At the Westernmost end of the originally conceived “New Town”, is a beautiful Square. Leading from it, the wide thoroughfare of George Street with it’s high end shops, boutiques, cafes and hotels takes you to the other end of this phase of Edinburgh’s development at St Andrew’s Square.
Charlotte Square has a private garden at its centre.
Which at this point in spring is edged with cheerful flowers.
This is surrounded on 4 sides by elegant Georgian Buildings, some much as they have always been, others re-purposed such as St George’s Church which now houses the Scottish Records Office. The original design for the square was drawn up by Robert Adam who set certain parameters for the buildings to ensure an overall style. Individual owners could choose any architect they liked so the buildings have a subtle variety of styles within an overall Georgian context. On the North side you will find the National Trust for Scotland’s Georgian House and next door, Bute House the official residence of the Scottish First Minister.
As in my earlier post about Rutland Square, you’ll notice the elegant lamp posts outside this and other properties. Unlike Rutland Square which was built at the point that gas lighting became common, when this area was built, candles and oil lamps were used indoors and when people went out, they were accompanied by boys carrying flaming torches. If the owners visited another house, the torchbearer would extinguish his torch when they entered and await their departure before re-lighting it. A bit like today where you see horrible marks of cigarettes being stubbed out on walls, the same problem existed then, though the “stubs” were rather larger. This was solved by the expedient of providing a “snuffer” at doorways which meant that instead of stubbing the torch on a solid surface, it could be inserted into a funnel shaped appendage which quickly cut off the oxygen and extinguished the torch.
these still exist outside most of the properties on Charlotte Square ….. another reason to keep your eyes open for the little things as you walk around.