Edinburgh New Town
The New Town in Edinburgh was the idea of King George III and the design he decided on was originally 3 main streets with 2 Squares one in the East and one in the west at each end of George Street. With 4 streets crossing vertically from Princes Street to Queen Street. Click on the buttons below to see what's in each of the streets.
Edinburgh New Town
Naming of the New Town Streets
In 1759 King George III had a new town built as an extension of Edinburgh, as the over population of the old town streets had become unlivable. A bridge was built as an access to where the new town would be built. The North Bridge which is still in use today. The area of land the Nor Loch once covered before being drained is now Waverley Rail Station (originally Canal Street Station) and Princes Street Gardens.
When the plans for the new town were agreed King George III named the streets, with the main street after himself (George Street). The other streets of the town were named as follows: Queen Street, named after his wife the Queen, St. Giles Street after the city's patron saint, St. Giles, Saint Andrew Square after the Patron Saint of Scotland and George Square after the Patron Saint of England. Later the smaller street between George Street and Queen Street was named Thistle Street after Scotland's national emblem. The smaller street between George Street and St. Giles Street was named Rose Street after England's national emblem. King George, after some consideration, decided to rename
St Giles Street, as St Giles being the Patron Saint of lepers and also the name of a slum area on the edge of the City of London. He renamed it Princes Street after his two sons, George, later to become George IV and the Duke of York.
The name of George Square was also changed to Charlotte Square after his wife Charlotte the Queen as there was already a George Square just outside the old city wall. Thistle Street was also renamed, when split into three separate street names, from the west end. It became Young Street then Hill Street after the architects who built the new town with the final part remaining Thistle Street, now half the length of Rose Street. The three streets running across the main street (George Street) completing the new town area, Castle Street named for the view of the castle, Frederick Street after the king’s father Frederick and Hanover Street was after the Royal house of Hanover.
The main access to the new town was by the North Bridge. The Nor Loch was drained and the debris from the excavations of the new town was piled up in the middle of the now dry bed of the loch and formed a further access between the old and new town of Edinburgh which was called the Mound. The gardens were then formed on both sides of the Mound in the dry bed where the loch had been at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, which had protected the old town from invasion from any enemies. The Nor Loch ran from what is now Lothian Road to under the North Bridge. The first buildings in the New Town to be built were in Rose Court, now Thistle Court, at the east end of Thistle Street in 1767. This building can still be seen today. As the new town grew and many modern inventions were coming to the front Edinburgh street lighting was modernised and changes to gas in 1823.