Edinburgh Bookshelf

Edinburgh Past and Present


MODERN DWELLINGS OF THE PEOPLE. BY H. G. REID, Author of ' Pasf and Preseitt,' ' L$e of fhc Rev.John Skinner,' tit. ONE morning in the year 1861, the inhabitants of Edinburgh were startled by the intimation of an occurrence which left sorrowful memories, redeemed only by the influence which it had in helping on a great social reform. During the night a huge pile of old buildings had gven way and fallen, burying many of the dwellers amidst the ruins. Prompt exertions were made to remove the dkbrk, and save as many of the unfortunate sufferers as might be possible, A large space had been almost cleared; the workmen had mounted the ladder to complete some portion of their dangerous and disagreeable task, when they heard a voice cry-' Heave awa', chaps, I 'm no dead yet I" Over an archway in the High Street is carved the figure of the little hero, and this motto marks the spot. The event aroused much sympathy, and called attention at once to the defective condition of workmen's dwellings in Edinburgh, and the efforts that were being made to effect an improvement. To one movement in particular, which has assumed large dimensions, and exercised a widely beneficial influence here and elsewhere, it is our special purpose to call attention. Various causes had combined to produce the state of matters that existed, and still unfortunately exists to a large extent, notwithstanding all that has been done. Edinburgh, beautiful for situation, and rich in noble and historic buildings, had long been deficient in respect to the dwellings of the people. In course of years the Old Town mansions, spacious for their time and purpose, and picturesque even in their ruins, were deserted by their wealthy occupants, and converted by a process of partitioning into tenements for the working classes.
Volume 11 Page 128
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Volume 11 Page 129
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