Monthly Archives

July 2017

Ten Fascinating Facts about Princes Street Gardens

By | General

West Princes Street Gardens is not just a beautiful, peaceful place to sit and enjoy the scenery or simply contemplate life, it’s also rich in history.  Here are 10 fascinating facts about the Gardens for you to think about next time you come for a visit:

  1. The depression in the rock that forms the Princes Street Gardens is a result of glacial erosion during the last Ice Age more than 11,000 years ago
  2. This area became a marsh until 1460 when, after repeated invasions by the English army over centuries, King James III ordered that it be flooded to form a man-made lake as a defensive reinforcement to the castle
  3. This became known as the Nor’ Loch and where the east end of Waverley Station now sits was the site where the dam was built that helped to create it
  4. As well as being a defensive reinforcement, the Nor’ Loch was used for less noble deeds such as alleged “witch-ducking”, horrendous punishments for crime and was also notorious suicide spot
  5. It also became a dumping ground which caused an unbearable smell across the city and was one of the main reasons why Edinburgh became known as Auld Reekie
  6. The Nor Loch was eventually drained, with the process being largely complete by the 1760s however some of the West Princes Street Gardens wasn’t fully drained until the early 1820s
  7. The architect of the New Town, James Craig, actually intended to link the Old and New Town with a canal, however the Mound was accidentally created in it’s place; it was created by all the building and excavation debris from the New Town building work – more than 1.5 million tons of it!
  8. The Gardens were originally private, with access only allowed to residents of Princes Street and, only on special occasions, was it opened to the public
  9. Everyone knows the Scott Monument but the Gardens are actually home to many memorials and statues such as the Scots American War Memorial, the Royal Scots Memorial and a statue in memory of Robert Louis Stevenson
  10. The West Princes Street Gardens is also home to the world’s first ever floral clock, which was commissioned in 1903 and designed by John McHattie, the City’s park superintendent at the time, and Edinburgh clockmakers James Ritchie and Son

Short film launched

By | General

Our new film about the project was shot last week and you can view it below.  We think this encapsulates exactly what the Gardens mean to people, and what our aim is to revitalise them.

We would like to say a big thank you to the City of Edinburgh Council for giving us permission to film and to the many residents and visitors who agreed to feature in our film talking about what the Gardens mean to them.