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Perspective view of the castle and city of Edinburgh, with the towns of Leith, Burnt-Island, and Kinghorn.

Perspective view of the castle and city of Edinburgh, with the towns of Leith, Burnt-Island, and Kinghorn.

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description

Summary

By the first half of the 18th century, Edinburgh was one of Europe's most densely populated and overcrowded towns. Various social classes shared the same urban space, even inhabiting the same tenement buildings with lower classes occupying cellars and garrets, and the more established classes occupied the more expensive middle stories. In the second half of the 18th century, the city was at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment. It became a "hotbed of genius", a major intellectual center, "Athens of the North" because of its numerous neo-classical buildings and reputation for learning, recalling ancient Athens. From the 1770s onwards, the professional and business classes gradually deserted the Old Town in favor of one-family residences of the New Town, changing the city's social character. "Unity of social feeling was one of the most valuable heritages of old Edinburgh, and its disappearance was widely and properly lamented." Although Edinburgh's traditional industries of printing, brewing, and distilling continued to grow in the 19th century and were joined by new rubber works and engineering works, there was little industrialization compared with other cities in Britain. The Old Town became an increasingly dilapidated and overcrowded slum so Lord Provost William Chambers in the 1860s began the transformation of the central part of the city into the Victorian Old Town that exists today.

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Date

1760
person

Contributors

Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland)
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Source

New York Public Library
copyright

Copyright info

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