|HISTORY OF PRINCES
the defeat of the Jacobite upsing (cumulating in the Battle
of Culloden in 1746). The idea for creating a New Town
for Edinburgh came to light. It was planned under Provest
Drummond to be built on the farmlands to the North of The
Building commenced in 1767 to plans
submitted by a young architect James Craig who
won the competition nine years previously when was only
22 year old.
Craig's winning design consisted of a simple rectilinear
arrangement (see below) Three parallel main streets, with
George Street, being the widest and grandest main thouroughfare,
and Queen Street and Princes Street running to the North
and South respectively. Public gardens were built at either
end of George Street. To the East St. Andrew Square and
to the West, George Square after the Patron Saints of Scotland
and England. Although George Square was later renamed Charlotte
Square after his wife to avoid confusion with the existing
George Square in the South side of the town.
Thistle and Rose Street were named were
after the National Emblems of Scotland and England. The
patriotic street names celebrated the Union of the Crowns
of 1707 and Scotland's place in the United Kingdom. Craig
originally drew up a plan in the shape of the Union Flag
which was rejected in favour of the current design.
George Street was named after the reigning
Hanovarian monarch, George III. Princes Street was originally
to be named 'St. Giles Street' after Edinburgh's patron
saint. but was also renamed after George III's two sons,
Prince George (future George IV) and the Duke of York.
The Nor Loch, which for centuries
had acted as a Northern defence for the
Castle and once a picturesque lake, had
over the years become an open, stinking
sewer. The decision to drain it in 1759
to create Princes
Street Gardens must have been
welcomed by everyone who lived nearby.
The ornamental gardens were originally
included in Craig's plans. Although he included a canal
which was abandoned when the mound was built to join the
Old Town to the New Town in 1790.
Construction of Princes Street began
at the East end and had reached Hanover Street by 1805.
Plans to fill the street with fine residences were overtaken
by commercial interests and although tradesmen's booths
were demolished as they spoiled the view, Princes Street
increasingly became more commercial becoming Edinburgh's
main shopping Street.
Expansion of the New Town continued
during the Victorian era allowed the wealthier professional
classes to abandon the cramped living conditions of the
Old Town on mass and enjoy the wide open streets and
grand architecture of the New Town.
The increased divisons between
rich and poor and gave Edinburgh two distictly separate
faces. On the one hand Edinburgh was dubbed 'Athens of
The North' during the period of Enlightenment producing
some of the greatest minds to shape world history but
in the Old Town people where still
living in squalid and grossly insanitairy conditions.
There was a cholera epedemic in the 1830's
and crime was rife including the Burke
and Hare murders of the late 1820's. Families
were living sometimes 10 to a room above and below ground.
Without investment the high-rised buildings (some over
ten stories high) were left to fall into a state of increasing
decay and were collapsing under their own weight.
By 1861 one such building on the High
Street, now named 'The
Heave Awa Hoose' collapsed killing 35 people.
One young boy was rescued from the rubble after crying
out "Heave Awa Lads, I'm No Deid Yet'.
A public outcry led to The Act of Impovement
was passed in 1867, allowing the council to tear down any
building that was considered unsafe whilst implementing
major changes that would transform several parts of the
Old Town and linking the Royal Mile to Princes Street and
the New Town.
Princes Street today is a thriving
shopping street and the place to find many large department
stores such as Jenners, Marks & Spencers, British Home
Stores, House of Fraser and Debenhams.
Shoppers can choose to escape the busy streets at anytime
and relax in the beautiful gardens. An enjoy panoramic views
Garden and The