for the wealthy living in New Town to circumnavigate the lower slums to reach the University.

Now: Home to a variety of night-clubs and pubs including the infamous Hive.


McEwan Hall

Then: Constructed in the 19c by Edinburgh University as a grand graduation hall. Centerpiece of Bristo Square.

Now: Still functions as a graduation hall but under construction until Spring of 2017.  A huge roadblock for anyone who has classes in the Old Medical School aka me.


George Square

Then: Proto-type New Town on the edge of the meadows around the University.  A variety of Edinburgh intellectuals lived here including Walter Scott and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Now: Fully surrounded by the university.  A few of the buildings were knocked down in the early 21c to build new labs.  This photo is taken from the outside terrace of the library.


The Meadows

Then: What hasn’t it been is the better question.

Now: What isn’t it is the better question.


Middle Meadow Walk

Then: The one and only.  Splits the Meadows in two. Runs parallel to the University.

Now: Still the one and only.  Hosts two Starbucks only 300 yards apart. Nice.


Princes Street

Then: Urban shopping street at the beginning of New Town built in the mid 19c, hosts a variety of shops and memorials to British heroes.

Now: Longest single sided shopping street in the world with great views into Princes Street Gardens.  Still home to a variety of shops.  This is a view from Waterloo Place on looking the statue of the Duke of Wellington and the Scott Monument.


Princes Street 

Then: A view of Princes Street from the other end including the Scott Monument and National Gallery.

Now: A rather economically dangerous block of Princes Street home to Cotswold, Gap, and Lush Spa.


Calton Hill

Then: Spectacular.

Now: Ditto.


Then: A twelve year old nerd.

Now: An eighteen year old nerd.

2 thoughts on “Edinburgh: Then and Now

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