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New Town North Edinburgh

The New town was quickly occupied by the wealthy from the old town and Canongate and an extension to the New Town was required by adding streets  to the west and east of queen street and on the northside of Queen Street Gardens.

This Page covers York Place, Albyn Place, Ainslie Place,  Randolph Crescent, Forres Street and Moray Place.

York Place

New Town North Edinburgh

York Place was part of the northern extension of the new town a continuation of Queen Street and is unchanged since built circa 1820. There were many distinguished families who occupied the houses of this thoroughfare.

York Place

Sir Henry Raeburn

Henry Raeburn was a portrait painter and was born in Stockbridge Edinburgh in 1756 and died in Stockbridge Edinburgh 1823. He built a house in 32 York Place, this was where he painted, from 1795 – 1809. He was knighted in 1822 by King George IV and is recognised as Scotland’s most famous portrait painter. His best known work being “The Skating Minister” The Rev. Robert Walker of the Canongate Kirk skating on Duddingston Loch.

The painting is in the National Gallery of Scotland. The main street in Stockbridge being Raeburn Place named after the painter near where he was born and also died. 

henry raeburn artist studio queen street edinburgh.png
statues of Sir Henry Raeburn and Viscount Stair scottish national portrait gallery queen street edinburgh
sir henry raeburn plaque york place edinburgh

James Nasmyth Birthplace

York Place Edinburgh

James Nasmyth Inventor

James Nasmyth born 47 York Place Edinburgh in 1808 became a Scottish engineer famed for inventing the steam hammer in 1842 and many other engineering firsts in his foundry in Manchester. He produced many tools and steam engines. His father Alex was a renowned Scottish artist. 

Alexander Nasmyth Artist

Alexander Nasmyth born in 1758 in Edinburgh live at 47 York Place and was said to be the father of Scottish Landscape Painting. He Studied under Allan Ramsay and as a friend of Robert Burns was fortunate enough to be the only one to paint a portrait of Robert Burns that exists today.

james Nasmyth plaque york place edinburgh
james Nasmyth birthplace york place edinburgh

Albyn Place 

New Town North Edinburgh

Albyn Place was a later addition to building the Edinburgh New Town as when the new town was built there were no buildings on the northside ot the street as it would obscure the view. 


Allan Campbell Swinton

Allan Campbell Swinton was born in Edinburgh in 1863 at 9 Albyn Place. Allan Swinton was educated at Fettes College Edinburgh. Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton was an electrical engineer and specialised in radiology and wireless. He was first to use x-rays in England. He became the President of the Rontgen Society of London in 1911, and was President of the Wireless Society in 1913.

Albyn Place
Alan Swinton Plaque. Edinburgh
Alan Swinton House Albyn Place Edinburgh
Ainslie Place

Ainslie Place

New Town North Edinburgh

Francis Cadell

Francis Cadell Scottish Colourist from Edinburgh. Francis C B Cadell RSA was born at no 22 Ainslie Place Edinburgh and later lived at No. 6 where he also had his studio. Francis Cadell was a well-known Scottish artist, however was never deemed to be great and he died penniless. After his death in 1937,

a painting was sold at auction in 2009 for a 6 figure amount.

Francis Cadell Plaque Ainslie Place Edinburgh

Other Residents of Ainslie Place

William Edmondstone Ayton lived at 16 Ainslie Place who was a humorist and Professor of rhetoric at the University of Edinburgh. He wrote his famous poem “Bothwell” close by at No.16 Great Stuart Street Edinburgh. 

Moray Place

Moray Place 

New Town North Edinburgh

William Graham

William Graham 1 Moray Place William Graham was a pioneer for secondary education for girls and the principal founder of the Scottish Institution for the education of young Ladies. In 1847 the Educational Institute of Scotland (E.I.S) was set up. 

William Graham Plaque Moray Place Edinbu

Other residents of Moray Place

Lord Francis Jeffrey at No.24 and at No.34 Baron David Hume nephew of David Hume philosopher. 

Randolph Crescent

Randolph Crescent

New Town North Edinburgh

Stevenson Sisters

Randolph Crescent the home of Flora Stevenson, Louisa Stevenson, and Elisa Stevenson in Edinburgh became one of the centres for women’s rights campaigning. They were founder members of the Ladies Educational Association. Flora Stevenson was elected onto the Governments School Board in 1873 and was so re-elected every year until her death in 1905. In her honour the Education board named a school after her which still is in use to this day. Louisa campaigned specifically for women to be allowed medical training and to qualify as doctors. She joined with Sophia Jex Blake to found the women’s medical college. Louisa later became a member of the executive committee of the National Union of Women’s suffrage society. Louisa Stevenson with Christian Guthrie Wright founded the Edinburgh School of Cookery in 1875 in Atholl Crescent Edinburgh. This school developed into The Queen Margaret University.

Louisa Stevenson

The other plaque reads; Louisa Stevenson 1835-1908 Christian Guthrie Wright 1844-1907 Campaigners for women’s education and founders of Queen Margaret University. Louisa Stevenson in 1859 moved with her family to Randolph Crescent where Louisa, Flora, Elisa Stevenson three sisters and Jane Stevenson also avid Suffragettes spent the rest of their lives. The plaque below left is at 5 Atholl Crescent and the the plaque on the right is at Randolph Crescent. 

Christian Guthrie Wright

Christian Guthrie Wright was born 1844 in Glasgow as Louisa. Christian moved to Edinburgh circa 1862 with her father.  She became a founder member of the Ladies’ Edinburgh Debating Society where she met Louisa Stevenson. She was also honorary treasurer of the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women. She died at her home in

2 Lansdowne Crescent, Edinburgh, on 24 February 1907. Louisa and Christian were able successful open cookery schools in Glasgow, Dundee, Newcastle, Manchester and London.

Stevenson Sisters Plaque Randolph Cresce
Forres Street

Forres Street 

New Town North Edinburgh


Thomas Chalmers

No. 3 Forres Street was the residence of Thomas Chalmers Leader of the Free Church. His statue stands in George Street.

Link to Statue Thomas Chalmers

Home of Thomas Chalmers 3 Forres Street

Weymss Place Mews

New Town North Edinburgh


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Library of Mistakes
Library of Mistakes Edinburgh
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