Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


332 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Aliison Squam Chloris of some of his finest lyrics, the daughter of a prosperous farmer at a place called Kemmis Hall, on the banks of the Nith, and who, after undergoing many vicissitucies, and having for a time ?had her portion with weeds and outworn faces,? was seized with consumption, and retired to an obscure abode in that narrow and gloomy lane. ? If Fortune smile, be not puffed up, And if it frown, be not dismayed ; For Providence govemeth all, Although the world ?s turned upside down,? It was in Alison Square that Thomas Campbell, the poet, resided when writing the ?? Pleasures of Hope.? He occupied the second floor of a stair CLARINDA?S HOUSE, GENERAL?S ENTRY. There she lingered long in loneliness and suffering, supported by the chanty of strangers, till she found a final home in Newington burying-ground. Alison Square, which lay farther south, and through which a street has now been run, was built in the middle of the eighteenth century, upon a venture, by Colin Alison, a joiner, who in after iife was much reduced in circumstances by the speculation. In his latter days he erected two boards on different sides of his buildings, whereon he had painted a globe in the act of falling, with this inscription :- on the north side of the central archway, with windows looking partly into the Potterrow, and partly into Nicolson Street. The poem is said to have been written here in the night, his master?s temper being so irritable that it was then only he could find peace for his task. Alison Square was completely transformed in 1876, when Marshal1 Street was constructed through it. A Baptist church, in a most severe Lombardic style, stands on the north side of this new street. It was built in 1876-7, at the cost of L4,ooo. Between 1773 and 1783, Francis, eighth Earl of tavern pub public house ale house buildings close
Volume 4 Page 332
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
Potterrow.] AN OLD TAVERN. 333 Moray, who died in 1810, lived in the Potterrow, in a large mansion, which was entered through a garden ?at the east end of the row, and another by Chapel Street.?? An advertisement, offering it for sale in 1783, says the earl had occupied it ?for these ten years past;? that it consists of fifteen apartments, with servants? hall, vaulted cellar, and ample stabling. This was, in all probability, the house formerly occupied by the Duke of Douglas. The Original Seceder Congregation, afterwards located in Richmond Street, was established in the Potterrow about 1794, and removed to the former quarter in 1813. We get an idea of the class of humble Edinburgh merchapzt, as the phrase was understood in Scotland. On Sundays, too, Mrs. Flockhart?s little visage might have been seen in a front gallery seat in Mr. Pattieson?s chapel in the Potterrow. Her abode, situated opposite to Chalmers? Entry, in that suburban thoroughfare, was a square, about fifteen feet each way.? A mere screen divided her dwelling-house from her tavern, and before it, every morning, the bottles containing whisky, rum, and brandy, were placed on the bunker-seat of a window, with glasses and a salver of gingerbread biscuits. Anon an elderly gentleman would drop in, saluting her with ?? Hoo d?ye do, mem I ? and then proceed to ROOM IN CLARINDA?S HOUSE, GENERAL?S ENTRY. taverns of the old school from the description that Chambers gives us of a famous one, Mrs. Flockhart?s- otherwise ? Lucky Fykie?s ?-in the Potter-. row, at the close of the last century, It was a small as well as obscure edifice, externally having the appearance of a huckster?s shop. Lucky Fykie was a neat little elderly woman, usually clad in an apron and gown of the same blue-striped stuff, with a black silk ribbon round her mutch, the lappets of which were tied under her chin. ?Her husband, the umquhile John Flucker, or Flockhart, had left her some ready money, together with his whole stock-in-trade, consisting of a multifarious variety of articlesropes, tea, sugar, whipshafts, porter, ale, beer, yellow-sand, camstune, herrings, nails, cotton-wicks, thread, needles, tapes, potatoes, lollipops, onions, and matches, &c., constituting ,her a respectable help himself from one of the bottles ; another and another would drop in, till the tiny tavern was full, and, strange to say, all of them were men of importance in society, many of them denizens of George Square - eminent .barristers or wealthy bankers-so simple were the habits of the olden time. In No. 7, Charles Street, which runs into Crichton Street, near the Potterrow, Lord Jeffrey, the eminent critic, was born in 1773, in the house of his father, a Depute-Clerk of Session, though some accounts have assigned his birthplace to Windmill Street. Lady Duffus was resident in Charles Street in I 784, Where this street is now, there was an old locality known as Charles?s Field, which on Restoration Day, 1712, was the scene of an ingenious piece of marked Jacobitism, in honour of the exiled I Stuarts pub ale house public house tavern
Volume 4 Page 333
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures