Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Murray's World Tour of Edinburgh

Last week I had the chance to nip down to Edinburgh and do some walking with a camera, so I decided to collect a few photos of the places mentioned in Service of the Heir, after I'd had a poke round the Dean Village with a view to a future book. I ended up walking about eight miles, and here are some of the results ...

This is Charlotte Square, Adam's lovely unified frontage for all the houses on the north side. The Thomsons live here, and coincidentally the National Trust for Scotland's Georgian House is also here - a couple of lovely hours examining the fixtures and fittings and chatting with the knowledgeable guides. Thanks!

These are the completed new feus where Murray's father was hit by falling rubble. Turned out nicely, though, didn't they?

This is Queen Street - Murray's house is down at the far end on the right, where the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is now. There are still gardens on the left for most of the length of the street, and you can still see Fife over the Forth ...

(no, that's not Murray, definitely). Queen Street is one of the main three streets in the original new town, and George Street is the middle one: here it is.

This is where Murray meets Gavin Dundas out shopping with Catherine and Davina - still a very good shopping street, as you can see. But now you have to carry your own shopping home.
Now off to the Old Town, up the Bridges and left into the lower half of High Street. The street further down becomes the Canongate, where the Muir brothers move into a flat below that of Miss Christian Gordon of Balkiskan.

It wasn't far to the Canongate kirkyard for Matt's funeral: just across the road, really.

Up the other end of the High Street the street becomes the Lawnmarket and that's where Thomson, Dundas, Armstrong and Balneavis work in the Lawcourts.
Incidentally, John Knox is buried in an almost unmarked grave just in front of this building - but he's a bit too far in the past even for Murray.

These two shots are of the Grassmarket off which Jamie's family lives and the Muirs used to live. Mary and Murray meet the crippled man here by the well at night. I had a bit of a sit-down here, I must admit. Nearby is the Cowgate, much detested by Murray: here's the head of it.
It's just a turn up to the right here on to Candlemaker Row and you can climb up into Greyfriars Kirkyard, where Murray's father is buried. It's a great place to explore, and the photo for the front of Service of the Heir came from here. The minister, Richard Fraser, does sterling ecological work and has also set up some good projects for the local homeless.

On up the hill and past the end of Chambers Street, where I did pay a brief visit to the Royal Museum of Scotland (now, here's a thing: apparently J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in the cafe at this end of Chambers Street, but I remember that cafe opening and I was sure she had instead written it in the cafe at the other end of Chambers Street, the one where the librarians from the museum used to lunch on pay day. Anyway, I'm not sure the vibes are that helpful to a historical crime writer). Then on to the Meadows. There's a grand little independent bookshop in the new development just here, the Quarter Mile I think it's called. The bookshop is Looking Glass Books, and has just celebrated its first birthday. Support your local independent bookshop!

In Service of the Heir a character falls into some council excavations in the Meadows - and look! they're at it again!

Blair lives in George's Square (now George Square) just beside the Meadows. Now, George Square is one of the principal reasons, I believe, for the foundation of the Cockburn Society which has preserved vast swathes of Edinburgh's historical architecture. This is because the University got its mitts on George Square in the 1960s, and here's the result:

This is just where Blair's house is. If you turn round, though, you can see some of the original buildings, though, still in use by the university.
Just out into Newington now and the final site for this book is here:
This is St. Patrick's Square, where the Armstrongs live, despite the Thomsons' efforts to get them to move into the New Town. This is very much a student area now, but then it was then, too: the local knife merchant specialised in sharpening scalpels for the medical students! Now there must be something to add to a plot in that ...

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