Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street Gardens and the Old Town.
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Princes Street Gardens and the Old Town.

Princes Street in Edinburgh was planned to have no building on its southern side, so the residents could enjoy the view to the castle and Old Town. Thus Princes Street Gardens were developed initially as private gardens for the residents, but from 1876 as a public park. They are located on the site of the old Nor' Loch, which was drained in the early 1760s owing to it being a significant health hazard, having taken the sewage from the Old Town. The gardens are divided by the Mound, with East Princes Street Gardens covering 3.5 ha (8½ acres) to Waverley Bridge and the West Princes Street Gardens extending to 12 ha (29 acres) and reaching the kirkyard of St. Cuthbert's Church in the West. Over the years preventing development proved difficult, with Acts of Parliament require to maintain the integrity of the Gardens. Controversy came when the railway was extended through the gardens in 1846, with the eventual compromise requiring it be hidden at the back of the gardens, with W.H. Playfair (1789 - 1857) undertaking the design of the stone-walled cutting.

Within the gardens, along the south side of Princes Street are statues and monuments. Most obvious is the enormous Scott Monument (built 1846), in East Princes Street Gardens, along with statues of explorer David Livingstone (1813 - 73), publisher Adam Black (1784 - 1874) and essayist Professor John Wilson (1785 - 1854). In the West Gardens are statues of poet Allan Ramsay (1686 - 1758), reformer Thomas Guthrie (1803-73), obstetric pioneer James Young Simpson (1811-70), together with monuments to the Royal Scots Greys, the Royal Scots, Dean Edward Ramsay (1793 - 1872), the Scottish American War Memorial and the exuberant Ross Fountain. Also here is the famous Floral Clock and the Ross Bandstand which hosts summer concerts.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better