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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


138 - OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [West Church. mode of procedure, made no resistance; and so .active were the workmen that before sunset the road was sufliciently formed to allow the bettor to drive his carriage triumphantly over it, which he did amidst the acclamations ofa great multitude of persons, who flocked from the town to witness the -issue of this extraordinary undertaking. Among -the instances of temporary distress occasioned to -the inhabitants, the most laughable was that of a -poor simple woman who had a cottage and small cow-feeding establishment upon the spot. It ap- .pears that this good creature had risen early, as usiial, milked her cows, smoked her pipe, taken her ordinary matutinal tea, and lastly, recollecting that she had some friends invited to dine kith her cupon sheep-head and kail about noon, placed the pot upon the fire, in order that it might simmer peaceably till she should return from town, where she had to supply a numerous set of customers with the produce of her dairy. Our readers may judge the consternation of this poor woman when, upon her return from the duties of the morning, she found neither house, nor byre, nor cows, nor fire, nor pipe, nor pot, nor anything that was here upon the spot where she had left them but a few hours before. All had vanished, like the palace of Aladdin, leaving not a wrack behind.? Such was the origin of that broad and handsome street which now leads to where the Castle Barns :stood of old. The Kirkbraehead House was demolished in 1869, when the new Caledonian Railway Station was formed, and with it passed away the southern portion of the handsome modern thoroughfare named Rutland Street, and several other structures .in the vicinity of the West Church. Of these the most important was St. George?s Free Church, built in 1845, at the north-east corner .of Cuthbert?s Lane, the line of which has since been turned into Rutland Street, in obedience to the inexorable requirements of the railway. During its brief existence this edifice was alone famous for the ministrations of the celebrated Rev. Robert Candlish, D.D., one of the most popular of Scottish preachers, and one of the great leaders of the ? Non Intrusion ? party during those troubles -which eventually led to the separation of the .Scottish Church into two distinct sections, and the establishment of that Free Kirk to which we shall have often to refer. He was born about the commencement of the century, in 1807, and highly aegarded as a debater. He was author of an .?Exposition of the Book of Genesis,? works on 4? The Atonement,? ?6 The Resurrection,? ? Life of a Risen Saviour,? and other important theological books. In 18Gr he was Moderator of the Free Church Assembly. The church near St. Cuthbert?s was designed by the late David Cousin in the Norman style of architecture, and the whole edifice, which was highly ornate, after being carefully taken down, was re-constructed in its own mass in Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, as a free church for that locality. While the present Free St. George?s in Maitland Street was in course of erection, Dr. Candlish officiated to his congregation in the Music Hall, George Street. He died, deeply regretted by them and by all classes, on the 19th of October, 1873. The next edifice of any importance demolished at the time was the Riding School, with the old Scottish Naval and Military Academy, so long superintended byan old officer of the Black Watch, and well-known citizen, Captain, John Orr, who carried one of the colours of his regiment at Waterloo. It was a plain but rather elegant Grecian edifice, under patronage of the Crown, for train-, ing young men chiefly for the service of the royal and East India Company?s services, and to all the ordinary branches of education were added fortification, military drawing, gundrill, and military exercises; but just about the time its site was required by the railway the introduction of a certain amount of competitive examination at military colleges elsewhere rendered the institution unnecessary, though Scotland is certainly worthy of a military school of her own. Prior to its extinction the academy sufficed to send more than a thousand young men as officers into the army, many of whom have risen to distinction in every quarter of the globe. The new station of the Caledonian Railway, which covered the sites of the buildings mentioned, and with its adjuncts has a frontage to the Lothian Road of 1,100 feet (to where it abuts upon the United Presbyterian Church) by about 800 feet at its greatest breadth, forms a spacious and handsome terminus, erected at the cost of more than it;~o,ooo, succeeding the more temporary station at first projected on the west side of the Lothian Road, about half a furlong to the south, andivhich was cleared and purchased at an enormous cost. It is a most commodious structure, with a main front 103 feet long and zz feet high, yet designed only for temporary use, and is intended to give place to a permanent edifice of colossal proportions and more than usual magnificence, with a great palatial hotel to acljoin it, according to the custom now so common as regards great railway termini.
Volume 3 Page 138
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