It’s one of the most popular spots in the Capital for everything from a picnic to a game of cricket, but the Meadows has seen many other uses over the years – as these pictures show.
Until around 1920 the Meadows was used to graze animals and it was only after the demise of this practice did it become a public park.
Further back still it contained a loch, known as the South Loch, which was drained in the 18th century to create the familiar expanse of grass with a park with a path round the edge.
A full right of public access was introduced in middle of the 19th century, when new paths were added criss-crossing the park – some of which remain in use today, including Middle Meadows Walk.
In the 1870s the Meadows were used by both Hearts and Hibs football teams, with the first derby between the sides held there on Christmas Day 1875.
A large glass pavilion sprung up in the park for the 1886 International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art, with an arch made from whale’s jawbones created as part of the Zetland and Fair Isle Knitters Association’s display. The path is still called Jawbone Walk today.
By the 1950s and 1960s the park was largely used for recreation, but also for a few other more unusual purposes – even receiving a special royal visit.
Here are 18 pictures to take you back to those days.
1. Bows at the ready
In the 1950s the Royal Company of Archers held their annual Silver Arrow Competition in the Meadows. This picture was taken in June 1958. Photo: Unknown
2. A royal affair
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Meadows in July 1956 to see a demonstration by the Royal Company of Archers. Photo: Unknown
3. Landing party
The winter of 1963 was one of the coldest on record in Scotland, with some areas blanketed with snow for two months. The Meadows was used as a makeshift helipad for food drops to those who were stranded. This RAF helicopter was taking off to deliver essentials to 14 people stranded on Byreclough Farm, near Edinburgh, on January 8. Photo: Unknown
4. Verdant view
Prior to 1966, much of the East Meadows was given over to allotments where local residents could grow fruit, veg and flowers. This picture, with Arthur's Seat in the background, was taken in October 1960. Photo: Unknown