Astoft

Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Lawnmarket and High Street

The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood in five stretches:
Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate (link), Abbey Strand
Map

Notes in italics from Pevsner Architectural Guides, Edinburgh by John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker (1991),
Yale University Press.
         
Lawnmarket, Edinburgh
         
  Lower part of Lawnmarket, the stretch of the Royal Mile which comes just before the High Street.
The red frontage on the left in the picture by S.Henbest Copper for Patrick Geddes, 1892, is a clever evocation of its timber-framed predecessor: a near-symmetrical facade with a fireclay balustraded podium, two-storey oriels on corbels sculptured with emblems of the arts, sciences and crafts (in the shade, not visible), and a triple-gabled oversailing top-hamper ... Next a plain late C18 tenement, followed by No. 435 Lawnmarket built for Andrew Paterson and John henderson, wrights, in 1703. Central gablet and a jolly two-storey pub front of 1894 by P.L. Henderson, arcaded to Lawnmarket and extending across the gable and part of the long rear wing in Bank Street, the new thorough fare cut through the closes in 1798. ... The pub is now Deacon Brodie's Tavern. About Deacon Brodie.
 
  Click on photos below to enlarge  
         
Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh                              Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh
         
  In Bank Street facing up towards the Royal Mile, the Roman Baroque head office of the Bank of Scotland, substantially by David Bryce from 1863. The original building, designed by Robert Reid and Richard Crichton in 1801, was not generally admired ... To the S facing Bank Street much of Reid and Crichton's front survives ... The centrepiece, with middle bay set back behind columns in antis and balustrade interrupted by a carved coat of arms, is characteristic of Reid. ... This polite 'villa' was transformed by Bryce into a Baroque monument, with full height wings on the S embracing a one-storey entrance range. The detail is far from polite. Ground-floor masonry channelled with vermiculated bands. On the wings coupled Corinthian half-columns, the pediments broken by circular attic windows, scrolled and segmentally pedimented. Bryce replaced Reid and Crichton's central dome with one derived from Pietro de Cortona, on a tall octagonal drum with lozenge-shaped windows and topped by a lantern ... crowned with a statue of Fame. Bryce's wings extend half-way back across the flanks, where their ends are carried up as towers ... The N front (last picture, seen from Princes Street) was refaced with vermiculated masonry at the basement, bands of vermiculation at the ground floor, and a Corinthian order above. ...   
         
High Court of Justiciary, Edinburgh                              David Hume Statue, Edinburgh
         
  Sheriff Courthouse, Lawnmarket, on the opposite corner of Bank Street houses the High Court of Justiciary. A large three-storey block on an island site by  A.J. Pitcher and J. Wilson Paterson of H.M. Office of Works, 1934-7. Grim Neo-Georgian. Keyblocked openings in the rusticated ground floor, with a heavy bracketed cornice over the entrance. Shallower keyblocked windows above. Centrepiece with Roman Doric piers and a figure of Justice by Alexander Carrick in the pediment. The flanks are even less friendly. ... (I don't share this view, seems quite an attractive composition).
A statue of  David Hume stands by the entrance, 1997. More on Hume here.
The second picture is taken from Parliament Square at the west end of St Giles Cathedral, more on the statue there below.
 
         
                   
         
                             
         
  Fifth Duke of Buccleuch, an authoritative bronze by J. Edgar Boehm, 1887-8. ... Cresting at the lower stages by D.W. and W.G. Stevenson; bronze panels of the history of the Scott family by Clark Stanton (see last picture); panels of incidents in the Duke's life By Stuart Burnett and his virtues by W. Birnie Rhind.  
         
St Giles Cathedral                             
         
  St Giles Cathedral stands in Parliament Square at the top of the High Street in the Royal Mile. Behind it, i.e. on its south side, is Parliament House shown below. The cathedral is shown and described in much more detail on the separate St Giles page.
The second picture above looks up the Royal Mile from the east end of the cathedral.
Opposite the cathedral is Advocates Close. Notable residents of the past are shown on the plaque in the last picture.
 
         
                   
         
  The Law Courts on the south side of St Giles in Parliament Square. Behind the facade shown here is a complex set of court buildings, as well as Parliament House used until the Union in 1707. (The new parliament building of the revived Scottish Parliament of 1999 is at the bottom of the Royal Mile at Holyrood.)
The Law Courts were substantially redeveloped by Robert Reid in 1803-1838 with an Adamesque frontage. Robert Adam had in fact submitted designs in 1791 which were thought 'more magnificent than necessary' but presaged later development.
 
         
                   
         
  Bronze statue of Adam Smith just below St Giles Cathedral in the High Street. By Alexander Stoddart, erected in 2008. Adam Smith's grave is further down the Royal Mile, more here.
On the opposite side of the High Street, the City Chambers. The only C18 public building in the Royal Mile, designed by John Adam (brother of Robert Adam) with modifications by John Fergus, completed in 1761. The screen facing the High Street was considerably changed in 1901-4 by Robert Morham from its original arcaded screen of shops. In the courtyard a bronze statue by John Steell of Alexander and Bucephalus, the modelling begun in 1829 but not cast until 1883.
 
         
                    Tron Kirk, Edinburgh          Tron Kirk 2, Edinburgh
         
  View onwards down the Royal Mile towards the east, with the prominent Tron Kirk spire. The second picture shows the view in the opposite direction back towards St Giles. The church closed as such in 1952. A hybrid of the C17-C19 but a most superior one. It was built by John Mylne Jun., principal master-mason to the Crown and the Town, and John Scott, master wright, in 1636-47 to house a congregation ejected when St Giles became a cathedral. ... Stylistically, Gothic survival and classical elements mingled. Round-arched traceried windows with raised voussoirs supporting triangular pediments. ... There was a major reconstruction in 1785-7 by John Baxter Jun. (see original design here ) in which, amongst other things, the end bays were effectively halved and the gables given a 'nave-and-aisles' treatment with obelisk finials on shallow pediments. The tower above the main entablature was rebuilt in 1828 by R.&R. Dickson after a fire, to a considerably different and taller design.  
         
P1010193-transf-crp-soft-varlt-vary-varr-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5t5-q60-levmid-u0.3-q50.jpg (71415 bytes)               P1010198-transf-crop-varlt-u1-h552-u0.3-q40.jpg (79707 bytes)               P1010199-transf-soft-levmid-u2-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (65580 bytes)
         
  John Knox's House, High Street. (The connection with Knox is disputed but the legend ensured the preservation of the house). Improbably picturesque but largely genuine C16, projects S to stop the view down High Street. ... The garlanded coat of arms flanked by the initials IM and MA (for James Mosman and Mariota Arres) provides a fairly firm date for this last part of the C16 work: between 1556 when Mariota Arres inherited and 1573 when her husband James Mosman was executed for treason. ... The first-floor window of the W front is a remarkable example of Scottish C16 classicism. Doric-pilastered with small urn finials flanking a blind round panel, and is flanked by tiny garlands. At the NW corner of the splay, a sundial under a carved relief of Moses pointing to the sun hidden in a cloud inscribed ΘΕΟΣ DEUS GOD . ...
To the left of John Knox's House is Moubray House. The front of c.1630, rubble-built ... with a plain C19 shop on the ground floor and an early C19 corniced doorpiece at the head of the forestair. ...
 
         
  To Canongate stretch of the Royal Mile

Old engravings of the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile described in Wikipedia

More of Edinburgh at Astoft
 
         
Home Architecture Index Email:  Maps Link  (U.K.)
 

All photographic images on this website are © Copyright the website owner 2001 or later unless otherwise stated. Email contact above. Full size originals (3-6 megapixels)  are available for approved purposes.