Lost Edinburgh: Comparing then and now

The Scotsman building was built in 1905. While no longer housing this newspaper, the building is still with us. Picture: Capital Collections
The Scotsman building was built in 1905. While no longer housing this newspaper, the building is still with us. Picture: Capital Collections
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THERE are areas of Edinburgh which have changed beyond all recognition. These thirty then and now images allow us to contrast, compare and better track those changes.

On Princes Street we can see the effects of post-war planning. Several buildings dating from the Georgian and Victorian eras fell during the 1960s. While others, such as Maule’s department store at the West End, were demolished much earlier. Maule’s made way for Binns (now House of Fraser) in the 1930s. (Copy continued at foot of page)

At Leith Street and St James Square the scene is almost completely unrecognisable. The removal of scores of original Georgian tenements to make way for the St James Centre has altered the appearance of the district forever, but, of course, it’s all set to change again with the demolition of the shopping centre now in full swing.

Down Leith Walk and there have been minor changes. Most of the stone-built tenements still stand, but rail infrastructure has disappeared.

Back towards the city centre, the closure and subsequent demolition of the Caledonian Railway Company’s Princes Street Station terminal in 1965, left a giant gap-site close to Lothian Road which would take 30 years to fill.

Elsewhere, the former heavily-populated residential areas in the Old Town and the Dumbiedykes have also undergone extensive surgery. Likewise, Bristo Street and the iconic Parkers department store with its handsome Tudor frontage, both of which were swept away for the expansion of Edinburgh University in the Sixties and Seventies.

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