Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


I00 THE Calton Hill, till the erection of the Regent Bridge, was isolated from the line of Princes Street, and rises to the altitude of 355 feet above the level of the sea, presenting an abrupt and rocky face to the south-west, and descending in other directions by rapid but not untraversable declivities. ?Calton, or Caldoun, is admitted to be a hill covered with bushes,? according to Dalrymple?s 6?Annals?; but with reference to the OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. forest of Drumsheugh, by which it was once surrounded, it ,is more likely to be Choille-dun. In the oldest views we possess of it, the hill is always represented bare, and denuded of all trees and bushes, and one lofty knoll on the south was long known as the Miller?s Knowe. In some of the earlier notices of this hill, it is called the Dow Craig. The Gaelic Dhu, or Black Craig, is very appropriate for this lofty mass of trap rock, [Calton HilL by the railway terminus and Waverley Bridge. The former extends eastward under the North Bridge, and occupies a great space, including the sites on which stood old streets, two churches, and two hospitals, wkich we have already described, a public market, and -superseding the original termini, but retaining some of the works pertaining to the Edinburgh and Glasgow, the North British, and the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railways. Between 1869 and 1873 it underwent extensive reconstruction and much enlargement. It has a pedestrian access, about twelve feet wide, from the north-east corner of the Green Market, and a spacious carriage-way round the western side of that market and from the Old Town by the Waverley Bridge, and serves for the entire North British system, with pleasant and sheltered accommodation for the arrival and departure of trains. The site of the Little Mound we have referred to is now occupied by the Waverley Bridge, which, after. striking rectangularly from Princes Street, about 270 yards westward of the new post office, crosses the vale of the old loch, southward to the foot of Cockburn Street. The bridge was originally a stone railway structure, consisting of several arches that spanned the Edinburgh and Glasgow lines, and afforded carriage access to all the three original termini. Proving unsuitable for the increased requirements of the station, it was in 1870-3 replaced by a handsome iron skew bridge, in three reaches, that are respectively 3 10, 293, and 276 feet in length, with 48 feet of a carriage-way and 22 feet of footpaths. The Green Market, which lies immediately westward of the block of houses at the west side of the North Bridge, occupies, or rather covers, the original terminus of the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railway, and was formed and opened on the 6th March, 1868, in lieu of the previous market at the eastern end of the valley, removed by the North British Railway. It stands on a basement of lofty arches, constructed of strength sufficient to bear the weight of such a peculiar edifice. It was covered by an ornamental terraced roof, laid out in tastefully-arranged gardens, level with Princes Street, and having well lights and a gallery; changes, however, were. effected in 1877, when it was to suffer encroachment on its roof by the street improvements, and when it received a further ornamentation of the former, and acquired at its north-west corner a handsome staircase. In the spacious area of this edifice, promenade concerts, cattle and flower shows, are held. The East Princes Street Gardens, which extend from the Waverley Bridge to the east side of the Mound, after being, as we have said, a nursery, were first laid out in 1830, and after suffering some mutilation and curtailment by the formation of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, w2;?e re-formed and ornamented anew in 1849-50, at the expense of about £4,500. The high graduated banks with terraced walks descend to a deep central hollow, and comprise within their somewhat limited space a pleasant variety of promenade and garden ground.
Volume 3 Page 100
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print