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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Canonmills.] THE ROYAL GYMNASIUM. 87 to search for and seize them for his own use. Hunter also prosecuted him for throwing his wife into the mill-lade and using opprobrious language, for which he was fined 650 sterling, and obliged to find caution. A hundred years later saw a more serious tumult in Canonmills. In 1784 there was a great scarcity of food in Edinburgh, on account of the distilleries, which were said by some to consume enormous quantities of oatmeal and other grain unfermented, and to this the high prices were ascribed. A large mob proceeded from the town to Canonmills, and attacked the great distillery of the Messrs. Haig there j but meeting with an unexpected resistance from the workmen, who, as the attack had been expected, were fully supplied with arms, they retired, but not until some of their number had been killed, and the ?Riot Act? read by the sheriff, Baron Cockburn, father of Lord Cockburn. TheiI next attempt was on the house of the latter; but on learning that troops had been sent for, they desisted. In these riots, the mob, which assembled by tuckof drum, was charged by the troops, and several of the former were severely wounded. These were the gth, or East Norfolk Regiment, under the command of Colonel John Campbell 01 Blythswood, then stationed in the Castle. During the height of the riot, says a little ?Histoq of Broughton,? a private carriage passed through thc village, and as it was said to contain one of thc Haigs, it was stopped, amid threats and shouts Some of the mob opened the door, as the bIindr had been drawn, and on looking in, saw that th< occupant was a lady; the carriage was therefore without further interruption, allowed to proceed tc its destination-Heriot?s Hill. On the 8th of September subsequently, two of thf rioters, in pursuance of their sentence, were whippei through the streets of Edinburgh, and afterwards transported for fourteen years. In the famous ?Chaldee MS.,? chapter iv. reference is made to ?a lean man who hath hi! dwelling by the great pool to the north of the Nelr City.? This was Mr. Patnck Neill, a well-knowr citizen, whose house was near the Loch side. In this quarter we now find the Patent Roya Gymnasium, one of the most remarkable anc attractive places of amusement of its kind in Edin burgh, and few visitors leave the city without seeing it. At considerable expense it was constructed bj Mr. Cox of Gorge House, for the purpose of afford ing healthful and exhilarating recreation in the ope1 air to great numbers at once, and in April, 1865 was publicly opened by the provosts, magistrates tnd councillors of Edinburgh and Leith, accom- ?anied by all the leading inhabitants of the city and :ounty. Among the many remarkable contrivances here was a vast ?rotary boat,? 471 feet in circumference, seated for 600 rowers ; a ? giant see-saw,? named I? Chang,? IOO feet long and seven feet broad, supported on an axle, and capable of containing zoo ?ersons, alternately elevating them to a height of ifty feet, and then sinking almost to the ground; i ? velocipede paddle merry-go-round,? 160 feet in Circumference, seated for 6co persons, who propel the machine by sitting astride on the rim, and push their feet against the ground ; a ? self-adjust- Lng trapeze,? in five series of three each, enabling gymnasts to swing by the hands 130 feet from one trapeze to the other; a ?compound pendulum swing,? capable of holding about IOO persons, and kept in motion by their own exertions. Here, too, are a vast number of vaulting and climbing poles, rotary ladders, stilts, spring-boards, quoits, balls, bowls, and little boats and canoes on ponds, propelled by novel and amusing methods. In winter the ground is prepared for skaters on a few inches of frozen water, and when lighted up at night by hundreds of lights, the scene, with its musical accessories, is one of wonderful brightness, gaiety, colour, and incessant motion. Here, also, is an athletic hall, with an instructor always in attendance, and velocipedes, with the largest training velocipede course in Scotland. The charges of admission are very moderate, so as to meet the wants of children as well as of adults. A little eastward of this is a large and handsome school-house, built and maintained by the congregation of St. Mary?s Church. A great Board School towers up close by. Here, too, was Scotland Street Railway Station, and the northern entrance of the longsince disused tunnel underground to what is now called ~e Waverley Station at Princes Street. A little way northward of Canonmills, on the north bank of the Water of Leith, near a new bridge of three arches, which supersedes one of considerable antiquity, that had but one high arch, is the peculiar edifice known as Tanfield Hall. It is an extensive suite of buildings, designed, it has been said, to represent a Moorish fortress, but was erected in 1825 as oil gasworks, and speedily turned to other purposes. In 1835 it was the scene of a great banquet, given by his admirers to Daniel O?Connell; and in 1843 of the constituting of the first General Assembly of the Free Church, when the clergy first composing it quitted in a body the Establishment,as described in our account of George
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88 OLD AND NEW Street; and till 1856 the annual sittings of the Free Assembly were held in it. Here, too, in 1847, it witnessed the constituting of the Synods of the Secession and Relief Churches into the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Old Canonmills House, which faced Fettes Row, has been removed, and on its site was erected, in 1880-1, a handsome United Presbyterian Church within a crescent. In the month of October, 1879, there was laid at Bellevue Crescent, by the Lord Provost (Sir Thomas Boyd), in presence of a vast concourse of people, the foundation stone of a handsome German church-the first of its kind in Scotlandfor the congregation of Hem Blumenreich, which for a number of years preceding had been wont to meet in the Queen Street Hall. The Provost was presented with a silver trowel wherewith to lay the stone. Tie cost was estimated at &2,600. The building was designed by Mr. Wemyss, architect, Leith, in the Pointed Gothic style, for 350 sitters. Where now Claremont Terrace andBellevueStreet zre erected in Broughton Park, there existed, EDINBURGH. [Canonmills. between 1840 and 1867, the Zoological Gardens (a small imitation of the old Vauxhall Gardens in London), where the storming of Lucknow and other such scenes of the Indian mutiny used to be nightly represented, the combatants being parties of soldiers from the Castle, the fortifications and so forth being illuminated transparencies. Unfortunately or otherwise the gardens proved a failure. Among the last animals here were two magnificent tigers, sent from India by the then Governor-General, the ?Marquis of Dalhousie, and afterwards, we believe, transmitted to the Zoological Gardens in London. Here, too, was Wood?s Victoria Hall, a large timber-built edifice for musical entertainments, which was open till about 1857. Eastward of old Broughton Hall here, and bordering on the old Bonnington Road, are various little properties and quaint little mansion-houses, such as Powderhall, Redbraes, Stewartfield, Bonnington House, and Pilrig, some of them situated where the Leith winds under wooded banks and past little nooks that are almost sylvan still-and each of these has. its own little history or traditions. Powderhall, down in a dell, latterly the property of Colonel Macdonald, in 1761 was the residence
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