Recollections  -  Edinburgh New Town

Picardy Place

Picardy Place is near the top of Leith Walk.

It is a continuation of York Place.


Recollections by Gordon Smith


Thank you to Gordon Smith, singer, songwriter and guitarist, formerly of Edinburgh and now living in Netherlands, who wrote:

Cars Today

"My earliest memories of the old city are of Picardy Place, number 5, my Grandparents' home.

Sadly, where once those proud dwellings stood, only a big bronze foot remains, around which cars drive."

Sculptures on the pavement outside St Mary's Cathedral at the top of Leith Walk  - 'Foot'  by Eduardo Paolozzi

Horses & Carts

"Early in the the mornings, the sound of horse shoes and iron-clad cartwheels on the cobbled streets preceded that of the trams, and the city would awaken again."

Gas Lights

"I clearly remember the gas lights being lit in the stairway in the evenings, and the colour they gave."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Zoom-in to a statue of Sherlock Homes,  created by Arthur Conan Doyle who lived close to this spot at Picardy Place

"Before my arrival there(!), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle resided at number 11.  I was once fascinated to see a few seconds of early film which showed him sitting on the steps by, presumably, his front door.

The statue above is placed where the buildings on the south side of Picardy Place would have stood.  These have been demolished, but those on the north side are still standing.    - Peter Stubbs

Old Engraving

    Engraving from Modern Athens  -  hand-coloured  -  The Catholic Chapel at Picardy Place

"Although the buildings no longer stand, I am thrilled to see the engraving. Number 5 is on the extreme left in the picture, and that window on the second floor is one of three in 'the big room' of my Grandparents' house.  The entire section comprised six apartments."

The engraving above was published in 1829.  The view looks to the south from the top of Broughton Street.  The church in the centre of the picture is St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral.  The buildings on the extreme left are on the south side of Picardy Place and those on the right are on the south side of York Place.      - Peter Stubbs

Grandparents' House

"Granny and Grandad were Mr and Mrs Nicoll.  The only name of other occupants I remember is Valenti, on the third floor.

It's slightly ironic that, although we have photos taken from the inside of those windows, we are extremely grateful to an artist who, many years previous to our existence, gave us a view of the outside!

Gordon adds

Do you remember Picardy Place?

"If anyone recognises any aspect of this message, or even simply would like to communicate, please email me.

Thank you again.  Lang may yer lum reek!"

Gordon Smith, Netherlands:  Message in Guest Book, December 18, 2007


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