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This street, which faces the south, and extends to four-fifths of a mile in length, is reckoned one of the most interesting and cheerful city promenades in Europe. In proceeding along it from either end, the stranger will not fail to be struck, as well as delighted, with the imposing appearance of the Old Town, towering in huge black masses to a great height, and extended towards the castle, which rises to a still greater altitude. At night, when lights are seen scattered over the irregular groups of building, the spectacle is even more grand than in the day. The space which intervenes between Princes Street and the old Town forms a valley, also not without its attractions. In ancient times, as already noticed, it contained a lake (North Loch), which has long since been drained, and the space, including the sloping banks, was latterly laid out as two public gardens, the division between the two being the Earthen Mound. These gardens have been lately intruded upon by the line of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, and some extensive alterations are the consequence; the western garden, however, retains in a great measure its secluded pleasure-ground appearance, and is deserving of a visit from strangers, as the walks are not only pleasant, but offer a close inspection of the precipitous rock on which the castle is situated, also the fragments of some ancient outworks of the fort. The inhabitants of Princes Street are furnished with keys for admission to the garden gratis; to others, a key is charged two guineas per annum.
Within the railing of the eastern garden, and opposite the foot of St David Street, stands that magnificent work of art
THE SCOTT MONUMENT. This structure consists of a tower or spire in the most elaborate Gothic style of architecture, built from a design of George M. Kemp, a self-taught genius, who unfortunately did not survive to see this creation of his fancy completed. The foundation-stone of this beautiful structure was laid on the 15th of August (the anniversary of Scott's birth) 1840, and the whole was completed and the statue placed August 15, 1846. The height is 200 feet 6 inches, and the total cost, inclusive of the statue, was £15,650; a sum raised by public subscription. In the tower and abutments there are altogether fifty-six niches, designed for figures representing characters alluded to by the novelist and poet. Among others will be noticed the figures of Prince Charles, Meg Merrilees, the Lady of the Lake, Dandie Dinmont, thé Last Minstrel, Dominie Sampson, Coeur de Lion, &c. The marble figure of Scott is a fine work of art, reflecting great credit on the sculptor, Mr John Steell. The likeness is excellent. Strangers may ascend the monument by an inside stair.
In a line with the Scott Monument, at the foot of the Earthen Mound, stands the Royal Institution—a building in a heavy Grecian style, with a range of Doric pillars on each side, and a double row in front to Princes Street, supporting a pediment. Owing to the unreasonable opposition of the Princes Street proprietors, the structure has been kept too low; and it is not less objectionable from being placed directly in the thoroughfare from Hanover Street to the Mound. The interior accommodations are a large central hall for exhibitions of pictures, and various lesser apartments devoted generally to purposes connected with the arts. As an association, the Royal Institution was established in 1819, and incorporated by royal charter in 1827, for the purpose of encouraging the fine arts in Scotland.
Within the building are the offices of the BOARD OF TRUSTEES an establishment instituted in the early part of last century for the encouragement of manufactures in Scotland; it is supported by an annual revenue of between £7000 and £8000, the result of certain endowments from government. Latterly, from the general advance of the arts and manufactures, the institution has confined itself principally to the improvement of artistic talent. It possesses and encourages a school of drawing and design, the first which was instituted in the United Kingdom; and in connexion with this academy there is a gallery of casts of the finest sculptures, ancient and modern. This gallery is open to the public, and is exceedingly worthy of a visit.
The apartments of the ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH are within the Royal Institution building, west side. On the summit of the building, over the pediment, a colossal figure of Queen Victoria, in a sitting posture, has lately been placed.
The upper part of the Mound has hitherto been defaced by various temporary wooden erections; but the ground is here soon to be cleared; and in a commanding situation at top, blending with the edifices of the Old Town, is now in course of erection the Free Church University; a structure which, it is anticipated, will greatly beautify this part of the city.
WEST END OF THE TOWN.
At the western extremity of Princes Street is situated St John's chapel, a handsome edifice in the Gothic style of architecture, belonging to the Scottish Episcopal communion. The barn-like structure with a pointed spire, in the low ground adjoining, is the church of St Cuthbert's a populous suburban parish.
Westward from this locality, towards the entrance to the town by the Glasgow road, are some of the more elegant mansions of modern Edinburgh-as those of Athole and Coates' Crescents, Melville Street, &c. These, however, are usually considered to be inferior to the houses of Moray Place, Ainslie Place, Great Stuart Street, and Randolph Crescent- situated to the northwest, and reached by crossing Charlotte Square to the head of Queen Street. Of three or four storeys in height, massive in bulk, and with embellished fronts of fine sandstone, the houses in these districts have a magnificent effect, and convey an idea of great durability. The stranger will of course walk through this fashionable quarter of the town; nor, when so far, will he omit to visit what is close at hand
THE DEAN BRIDGE.
This is a bridge of four arches, crossing the small river called the Water of Leith, at the height of 106 feet above the bed of the stream, built from a design of the late Mr Telford. The structure is light and elegant, and the view from the parapet down on the deep defile which it spans over is charmingly picturesque. At the bottom of the dell, on the east, is seen a Grecian temple-like structure - St Bernard's Well, locally famed for its mineral waters. On the west is an ancient village, the Water of Leith, a curious jumble of mills and dwellings of a mean order. The road along the Dean Bridge leads to Queensferry and the north of Scotland.
GEORGE STREET-ST ANDREW SQUARE. George Street, which extends from Charlotte Square on the west to St Andrew Square on the east, being of the older part of the New Town, is much less elegant in architecture than the new streets and places adjacent, still, from its breadth and length, it is a fine street, and with St George's church (a St Paul's in miniature) at its western extremity, the effect as a piece of street scenery is considerably beyond the average. Within the last twenty years, many of the houses have been transformed into shops, and the original character of the street has been further infringed upon by the erection of two statues in bronze, on pedestals, both by Chantrey : one is the figure of William Pitt, at the spot where George Street is intersected by Frederick Street; the other is that of George IV., at the intersection of Hanover Street.
The stranger may be interested in knowing that the house No. 39 Castle Street (within two doors of George Street), is that in which Sir Walter Scott resided for many years of his married life—the " dear 39” which he affectingly speaks of being obliged to part with. Here was written many of the Waverley novels and other productions. The house is now occupied by Mr Macvey Napier, editor of the Edinburgh Review.
In the division of George Street between Frederick Street and Hanover Street, south side, is a building with a projecting pediment, forming the ASSEMBLY Rooms, for balls and other festive
meetings, and including a large new apartment, called the Music HALL, where concerts and public meetings take place. The Music Hall measures 108 feet long by 91 feet broad; is furnished with an organ, and is seated for a large audience. This noble room, with its various appliances, cost £10,000.
Towards the eastern extremity are several handsome structures --the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank, at the corner of North Hanover Street; St Andrew's church, whose elegant pointed spire will not be unnoticed ; and opposite to it the Commercial Bank, with its beautiful emblematic figures over the entrance. These figures are from the chisel of Mr Alexander Handyside Ritchie, a Scottish artist, and are greatly admired for their graceful ease and fidelity.
St Andrew Square contains also some fine large buildings, chiefly occupied as insurance offices and banks. In front of the receding central edifice—the Royal Bank—is erected an equestrian group, in bronze, commemorative of the late Earl of Hopetoun. The centre of the square is ornamented with a fluted column, 136 feet in height, with a colossal figure on its summit, commemorative of the late Lord Melville.
In the early ages of the square, before it was intruded upon by trade, it was the place of residence of some distinguished individuals. In the third floor of the house, No. 21, forming the north-west corner, Lord Brougham was born; and the house at the opposite corner, entering from St David Street, was for some time the residence of David Hume.
In Queen Street, nearly adjoining St Andrew Square, a handsome edifice, with a front embellished by figures, has lately been erected as the PHYSICIANS' HALL.
MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS IN THE TOWN AND
NEIGHBOURHOOD. According to the taste of the stranger, or the length of time he can spare, the following objects and institutions may be worthy of a visit.
The ZooLOGICAL GARDENS, a small but well-conducted establishment at Claremont Street, in the north-eastern environs.
CALEDONIAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY'S GARDEN.—This is a beautiful and interesting piece of ground, situated in Inverleith Row, on the road to Granton, about a quarter of a mile beyond the Zoological Gardens. The object of the society is improvement in the production of fruits, flowers, and vegetables; and the collection of varieties in these different departments is exceedingly good. Admittance is by orders from members, or by applying to the resident curator of the gardens, Mr James M Nab.
The ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN is situated a short way farther along Inverleith Row, and, embracing fourteen and a half acres, affords scope for the classification of plants according to the systems of Linnæus and Jussieu. The professor of botany in the university lectures in a class-room at the entrance to the gardens. Strangers are freely admitted to the grounds.
NEW CEMETERY.—Within the grounds of Warriston, nearly opposite to the Botanic Garden, on the east, is situated a cemetery, opened a few years ago by a society in Edinburgh. Provided with a handsome small chapel for funeral services, laid out with great taste, and kept in first-rate order, this cemetery is a model of neatness, and we are glad to say it has met with deserved success. Recently, other five cemeteries, in different quarters of the environs, have been opened.
GRANTON, on the shore of the Forth, is about a mile from Inverleith Row, and is deserving of a visit for the purpose of seeing its new pier, built entirely at the cost of the Duke of Buccleuch, with reference to the improvement of his property in the neighbourhood. This noble undertaking is the greatest work of a private individual in Scotland. Steamers cross every hour from Granton to Burntisland in Fife. Strangers will be interested in knowing that a precipitous rock seen a little east from Burntisland, is that over which King Alexander III. fell and was killed, while passing to Dunfermline March 12, 1286; his death causing all those national troubles which produced the wars of Wallace and Bruce. Steamers also proceed from Granton to Stirling daily, thus giving strangers an opportunity of seeing the shores of the Forth, which abound in picturesque beauty and historical interest. Large steam-vessels sail from Granton twice a-week to London.
RAILWAY STATIONS.—Edinburgh has lately become the centrepoint of a number of railways—the Edinburgh and Glasgow; the North British, in communication with Berwick-on-Tweed and London; and the Edinburgh and Granton, in communication with the north of Scotland--all of which have their terminus in the low ground between the Old and New Town. Other railways are in preparation, at least one of which is to terminate at the same point. The time of transit to London, when the lines are perfected, will be about fifteen hours.
PRIVATE ESTABLISHMENTS.-Of these there are few of any interest in Edinburgh. The production and sale of literature being the principal business in the town, there are perhaps a few printing-houses worthy of notice, but these are not generally shown without a special introduction. The chief literary concerns now carrying on are the Edinburgh Review, Blackwood's Magazine, Tait's Magazine, Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, besides some other periodicals. Including miscellaneous works, the quantity of literature so produced is greater than is issued from any other city in the United Kingdom, London excepted.