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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Broughton Street.] THE CALEDONIAN THEATRE. 179 was the band of the 78th, where hung the shields of Picton and Achmuty, and a brilliant star, with the mottoes Assnye and Mnida. ?Under this orchestra was a beautiful transparency, representing an old Scotsman with his bonnet, giving a hearty welcome to two soldiers of the 42nd and 78th regiments, while a bonny lassie is peeping out from a cottage door; the background formed a landscape, with Edinburgh Castle in the distance.? At eleven o?clock came famous old Neil Gow, with his band of violins, and the ball-which was long remembered in Edinburgh-began. After some time Corri?s Rooms were called the Pantheon, and in December, 1823, the house was again opened under the new appellation of the Caledonian Theatre (which it held for years afterwards), by Mr. Henry Johnstone, an old Edinburgh favourite and luckless native of the city. The papers of the time announce that the dancing and tumbling of the Pantheon ?are superseded; and, excepting that melodramas are presented in place of regular tragedies and comedies, the Caledonian Theatre in no respect difters in the nature and style of its entertainments from the regular theatre.? One of the first pieces brought out was The. Orphan of Geneva. ?The house is dingy and even dirty,? says the WeekQIoumaZ for that year, ?< and very defectively lighted. This is not at all in harmony with Mr. Johnstone?s usual enterprise, and calls for amendment. The name of CaZedonian is perhaps conceived to be a kind of apology for the clumsy tartan hangings over some of the boxes; but we can by no means comprehend why the house was not re-painted. The visitor cannot fail to be immediately struck with the contrast of its dingy hue, with the freshness and beauty of the Theatre Royal.? Mr. Johnstone?s losses compelled him, after a time, to relinquish management. He left Edinburgh, and did not return to it till 1830, when he played four nights .at the same theatre, then leased by Mr. Bass. Poor Johnstone, an actor much admired in London, but every wayunfortunate, eventually went to America. The theatre was afterwards called the Adelphi, and was burned in 1853, during the management of Mr. R. H. Wyndham. On its site was rebuilt the Queen?s Theatre and Opera House, under the same enterprising manager, long one of the greatest theatrical favourites in Edinburgh ; but this also was destroyed by fire in 1865, when several lives were lost by the falling of a wall. By a singular fatality it was a third time completely gutted by fire ten years afterwards, but was reconstructed in the latter part of 1875, and reopened in January, 1876, prior to which Mr. and Mrs. Wyndham had taken their farewell of the stage and of Edinburgh. It is a h3ndsome building, with a portico, and is adorned with medallions of Shakspere, Scott, Molihre, and Goethe. Although erected within the walls of the theatre burned on the 6th of February, 1875, it is almost entirely a new building internally, different from all its predecessors, greatly improved, and seated for 2,300 persons. The works have been designed and executed by C. J. Phipps, F.S.A., architect of the Gaiety Theatre, London. Immediately adjoining this theatre-the gable wall being a mutual one-is St. Mary?s Roman Catholic chapel, now the pro-cathedral of the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, whose residence is in the narrow lane to the northward. It was built in 1813, from designs by James Gillespie Graham, architect, at the expense of iE;8,ooo. In the original elevations more omament was introduced than it was found there were funds to execute, as these were chiefly raised by subscription among the Catholics of Edinburgh, then a small, and still a poor, congregation. The dimensions of this edifice within the walls are IIO feet by 57. The eastern front, in which is the entrance, is ornamented by two central pinnacles 70 feet high, and the adoption of the Gothic style in this small chapel jirst led to the adoption of a similar style in various other re!igious edifices since erected in the city. It possesses a very good organ, and above the altar is a fine painting of the Saviour dead. It was presented to the church by Miss Chalmers, daughter of Sir G. Chalmers. Some prelates of the Catholic Church lie buried before the high altar, among them Bishops Alexander Cameron and Andrew Carruthers. The interment of the former excited much interest in Edinburgh in 1Sz8, the funeral obsequies being in a style never seen in Scotland since the Reformation, and also from the general esteem in which the bishop was held by all. He was born in 1747, and went to the Scottish College at Rome in 1760, and bore away all the prizes Returning to Scotland in 1772, he was Missionary Apostolic in Strathearn till 1780, when he was consecrated at Madeira, and, succeeding Bishop Hay, had re sided permanently in Edinburgh since 1806.
Volume 3 Page 179
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