Did you know…

  • Construction of Cockburn Street began in 1853, destroying the lower half of Mary King’s and the other Closes.
  • Andrew Chesney is the last resident to leave Mary King’s Close in 1902, forced out by compulsory purchase.
  • In the 18th Century, average life expectancy was just 35 years.
  • Construction of the Royal Exchange began in 1753, largely covering over Mary King’s Close along with three other Closes.
  • In August 2010, Continuum signed a new lease to operate The Real Mary King’s Close for the next 18 years.
  • 1707 sees the Act of Union officially uniting Scotland and England.
  • Mary King was widowed in 1629. She and her four children move into a turnpike house near the top of Mary King’s Close.
  • Robert Fergusson died on October 16th 1774 in Bedlam Asylum (now Hotel Du Vin) aged just 24.
  • The Real Mary King’s Close opened to the public as a visitor attraction in April 2003.
  • Alexander Cant is murdered in Craig’s Close in 1530 by Alison Rough.
  • A new Council chamber opened in the City Chambers above the Close on 19 January 1904.
  • On 28 January 1829 William Burke is hung for the Westport Murders.
  • The National Covenant was signed in Greyfriars Churchyard on 28 February 1638.
  • 21 June 1864 the last public execution in Edinburgh of George Bryce ‘The Ratho Murderer’.
  • 14 July 1811 the Royal Exchange formally becomes City Council Chambers.
  • Robert Burns arrived in Edinburgh on 28 November 1786 and stays in Baxter’s Close, near what is now Deacon Brodie’s Tavern.
  • In 1361 the plague outbreak claims more nobility than commoners.
  • 1349 Black Death devastates the poor of Edinburgh, allegedly two-thirds.
  • The Edinburgh University was founded in 1582 with money left by Bishop Leslie, of Orkney.
  • 1644-45 saw the worst and last outbreak of the Plague.
  • 1694 Mary King’s Close is recorded by name in the Town Council minutes. The town’s population at the time is recorded as around 21,000 (today the population is approx. 500,000).
  • Mary King dies in 1644.