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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


35s OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [North Bridge. amounted to twenty-three persons, including lettercarriers. Ten years afterwards thirty-one were required, and in 1794 the Inland Office, including the letter-carriers' branch, consisted of twenty-one persons. The Edinburgh Post-office, for a long time after its introduction and establishment, was conducted solely with a view to the continuance and security of the correspondence of the people, and thus it frequently had assistance from the Scottish Treasury; and if we except the periods of civil war, when a certain amount of surveillance was exercised by the Government, as a measure of State security, the office seems to have been conducted with integrity and freedom from abuse. In 1796, Thomas Elder of Forneth, at one time Lord Provost, was Deputy Postmaster-General; in 1799 and 1802, William Robertson, and Trotter,of Castlelaw, succeeded to that office respectively. It was held in 1807 by the Hon. Francis Gray, afterwards fifteenth Lord Gray of Kinfauns ; and in 1810 the staff amounted to thirty-five persons, letter-carriers included. In April, 1713, the Post-office was in the first flat of a house opposite the Tolbooth, on the north side of the High Street-Main's shop, as we have stated. At a later period it was in the first floor I ~ t ' a house near the Cross, above an alley, to which it gave the name of the Post-ofice Close. From thence it was removed to the Parliament Close, where its internal fittings were like those of a shop, the letters were dealt across a counter, and the whole out-door business of the city was conducted by one lettercarrier. After being for a time in Lord Covington's house, it was removed to one already mentioned on the west side of the North Bridge, and from thence to a new office (now an hotel) on the Regent Bridge in 1821. For ten years before that period James twelfth Earl of Caithness was Deputy Postmaster- General ; and in the year preceding the removal there, the Edinbzcrgh WeeklyJournaZ says, that by order of the Depute Lyon King of Arms, and the Ushcr of the White Rod, the new coat of the royal arms of Britain, put thereon, was torn down and removed, "as derogatory to the independance of Scotland," Le., wrongly quartered, giving England precedence. Another and correct coat of arms was substituted, and remained there till the present building was erected. In 1823, Sir David Wedderburn, Bart., of Ballendean, was appointed Postmaster-General of Scotland, an office afterwards abolished. In 1856 the establishment on the Regent Bridge consisted of 225 officials, of whom 114 were lettercarriers, porters, and messengers, and the average number of. letters passing through arid delivered in Edinburgh daily was estimated at 75,000. The nuniber of mail-bags received daily was 5x8, and the number despatched 350. The amount of money orders issued and paid showed a sum of A;1,758,079 circulating annually through the department in Scotland. On the 23rd of October, 1861, the foundationstone of the new General Post-office was laid, on the east side of the North Bridge, by the late Prince Consort, amid much state and ceremony, the letter-carriers, all clad for the first time in blue, in lieu of their old scarlet, being drawn up in double rank within the galleries which occupied the site of the old Theatre and which were crowded by a fashionable audience. This was almost the last act of Prince Albert's public life, as he died two months subsequently. At his suggestion the crowning row of vases was added to the fapde. As finished now, it stands behind a pavement of Caithness slabs forty-three feet broad, and is from designs by the late Mr. Robert Matheson, of H.M. Board of Works in Scotland. Built of fine white stone from Binny quarry, in the neighbourhood of the city, its style of architecture is a moderately rich Italian type. It presents an ornamental main front of 140 feet to Princes Street, and another equally ornamental front, or flank, of 180 feet to the North Bridge, with a rearfront, which is also ornate, of ~qo'feet, to the deep valley where once the North Loch lay. The flank to the Waterloo Place Buildings is somewhat plainer than the others, and measures 160 feet. The edifice rises in the central part of each of these three ornamental fronts, to the height of two stately storeys above the street level, and has at the corners wings, or towers, a storey higher, and crowned with rows of massive and beautifully sculptured vases. On the south front it descends to the depth of 125 feet from the summit of these towers, and thus presents a very imposing appearance. This. office, the chief one for all Scotland, cost, including the site, Ar 20,000, and was first opened for business on the 7th of May, 1866. The entire staff, from t4e Surveyor-General downwards, consisted in 1880 of 429 persons; whose salaries, wages, and allowances, amounted to A38,427. Connected, of course, with the head office, there were in Edinburgh, Leith, and the suburbs, in 1880, receiving-offices and pillar-boxes." . . - "By a Government return it appears that in 1880 there pased through the Scottish Post-ofice 101,948,goo letters, 1z,z84,700 post-cards, zn,14o,goo book-parcels, and 14,570,700 newspapers In the same year, the average number of letters delivered to each perran in the population of the three kingdoms was 35 in England, d in Scotland,and 13" Ireland.
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North Bridge.] THE ORPHAN HOSPITAL 359 c CHAPTER XLVI: EAST SIDE OF THE NORTH BRIDGE (concZdeJJ. The Old Orphan Hospital-Its Foundation. Object, and Removal-Lady Glenorchy?s Chapel-Her Disputes with the Presbytery-Dr. SnelI Jones-Demolition of the Chapel and School-Old Physic Gardens Formed-The Gardens-Sir Andrew Balfm-James Sutherland- Inundated in x68pSutherland?s Efforts to Improve the Gardcn-Professor Hope. ABOUT IOO feet east of the bridge, and the same distance south of the theatre which Whitefield to his dismay saw built in the park of the Orphan Hospital, stood the latter edifice, the slender, pointed spire of which was a conspicuous object in this quarter of the city. A hospital for the maintenance and education of orphan children was originally designed by Mr. Andrew Gardiner, merchant, and some other citizens, in 1732. The suggestion met with the approval of the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, then located in what was anciently named Bassandyne?s Close ; and it was moreover assisted by liberal subscriptions and collections at the church doors. At first a house was hired, and thirty orphans placed in it. According to Maitland, in November, 1733, the hospital was founded; it stood 340 feet northwest of the Trinity College Church, and in its formation a part of the burial ground attached to the latter was used. In 1738 the Town Council granted the hospital a seal of cause, and in 1742 they obtained royal letters patent creating it a corporation, by which most of the Scottish officers of State, and the heads of different societies in Edinburgh, are constituent members. This chanty is so extensive in its benevolence, that children from any part of the British Empire have the right of admission, SO far as the funds will admit-indigence, and the number of children in a poor family being the None, however, are admitted under the age of seven, or retained after they are past fourteen, as at that time of life the managers are seldom at a loss to dispose of them, ?the young folks,? says Arnot, ? choosing to follow trades, and the public entertaining so good an opinion of the manner in which they have been brought up, that manufacturers and others are very ready to take them into their employment. There are about,? he adds, in 1779, ?one hundred orpham maintained in this hospital.? This number was increased in 1781, when Mr. Thomas Tod, merchant in Edinburgh, became treasurer. It was then greatly enlarged for the better accommodation of the children, ?? and to enable them to perform a variety of work, from the . best title to it. produce of which the expenses of their education and maintenance were lessened, and healthy and cheerful exercise furnished, suitable to their years.? It is remarkable,? says Kincaid, ? that from January, 1784, to January, 1787, out of from 130 to 140 young children not one has died. A particular account of the rise, progress, present state, and intended enlargement of this hospital was publisted by the treasurer (Mr. Tod), wherein is a print of the elevation, with two wings,.which the managers intend to build so soon as the funds will permit, when there will be room for zoo orphans.? In its slender spire hung two bells, and therein also stood the ancient clock of the Netherbow Port, now in use at the Dean. The revenues were inconsiderable, and it was chiefly supported by benefactions and collections made at the churches in the city. Howard, the philanthropist, who visited it more than once, and made himself acquainted with the constitution and management of this hospital, Acknowledged it to be one of the best and most useful charities in Europe. A portrait of him hangs in the new Orphan Hospital at the Dean, the old building we have described having been removed in 1845 by the operations of the North British Railway, and consequently being now a thing of the past, like the chapel of Lady Glenorchy, which shared the same fate at the same time. This edifice stood in the low ground, between the Orphan Hospital and the Trinity College Church, about 300 feet eastward of the north arch of the Bridge. Wilhelmina Maxwell, Viscountess Dowaget of John Viscount Glenorchy, who was a kind of Scottish Countess of Huntingdon in her day, was the foundress of this chapel, which was a plain, lofty stone building, but neatly fitted up- within with two great galleries, that ran round the sides of the edifice, and was long a conspicuous object to all who crossed the Bridge. It was seated for 2,000 persons, and the middle was appropriated to the poor, who sat there gratis to the number of some hundreds. ?? Whether,? says Arnot, ?before Lady Glenorchy founded this institution there were churches sufficient for accommodating the inhabitants we shall not pretend to determine. Such, indeed, is the demand for seats, and so little arg
Volume 2 Page 359
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