Gladstones Land (Edinburgh)

Gladstone's Land is a surviving 17th century high-tenement house situated in the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It has been restored and furnished by the National Trust for Scotland, and is operated as a popular tourist attraction.

The "Land" (sited at 477b Lawnmarket) was originally built in 1550, but was bought and redeveloped in 1617 by a prosperous Edinburgh merchant and burgess Thomas Gledstanes. The work was completed in 1620. Its prominent sitting (on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood) and the extent of its accommodation mark out the affluence of its mercantile owner. The cramped conditions of the Old Town, and the physical size of the lot, meant that the house could only be extended in depth or in height. As a result, the house is six storeys tall.

In 1934, the building was condemned and scheduled for demolition, until it was rescued by the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust fully restored the first two floors of the building, uncovering original renaissance painted ceilings in the process. At ground level, there is an arcade frontage and reconstructed shop booth, complete with replicas of 17th century wares. This would originally have provided shelter for the merchant's customers.

Outside the entrance to the building is a hanging sign with the date 1617 and a gilt-copper hawk with outstretched wings. Although not original, the significance of this is that the name "Gledstone" is derived from the Scots word "gled" meaning a hawk.

By the mid-18th century, Edinburgh's Old Town was no longer a fashionable address. Increased population and cramped conditions encouraged the flight of the affluent to the developing New Town. Today, visitors to the city can contrast Gladstone's Land to the Trust's restored example of a New Town residence, The Georgian House, at No. 7 Charlotte Square.

 

Top tourist attractions:

United Kingdom - Edinburgh

St Giles Cathedral
Palace of Holyroodhouse
National Museum of Scotland
Calton Hill
Edinburgh Castle
Outlook Tower and Camera Obscura

National Gallery of Scotland
Dean Village
Greyfriars Kirk
Royal Botanic Garden
Gladstones Land

 

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