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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


THE OLD THEATRE ROYAL, IN PROCESS PP DEMOLITION. CHAPTER XLV. EAST SIDE OF THE NORTH BRIDGE (cotttinued). Memorabilia of the General Post Office-First Postal System in Scotland-First Communication with Ireland-Sanctions given by the Scotti, I Parliament-Expenses of the Establishment at various Periods-The Horse Posts-Violation of Letter Bags-Casualties of the Period-Tht First Stage Coach-Peter Williamsop-The Various Post Office Buildings-The Waterloo Place Office-Royal Arms Removed-New Office Built-S&C and Fiscal Details. THE demolition of the old theatre was proceeded with rapidly, and with it passed away Shakespeare Square, on its southern and eastern sides, a semirectangle, alike mean in architecture and disreputable in character; and on the sites of both, and of Dingwall?s ancient castle, was erected the present General Post Office, a magnificent building, prior to describing which we propose to give some memorabilia of the development of that institution in Edinburgh. The year 1635 was the epoch of a regular postal system in Scotland, under the Scottish ministry of Charles I. This systeni was probably limited to the road between Edinburgh and Berwick, the main object being to establish a regular communication with London. Mails were despatched once and sometimes twice weekly, and the postage of a single letter was 6d. From Rushworth?s ? Collec- 45 tions? it appears that in that year Thomas Wither ings, his Majesty?s Postmasterof England and foreign parts, was directed to adjust ?one running post or two, to run day and night between Edinburgh and London, to go thither and back again in six days, and to take with them all such letters as shall be directed to any post town on the said road.? Three years after these posts became unsafe ; the bearers were waylaid and robbed of their letters, for political reasons. In 1642, on the departure of the Scottish troops to protect the Ulster colonists, and put down the rebellion in Ireland, a line of posts was established between Edinburgh and Port Patrick, where John M?Caig, the postmaster, was allowed by the Privy Council to have a ?post bark?; and in 1649 the posts were improved by Cromwell, who removed many, if not all the Scottish officials j and in 1654
Volume 2 Page 353
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