Lost Edinburgh: Princes Street c1900

Princes Street, c1900
Princes Street, c1900
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DESPITE numerous changes over the years, our picture of Princes Street as it was in 1900 is instantly recognisable.

Much of the original terraced Georgian housing as seen in our photograph may be gone, but the overall feel of the street has persisted through the ages. In this bustling street scene we get an idea of just how popular Edinburgh’s principle thoroughfare had become, after initially having been constructed as a purely residential area in the late 18th century. In hindsight, Princes Street, with its ease of access from other parts of the city and attractive vistas, was an obvious candidate as a centre of commerce. Indeed, the quaint awnings peppered along the full length of the street indicate just how many shops had sprung up over the course of the century. Also of note are the presence of the city’s early tram network, still dragged forward by horse. The cable-hauled system had yet to be fully implemented.

Princes Street has been altered considerably in the intervening years between 1900 and 2013. Much of the change has been to the detriment of its status as a sought after retail site, though overall its grand character appears to have largely endured. Let’s hope we’ll be able to say the same in another 113 years.