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Episode 32

Walk down the Royal Mile

Let me take you on a tour down one of the most famous streets in Edinburgh, the Royal Mile, popping into all the Places that tourists tend not to go, the alleyways or Closes as we call them in Scotland. It gives a fascinating insight into medieval Edinburgh with murder, ghosts, crime and disease emanating from every crevice of the ancient stone walls that remain today.
I’ll touch upon the reason for Old Edinburgh being so tightly packed together and why it was so easy for disease to spread. Fortunately, we still have one of the 16th Century buildings standing on the Royal Mile, Gledstanes land, beautifully restored by the National Trust for Scotland and wedged between two famous closes, James Court and Lady Stair’s Close. We will hear from Will Evans, one of the managers at the property.

You will hear about the more famous characters of Edinburgh such as Adam Smith, David Hume and Patrick Gedes as well as the infamous characters such as Deacon Brodie. With over 80 Closes to choose from, I will give you a flavour of life in a few of them from both a rich and a poor person’s perspective. Old Edinburgh is a place where hundreds of witches were burned to death, only a stone’s throw from one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city.
We will be heading back, in some cases, to the 16th century, venturing into the darker recesses of Old Edinburgh where, I think, even angels might fear to tread. Come and join me on this journey into Edinburgh city’s past and meet some of the characters that lived there in the 16th and 17th centuries.