• The Old Town

  • The New Town

  • Leith

  • Edinburgh Trams

  • Burke and Hare

  • Edinburgh Plague
  • Edinburgh New Town History

    By the 18th century the Old Town area of Edinburgh surrounding the Royal Mile was bursting at the seams and could no longer cope with it’s swelling population. In addition many families were becoming more wealthy and longed to move farther away from the lower classes and their slums.

    In 1766 a competition was launched which enabled architects and town planners to submit designs for the New Town layout. In the end a design by a young architect named James Craig. Craig’s design was modified slightly (chiefly some street name changes) by King George III, but in essence remained true to the original plans. One notable change was that of ‘St Giles Street’ to ‘Princes Street’. The King disliked St Giles being the patron saint of lepers, and so renamed what is now Edinburgh’s main street in his son’s honour.

    Edinburgh’s New Town now includes the main shopping districts of the city and some of the best hotels in Edinburgh can be booked here, as well as Edinburgh’s financial sector in ‘The West End’. Other worldly recognisable buildings of the New Town include Waverly Station and the National Gallery of Scotland.

    New Town streets known even to foreign visitors include Rose Street, Queen Street, George Street, Hanover Street, Thistle Street, Frederick Street and Castle Street.

    The buildings constructed as part of the original New Town are considered in modern times to be some of the finest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the world.

    Written by Shaun Flanagan

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