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  • Old Fishmarket Close
  • Bakehouse Close
  • Old Stamp Office Close
  • Old Assembly Close
  • Mary King
  • White Horse Close - Old Photo
  • Advocate
  • Tweedale Court

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh – 2

May 28, 2011

EDINBURGH ROYAL MILE CLOSES are derived from the times when there were large gardens for keeping the tenants’ animals and they were called Enclosures which came to be known as closes.

OLD FISHMARKET CLOSE One can imagine what a stinking hole this must have been  in medieval times when it was the place to buy fish and poultry.This area was the officail home of the City Hangman, the last being John high who died in 1817. Daniel Defoe is rumoured to have lived here and worked as an English Government spyat the Treaty of the Union in 1707. The start of this close was where the elemental fire engine existed.

BAKEHOUSE CLOSE is a deep archway dating from 1570. The name BAKEHOUSE comes from the bakehouse on the west side which was the quarters of bakers and metalsmiths. In addition the Acheson family lived here . They were the household staff of James VI and Charles i. Part of this area was bought in 1924 and is now a City Museum.

THE OLD STAMP OFFICE This close had the Government Stamp Office here until 1821.The Royal Bank was also here from 1727 until 1753. The Countess of Eglinton lived here with her seven daughters and they all went to dancing assemblies in Assembly Close carried there in individual sedan chairs (almost across the street !! ). It is said that Flora Mc Donald attended school here

THE OLD ASSEMBLY CLOSE was originally Little’s Close after the brothers who founded the University Library William Little became Provost of EdinUNDATIONS FOR THE City Chambers built in 1753 as The Royal Exchangeburgh in 1585. The assemblies held between 1720 and 1766 brought the current name in to use. The little turreted affair in the front was a water supply for the locals.

MARY KING’S CLOSE is a 17th Century close and is one of the underground streets built over wwhen the area was ‘modernised’. It acted as the foundations for what is today The City Chambers formerly The Royal Exchange built in 1753. In 1645 when the plague hit, it is rumoured that the ciuncil decided to brick up the space in which the sick inhabitants were thus giving rise to exciting ghost stories !! It is today open to the public.

WHITE HORSE CLOSE was the site of the Royal Mews in the 16th century but was later known as Davidson’s Close and Ord’s Close. The current name came about when Laurence Ord built  an Inn there and he named it in Honour of Queen Mary’s white palfrey. This inn was used to billet Jacobite Officers when Bonnie Prince Charlie was staying at Holyrood Palace.

THE ADVOCATE’S CLOSE dates from about 1544 and offers this view of The Sscott Monument.The close takes its name from Sir James Stewart who was the last advocat of Scotland during the time of the Restoration and the Union of the Crowns. The close leads to Cockburn Street

TWEEDALE COURT was leading to the mansion of Margaret Kerr, daughter of the 1st Earl of Lothian. this building later became the headquarters of the British Linen Bank. It is now the Scottish Poetry Library. The head of the close has original wrought iron gates and was a shelter for sedan chairs which carried the rich over the filthy streets.