Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A Year in Pictures – 22 and 23 March 2015 – Exploring Edinburgh

On Sunday 22 March my wife and I met the parents of the bridegroom of the previous day and members of their close and wider family for morning coffee. Afterwards, in the bright sunshine and crisp cold, we made our way to the centre of Edinburgh at a relaxed pace  through the Meadows. On the north side of the Meadows there once stood the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, which was sold to developers in 2001 and the site is now known as Quartermile—a mixture of the old hospital buildings and glassy new blocks designed by Foster & Partners and encompassing a variety of residential and commercial uses (including office, retail and leisure). Along the northern side of the Meadows the older buildings alternate with the new structures and the result, part of which you see above, is—to my eye at least, if not to everyone's—both striking and convincing.

On Monday the 23rd we walked to the western end of the New Town that lies to the north of Edinburgh Castle and from there down into the gorge through which flows the Water of Leith. Here is a very atmospheric collection of former mill buildings, warehouses and workers' cottages known as Dean Village. This was for 800 years the centre of Edinburgh's grain milling (and until the 19th century a village independent from the city). The powerful flow of the river at one time powered as many as eleven watermills. After a period of neglect and decline occasioned by the development of large commercial mills to the east, the area began to be revived in the 1970s and is now a mix of desirable residences and architectural and design businesses.

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