Timeline of Edinburgh history
This article is a timeline of the history of Edinburgh, Scotland, up to the present day. It traces its rise from an early hill fort and later royal residence to the bustling city and capital of Scotland that it is today.
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|History of Scotland|
Pre-1st century AD: Late Bronze Age (c.600 BC) weapons were found in Duddingston Loch in 1778. Traces of four Iron Age forts have been identified at Arthur's Seat, Dunsapie Crag, Salisbury Crags and Samson's Ribs.
c.600: The traditional date of the military campaign, starting out from Edinburgh ("Din Eydin"), commemorated in the Old Welsh poem Y Gododdin by the poet Aneirin. At this time the inhabitants of the region spoke predominantly Old Welsh (the ancestor of modern Welsh). The name of the king or chief whom the poem names as the leader of the Gododdin was Mynyddawc Mwynvawr.
c.638: Edinburgh is besieged by unknown forces, according to a chronicle kept at Iona in the Hebrides. Many scholars have supposed that this siege marks the passing of control of the fort of Din Eydin from the Gododdin to the Northumbrian Angles, led by Oswald of Northumbria
854: The 12thC chronicler Symeon of Durham mentions a church at Edwinesburch in 854 AD
934: Athelstan attacks Lothian – according to the Annals of Clonmacnoise, "Adalstan king of the Saxons preyed & spoyled the kingdom of Scotland to Edenburrogh, & yet the Scottishmen compelled him to return without any great victory"
c.960: Edinburgh comes under Scottish rule during the reign of Indulf (954–62)
1128: King David I founds Holyrood Abbey
c.1130: Probable date of St Margaret's Chapel erected inside Edinburgh Castle, now recognised as Edinburgh's oldest building
1243: Edinburgh's parish church dedicated to St Giles
1274: Lothian is an archdeaconry of St. Andrews
1296: Edward I captures and garrisons Edinburgh Castle after a three-day-long siege employing catapults
1326–1331: Edinburgh's contribution to Scottish burgh taxes is 15%, half that of Aberdeen
1328: The Treaty of Edinburgh is signed guaranteeing Scottish independence
1330: Wall between High Street and Cowgate is first mentioned
1334: Scotland loses Berwick and Edinburgh Castle to the English (the loss of her main port increases the importance of Edinburgh and Leith)
1335: The castle is refortified by Edward III of England
1341: Scots regain castle from English
1356: Burnt Candlemas: Edward III burns the town but then retreats from lack of provisions
1357: David II returns after eleven years of captivity in England
1360: The castle is the usual royal residence, being strengthened in stone
1363: First reference to Grassmarket as "the street called Newbygging under the castle"
1364: David II grants ground for building of new tron (weigh beam)
1367: David II begins work on major fortifications at castle
1384: Duke of Lancaster extorts ransom following end of truce
1385: Richard II of England burns the town
1387: Five new chapels are added to the Church of St Giles following English damage in 1385
1398: Edinburgh buys the east bank of the Water of Leith at South Leith from Sir Robert Logan with the right to erect wharves and quays and to make roads through the lands of Restalrig (the later Easter Road) for the transport of goods and merchandise to and from the town
1403: The earliest burgh record mentions the "Pretorio burgi" – the Old Tolbooth
1414: Edinburgh is granted further lands at Leith by Sir Robert Logan
1427: King's Wall first recorded
1438: The Old Tolbooth is used by the Estates of Parliament for the first time
1440s: Edinburgh has 47% of Scottish wool trade
1450: James II grants charter permitting the building of a defensive town wall
1451: First record of Incorporation of Skinners
1458: Edinburgh has one of three supreme courts in the country
1474: Furriers and Tailors crafts become incorporations
1479: A hospital is set up in Leith Wynd; Cordiners second Seal of Cause (a charter of privileges) granted
1482: James III awards the Crafts of Edinburgh the flag known as the 'Blue Blanket'
1485: Oppressive rules against dealings with inhabitants of Leith; stone tenements appear in the town
1488: Seal of Cause granted to the Incorporation of Fleshers
1490: The Franciscan friary closes
1492: Goldsmiths, originally part of Incorporation of Hammermen, form their own incorporation; Baxters incorporated
1503: James IV marries Margaret Tudor
1510: Edinburgh purchases Newhaven from the Crown
1512: Launching of the "Great Michael" at Newhaven
1520: "Cleanse the Causey" (30 April); pitched battle on the High Street between the Douglas and Hamilton clans leads to the Earl of Angus (Douglas) seizing control of the town; Edinburgh is the "seat of courts of justice"
1523: The town has fourteen craft guilds
1528: James V enters the town with an army, to assert his right to rule; Holyrood Palace is extended
c.1528–c.1542: printing in Edinburgh re-established under royal licence granted to Thomas Davidson
1530: There are 288 brewers, mostly "alewives", in the town, one for every forty people; Bonnetmakers craft receives Seal of Cause
1532: The Court of Session is established
1534: Norman Gourlay and David Stratton are burnt as heretics
1535–1556: Edinburgh contributes over 40% of Scotland's burgh taxation
1537: Jane Douglas is burnt at the stake
c.1540: Magdalen Chapel built in the Cowgate
1547: Scottish army defeated by an English army at the battle of Pinkie six miles east of Edinburgh; the routed Scots are pursued as far as Holyrood outside the town walls
1561: Town council quells apprentice riot against banning (by 1555 Act of Parliament) of traditional May Day "Robin Hood" pageant; Mary, Queen of Scots returns to Scotland
1562: St. Giles' churchyard having reached capacity, Queen Mary grants town the use of the grounds of the Greyfriars as a new burial ground; Convenery of the Trades of Edinburgh established
1566: David Rizzio is stabbed to death and Queen Mary is held captive in Holyrood Palace by Scottish nobles
1569: The town is hit by an outbreak of the plague
1571: Netherbow Port rebuilt
1574: The castle's Half-Moon Battery is built; there are seven mills in Edinburgh
1579: James VI makes his state entry
1580s: There are some 400 merchants in Edinburgh
1581: James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton is executed for complicity in the murder of Lord Darnley
1583: Edinburgh, previously a single parish, divided into four parishes, each with its own minister; There are an estimated 500 merchants and 500 craftsmen in the town, of which 250 are tailors
1588: 736 merchants and 717 craftsmen enlisted for defence of the town against the Spanish Armada threat
1590: First paper mill in Scotland opens at Dalry Mills (near Roseburn)
1591: Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell escapes from imprisonment in the castle
1592: The kirk session of St. Giles conducts the first Edinburgh census: there are 2,239 households with 8,003 adults (over 12 years of age), split evenly between north and south of the High Street; 45 per cent of the employed (4,360) are domestic servants in households of the legal and merchant professions and town houses of the landed class
1593: Earl of Bothwell take over at Holyrood Palace
1594: Earl of Bothwell fails to seize the town
1595: Bailie John McMorran shot dead during an occupation by scholars of the Grammar School in High School Yards
1596: Clergy demand arms to defend King and Church against "papists"; Society of Brewers formed
1599: The Convention of Estates meeting in Edinburgh ordains that the new year should begin on 1 January instead of 25 March
1600: Roads out of Edinburgh number twelve; the town council orders a gun salute, church bells rung and bonfires lit in thanks for King James's escape from the Gowrie conspiracy; royal printers active in the period included Robert Waldegrave and Robert Charteris
1602–c.1620: Construction of Greyfriars Kirk
1604: Execution by hanging of a chief of the MacGregors and eleven of his clansmen for the Colquhoun massacre
1606: Netherbow Port rebuilt, replacing ruinous 1571 Port
1608: Town council orders bonfires lit on 5 November in remembrance of the treasonable Gunpowder Plot
1610–1621: Printer Andro Hart active
1611: Town council appoints three postmasters with responsibility for the hiring of post horses.
1618: Some tenement buildings reach seven storeys; population c. 25,000, of which approx. 475 are merchants
1620: Construction of Tailors Hall in the Cowgate
1621: Edinburgh and Leith pays 44% of Scottish non-wine customs duty, and 66% of wine duty
1622: "Lady Gray's House", later "Lady Stair's House" (now the Writers' Museum), built; fleshers required to move slaughterhouses to banks of the North Loch
1628–1659: Construction of Heriot's Hospital
c.1628–1636: Telfer Wall, named after its builder, is built to enclose Greyfriars Kirk and Heriot's Hospital within the town's defences
1635: First public Post established between Edinburgh and London by royal authority
1639: Decisions of Glasgow Church of Scotland assembly ratified
1640: Completion of Parliament House
1641: Birth of Sir Robert Sibbald, Geographer Royal
1642 or 1645: Mary King's Close abandoned
1647: James Gordon of Rothiemay's map of Edinburgh; completion of the Tron Kirk
1649: Scottish Estates proclaim succession of Charles II on 5 February; execution of George Gordon, 2nd Marquis of Huntly by Covenanters; the suburbs of West Port and Potterrow purchased by the town council and erected into the barony of Portsburgh
1650: Execution of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, by hanging; surrender of Edinburgh Castle to invading forces of Oliver Cromwell; early fire engine in Edinburgh; much of the Palace of Holyrood destroyed by fire;
1652: Introduction of a stagecoach to London with a journey time of a fortnight
1653: General Assembly broken up by English forces
1655: Council of state established; ministers yielded to the English
1659: Camel seen for the first time in the city ("Ane great beast calit ane drummondary, cleven futted like unto a kow.")
1661: Execution of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquis of Argyll
1663: Execution of Archibald Johnston of Warriston, co-author of the National Covenant of 1638; Edinburgh buys the burgh of regality of Leith Citadel
1674: German engineer, Peter Brauss or Brusche, creates a piped water supply, drawn gravitationally from Comiston Springs, three and a half miles from the city, to a cistern on Castle Hill; after a major fire in the High Street the town council orders all ruinous and burned tenements henceforth to be rebuilt in stone
1675: Physic garden planted at Holyrood founded by Robert Sibbald
1678: First regular stagecoach to Glasgow
1679: Some 1200 Covenanters are imprisoned at Greyfriars after the battle of Bothwell Brig; some are executed in the Grassmarket; town council organises a Town Guard (or City Guard) for prevention of crime and disorder (disbanded 1817)
1681: Royal College of Physicians founded by Robert Sibbald under patronage of the Duke of Albany and York (later King James VII and II); Merchant Company of Edinburgh receives Royal Charter; Viscount Stair's Institutions of the Laws of Scotland published
1682: Advocates' Library, forerunner of the National Library of Scotland, founded by Sir George Mackenzie with the Duke of Albany as patron; Mons Meg bursts during salute to the Duke of Albany and York on his entry to the town
1687: Goldsmiths granted Royal Charter
1689: The Convention of Estates accepts the rule of William of Orange by right of conquest; Leven's Regiment (later K.O.S.B.) raised for defence of the city against Jacobites; John Chiesley of Dalry hanged for the murder of the Lord Advocate, Sir George Lockhart
1690s: Legal profession calculated to be more wealthy than merchant class; over 20% of the population employed in manufacture
1691: New Kirk of the Canongate completed; tax records reveal the city has 18 schoolmasters, 7 schoolmistresses, 40 booksellers, printers and stationers, and 65 wigmakers
1694: Professional classes outnumber merchants; 200 legals (advocates to lawyers), 24 surgeons, and 33 physicians; other occupations included aleseller, executioner, royal trumpeter, and keeper of the signet; ratio of sexes, 70 males:100 females; domestic servants number over 5000
1697: Execution of Thomas Aikenhead for blasphemy
1698: Five ships set sail from Leith on 14 July to found a Scottish colony on the Isthmus of Darien
1700: Fire destroys Edinburgh's, some say Europe's, highest buildings behind St. Giles; Darien venture fails when colony is abandoned
1702: Advocates Library moved from Faculty of Advocates to Parliament House
1706: Framework knitters from Haddington are working in Edinburgh
1711: David Hume, philosopher, is born
1713: The main radial roads into Edinburgh are turnpiked
1718: Edinburgh Evening Courant newspaper is launched; damasks are woven at Drumsheugh
1722: Signet Library is founded
1725: Barony of Calton (including Calton Hill) purchased by the city
1727: Royal Bank of Scotland established
1729: The city's first infirmary is opened
1735: Golf is played on Bruntsfield Links; also the traditional date for the founding of the Royal Burgess Golfing Society
1737: The Lord Provost is debarred from office following the riots
1738: Edinburgh is described as the "world's leading medical centre"; George Watson's College is founded
1739: The Scots Magazine is first published in the city
1740: There are four printing firms in Edinburgh; the biographer James Boswell is born
1741: Royal Infirmary designed by William Adam opens in, what became, Infirmary Street
1744: The first premises at Fountainbridge are built, with more than five looms; first known rules of golf drawn up in Edinburgh for the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh for a competition at Leith Links
1746: The British Linen Company is formed
1747: A theatre is established at Playhouse Close in the Canongate
1749: A stagecoach service opens between Edinburgh and Glasgow
1750: Birth of the poet Robert Fergusson
1751: A survey shows a severe state of dilapidation in the Old Town
1753: Stagecoach services are introduced to London (taking two weeks)
1755: Dr. Webster's census puts the population of Edinburgh, Canongate, St Cuthbert's and Leith at 57,220
1757–1770: Linen weaving works in Canongate
1758: Stagecoach services are introduced to Newcastle (taking one week)
1760: Thomas Braidwood establishes first school in Britain for deaf children; the main linen stamping office is in the city
1760s: Woollen cloth is beetled in a lapping house in Edinburgh
1761: The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society is formed
1763: Draining of the eastern end of the Nor Loch and construction of the North Bridge, designed by William Mylne, begins; St Cecilia's Hall, by Robert Mylne, Scotland's first purpose-built concert hall, erected; a four-horse coach runs to Glasgow three times a week
1764: Netherbow Port demolished to facilitate traffic flow
1765: The Glasgow coach now runs daily
1767: Construction of the New Town begins with the first residence being built in Thistle Court.
1768-71: First edition of Encyclopædia Britannica produced in Anchor Close
1769: Opening of the first Theatre Royal at the north end of the North Bridge; 5 people killed by the collapse of the bridge's southern abutment; Society of Bowlers founded and draws up rules of the game
1770: The British Linen Company switches to banking
1770s: There are 27 competing printing firms in the city
1771: Sir Walter Scott is born in College Wynd
1775: Population of Edinburgh, Canongate, St Cuthbert's and Leith is 70,430; new St Cuthbert's Church opens; a directory of brothels and prostitutes is published
1778: Younger's brewery established within the precincts of Holyrood Abbey
1780: National Museum of Antiquities established as part of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (later housed in the Royal Institution on The Mound in 1827 and in Queen Street in 1891)
1781: Construction of the "Earthen Mound" begins
1782: System of parliamentary representation is criticised by Thomas McGrugar in "Letters of Zeno"
1783: Royal Society of Edinburgh created by Royal Charter for "the advancement of learning and useful knowledge"; Society of Antiquaries of Scotland incorporated by Royal Charter for "the study of the antiquities and history of Scotland..."
1784: James Tytler makes the first hot-air balloon ascent in Britain from Comely Gardens to Restalrig village; meeting discusses corrupt electoral system
1785: Italian balloonist Vincent Lunardi makes his first Scottish hydrogen balloon flight from the grounds of Heriot's School, landing 46 miles away in Ceres, Fife; Old Tolbooth becomes usual place of execution
1785–1786: Stone bridge at Stockbridge
1785–1788: The South Bridge is built
1787: New Assembly Rooms opened in George Street
1791: A census puts the population of the city at 82,706 with 29,718 in the City of Edinburgh (22,512 in the Old Town and 7,206 in the New Town), 6,200 in Canongate Parish, 32,947 in St Cuthbert's Parish, 11,432 in South Leith Parish and 2,409 in North Leith Parish; Robert Burns visits the city for the second and last time
1792: The Friends of the People Society meets for the first time; Charlotte Square designed by Robert Adam; James Craig's Old Observatory completed on Calton Hill
1793: Sedition trials held:Thomas Muir of Huntershill and other radical reformers are sentenced to transportation
1794: Robert Watt, a former spy, is sentenced to death for "Pike Plot"
1797: Snuff manufacturer James Gillespie dies after bequeathing a hospital for the aged poor and a "free school for the education of poor boys"
1799: City has access to 3 million litres of drinking water a day
1800: Stein's Canongate brewery is built
1802: Demolition of the Luckenbooths (apart from east-most) in the High Street begins; architects William Sibbald and Robert Reid produce a final plan for the building of a 'Second New Town' north of James Craig's New Town; the Edinburgh Review is published
1802–1806: Bank of Scotland head office is built
1805: Edinburgh Police Act establishes Police Commissioners with responsibility for policing the city (and also cleansing and lighting)
1810: Construction of Signet Library building by Robert Reid begins (interior by William Stark, 1812–13)
1811–1812: Tron riot
1815: Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society established
1816–1819: Regent Bridge is built
1817: First copy of The Scotsman newspaper is published on 25 January 1817; Blackwood's Magazine first published; the Old Tolbooth and the remaining Luckenbooth in the High Street are demolished; new County Buildings are erected on the west side of Parliament Square
1818: The Union Canal is begun; new Calton Hill observatory is founded by the Edinburgh Astronomical Institution; the Scottish regalia are found in Edinburgh Castle; Cambridge geologist and antiquarian Edward Daniel Clarke likens Edinburgh topographically to Athens, a view echoed in 1820 by landscape painter Hugh William Williams who coins the terms "Modern Athens" and "Athens of the North"; gas lighting makes its first appearance
1819: Five coaches a day run between Edinburgh and Glasgow, taking 12 hours for the journey of 42 miles (68 km)
1820: Remaining western end of the Nor Loch drained; Charlotte Square completed; there are protests at George IV's treatment of Queen Caroline; the Royal Botanic Garden begins its move from Leith Walk to Inverleith; the Radical Road built along base of Salisbury Crags
1821: The official government census gives the population of Edinburgh and Leith as 138,235 with Leith as approx. 26,000; Melville Monument in honour of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville erected in St. Andrew Square
1822-29: Building of National Monument dedicated to Napoleonic war dead and designed in style of the Parthenon begun on Calton Hill (but abandoned through lack of public subscriptions)
1823: The Bannatyne Club is founded; the Edinburgh Academy is built at a cost of £12,000
1824: The "Great Fire of 1824" destroys the buildings between the Tron Kirk (which loses its spire) and Parliament Close just months after James Braidwood organises Britain's first municipal fire brigade; James Hogg's novel Confessions of a Justified Sinner, set in Edinburgh, is published
1825: Standard Life Assurance Company established; eight Royal Mail coaches and over fifty stage coaches leave Edinburgh each day; the foundation stone of the new Royal High School, costing £17,000, is laid
1826: The Royal Institution opens, designed by William Henry Playfair; the Scottish Academy (later the Royal Scottish Academy) is founded; John Bartholomew founds the mapmaking firm John Bartholomew & Son Ltd.
1827 Walter Scott reveals himself to be the author of the Waverley novels at a Theatrical Fund dinner in the George Street Assembly Rooms
1828: Burke and Hare are arrested for the "West Port Murders". Burke is put on trial and convicted on Hare's evidence
1830: Advocates' Library by William Henry Playfair constructed; The Mound is macadamised and more or less complete
1831: The official government census puts Edinburgh's population at 162,403; James Clerk Maxwell born in India Street; opening of the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway (known as The Innocent Railway), the first to come into the city. It uses horse-drawn carriages
1832: Surgeons' Hall by William Henry Playfair, the headquarters of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, completed; outbreak of cholera in the city (recurs 1848 and 1866); The Scotsman newspaper incorporates the Caledonian Mercury
1833: The city goes bankrupt; partly due to the development of Leith docks
1835: No further expansion of the New Town takes place after the incomplete building of Hopetoun Crescent off Leith Walk
1836: The Royal Institution extended
1840: Bernard's Edinburgh Brewery in North Back of Canongate (Calton Road) opens
1841: The population according to the government census is 133,692. The figure for Leith is 26,026
1841–1851: Donaldson's Hospital (school for the Deaf) is built
1842: Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line is open to the public; Queen Victoria includes the city in her first visit to Scotland
1844–1846: The Scott Monument is built
1846: New College by Playfair built for the Free Church of Scotland; publication of pioneering inquiry 'Day And Night In The Wynds Of Edinburgh' by Dr. George Bell draws public attention to poverty, overcrowding and slum conditions in the Old Town; North British Railway opens the North Bridge terminus of its Berwick-Edinburgh line
1847: Half of Edinburgh's population attend the funeral of Thomas Chalmers; Dr. Simpson announces his discovery of the anaesthetic properties of chloroform; the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway line is extended from its Haymarket terminus to a new Edinburgh General station adjoining the new Canal Street station and North British terminus (the three termini becoming known collectively as Edinburgh Waverley, c.1854); Alexander Graham Bell is born in South Charlotte Street
1849: New reservoir building erected on Castlehill
1851: According to the census, Edinburgh and Leith's population is 191,303; the British Linen Bank head office opens on St. Andrew Square
1852: Duke of Wellington statue erected in front of Register House
1854: Several passers-by killed when part of the old town wall collapses on the west side of Leith Wynd; town council orders removal of a 150 foot long stretch of remaining wall south of the collapsed section.
1856: Edinburgh Municipal Extension Act incorporates the Canongate, Calton and Portsburgh in the city; North British Rubber Company rubber mill (in former silk mill) and McEwan's Fountain Brewery open in Fountainbridge
1857: Fire destroys the western half of James' Court, off the Lawnmarket; St. Margaret's Loch formed in the Queen's Park
1859: The National Gallery opens; Cockburn Street laid to give access to Waverley Station from the High Street; Melville Drive laid through the Meadows; Arthur Conan Doyle born in Picardy Place: last performance at the Theatre Royal in Shakespeare Square, the site is compulsorily purchased for the erection of a General Post Office; first St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society shop opens on corner of Fountainbridge and Ponton Street
1860: Bank of Scotland has 43 branches
1861: Building of Industrial Museum (called the Museum of Science and Art by the time it opened and later the Royal Scottish Museum) begins beside the Old College of the University; construction of the General Post Office on Waterloo Place (on the site of the Theatre Royal) begins; first firing of the Time Gun ("one o'clock gun") from the castle; 35 are killed in a tenement collapse between Bailie Fyfe's Close and Paisley Close in the High Street
1864: last public hanging in the Lawnmarket; the Bank of Scotland head office re-designed and extended over the next six years
1865: Dr. Littlejohn's report on the city's sanitation paints a picture of degradation and high death rates; Queen's Theatre and Opera House, built in 1855 in Broughton Street, changes name to Theatre Royal
1867: The Edinburgh City Improvement Act, conceived in the wake of Littlejohn's report, receives the Royal assent and initiates the rebuilding of the Old Town; Scottish Women's Suffrage Society holds meetings for first time
1868: Craigleith Hospital and Poorhouse opens, later develops into the Western General Hospital
1870: First Princes Street railway station opens (replaced 1893); Fettes College opens; Chambers Street is laid
1870–1879: Building of the new Royal Infirmary, the biggest hospital in Europe under one roof
1871: First street tramway (between the Bridges and Haymarket); Greyfriars Bobby Fountain is erected outside Greyfriars Kirk; first rugby international (Scotland v. England) played on the Edinburgh Academy ground at Raeburn Place
1872: Ross Fountain erected in Princes Street Gardens; construction of Watt Institution and School of Arts begins in Chambers Street
1872–1883: Restoration of St. Giles'
1874: Heart of Midlothian F.C. formed
1877: Hall of new Trinity Church in Chalmers Close completed incorporating apse from Trinity College Kirk₭
1879: St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Palmerston Place consecrated; R. L. Stevenson's Picturesque Notes, describing the city and its society, is published; William Ewart Gladstone addresses 20,000 people in Waverley Market at start of Midlothian Campaign
1881: Queen Victoria hosts a parade of 39,473 Scottish Volunteers in a heavy downpour of rain at Holyrood, giving rise to the occasion being remembered as the "Wet Review"; Dean Distillery opens, converted from Dean Mills
1883: Royal Lyceum Theatre built
1884: Blackford Hill acquired by the city for use as a public park
1885: Watt Institution and School of Arts becomes Heriot-Watt College; reconstructed Mercat Cross handed over to the city by benefactor William Ewart Gladstone; Caledonian Distillery opens at Haymarket, at one time the largest distillery in Europe
1886: The Edinburgh International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art takes place in the Meadows; 'Cooke's Circus', a combined circus and variety theatre, opens in East Fountainbridge
1889: Opening of the Braid Hills to the public following acquisition by the city
1891: Scottish National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland opens on Queen Street; the census gives Edinburgh's population as 269,407 (including 8,182 Portobello residents)
1895: Royal National Observatory built on Blackford Hill; first electric street lighting installed
1896: Portobello is incorporated into Edinburgh
1897: Opening of the rebuilt North Bridge at a cost of £90,000; cable car track laid in Princes Street
1900: Construction of new Midlothian County Buildings begins, replacing old County Hall of 1817; Stockbridge gains a library and hall; character actor Alastair Sim is born; Robert Younger's St Ann's Brewery, Abbeyhill begins brewing
1903: Caledonian Hotel opens; world's first floral clock installed in West Princes Street Gardens
1905: Moray House in Canongate becomes a teacher training centre
1905–1906: King's Theatre is built at Tollcross
1907: Work begins on constructing the Edinburgh College of Art
1910: First electric trams run; Bank of Scotland has 169 branches
1910–1913: Zoological Park laid out at Corstorphine
1910–1914: Usher Hall is built
1911: Empire Palace Theatre, now Festival Theatre, partially burns down during The Great Lafayette's final act. 10 people die, including The Great Lafayette, and the theatre is closed while the stage is rebuilt and reopened in 1913; 'Cooke's Circus', East Fountainbridge converted to the Palladium Cinema
1912: La Scala Electric Theatre (cinema) opens in Nicolson Street; the first purpose-built cinema in the city, the Haymarket, opens in Dalry Road
1914: Sixteen players of Heart of Midlothian F.C. enlist for active service in the Great War; seven players from the first team are subsequently killed in action; construction of Saughton Prison begins
1916: Zeppelin raid causes 11 fatalities; Bank of Scotland has first female employee
1916–1918: Tanks are built by Brown Brothers in the city
1923: Edinburgh Corporation Tramways operates its last cable-hauled tram; last hanging takes place at the Calton Prison (executions continue at Saughton Prison)
1928: The inaugural non-stop Flying Scotsman train hauled by the Flying Scotsman locomotive – regular journey time between Edinburgh and London cut to 7 hours 30 minutes; the city's first traffic lights are at Broughton Street
1929: Statues of Wallace and Bruce unveiled at the castle as part of sexcentenary celebrations to mark the granting of Robert the Bruce's burgh charter; Playhouse cinema opens; crematorium opens at Warriston Cemetery
1932: George Watson's College moves to Morningside
1934–1937: Construction of Sheriff Courthouse (now the High Court of Justiciary) in the Lawnmarket
1935: Ross Bandstand replaces the Victorian bandstand in Princes Street Gardens
1936: 17 per cent of Edinburgh's houses are overcrowded; Portobello Open Air Bathing Pool opens
1939: The Bank of Scotland has 266 branches; the headquarters of Edinburgh Savings Bank is built
1943: The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board is created, with its headquarters in Edinburgh
1946: A telephone upgrade takes place, allowing all-city dialling; major fire closes down the Theatre Royal, Broughton Street, the last of four Theatre Royals to be burnt out on this site
1946–1947: Electric trams in the city carry 16 million passengers a month
1948: First Military Tattoo performed at the castle (becomes an official part of the Festival in 1950)
1949: The Abercrombie Plan proposes major road developments in Edinburgh which remain unimplemented
1951: March of the Thousand Pipers on Princes Street and Gathering of the Clans at Murrayfield Stadium; two central (manual) phone exchanges handle over 9,500 lines
1952: Bank of Scotland takes over Union Bank of Scotland, giving 453 combined branches; Murrayfield Ice Arena (built 1938–39) opens after use as army depot since outbreak of war
1953: First royal visit of Queen Elizabeth to Edinburgh following her coronation. She attended a National Service at St Giles’ Cathedral on 24 June
1954: Last judicial execution (by hanging) takes place at Saughton Prison
1956: Edinburgh Corporation Tramways operates for the last time on 16 November; National Library of Scotland opens; USSR premier Nikolai Bulganin and Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev visit Holyrood Palace and Scottish National War Memorial
1958: Queen receives last debutantes at Holyrood Palace
1959: Old Town population declines to 2,000
1965: Princes Street railway station closes; the City Planning Committee announces the building of an inner ring road in the form of a partly elevated six-lane highway encircling central Edinburgh, but the plan is abandoned after public opposition and the negative findings of a public inquiry held at the end of 1967
1966: Heriot-Watt gains university status
1967: Mortonhall Crematorium is dedicated
1968: Palladium Theatre fails, and becomes a disco
1969: Bank of Scotland absorbs British Linen Bank; Tollcross Bus Depot closes
1970: City hosts the 9th Commonwealth Games; the St James' Centre, including New St. Andrews House, is completed
1972: A youth hostel opens at Eglinton Crescent; Bell's Mills are destroyed by an explosion; Eurovision Song Contest held in Usher Hall
1975: Local government reorganisation replaces Edinburgh Corporation with Lothian Regional Council and the City of Edinburgh District Council; Balerno, Currie, Ratho, Newbridge, Kirkliston and South Queensferry are included within the city boundary
1976: A new Fountain Brewery is built by Scottish & Newcastle (the last of its buildings demolished in 2012)
1980: Debenhams open a Princes Street store
1980s: Restoration of houses in the Old Town leads to a population increase in the area
1981: Royal Insurance Group headquarters moves to Glasgow
1984: Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Soviet Union, stays at Holyrood Palace during his visit to Scotland
1985: The population of the city is 440,000; Edinburgh University institutes a Chair of Parapsychology; Portobello Open Air Bathing Pool closes
1986: City hosts the 13th Commonwealth Games
1989: National Gallery of Scotland renovated
1993: First Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party held as an organised event
1994: Murrayfield Stadium rebuilt
1995: Cutty Sark Tall Ships at Leith Docks; Infirmary Street baths close
1998: The Museum of Scotland is built as an extension to the Royal Scottish Museum.
2002: A major fire destroys part of the Cowgate and buildings on the South Bridge
2004: The Scottish Parliament Building opens
2008: Work begins on new tramway (the project is beset by difficulties, taking six years to lay 14 km of track)
2009: City hosts the biggest international clan gathering as part of Homecoming Scotland
2010–13: Waverley Station roof renovated
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