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Category: History

Gin in Edinburgh

14th Jul, 2022

Gin is an incredibly popular drink now, but the craze began in the 1700s. Delve into the fascinating history of gin in Edinburgh. The Arrival of Gin in Edinburgh Gin was imported through the docks of Leith. It was the closeness to the docks that helped the gin trade flourish because distilleries were usually close …

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Pride Month: Meet Robert Fergusson and Sophia Jex-Blake

10th Jun, 2022

This June we are celebrating Pride Month. You can hear the real stories of Edinburgh’s former residents, in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland. Here is an introduction to Robert Fergusson and Sophia Jex-Blake, who you will meet on our Pride History tours. Robert Fergusson Born in Edinburgh in 1750, the poet inspired the work of …

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Mary Queen of Scots married the Earl of Bothwell: on this day in 1567

13th May, 2022

On the 15th of May 1567 was a turning point in Scottish history. Mary Queen of Scots married her third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. It led to a series of events that would bring the Queen to one of the closes now part of The Real Mary King’s Close. Mary’s First Marriage Mary …

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The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Edinburgh

2nd Mar, 2022

Picture: Wikimedia Commons The Women’s Suffrage Movement was the campaign for women to have the right to vote. The campaign started after the rejection of an amendment to the Parliamentary Reform Act that John Stuart Mill MP proposed in 1867. Women’s suffrage societies established across the U.K, including Edinburgh. This women’s history month, explore this …

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The Edinburgh Seven

2nd Mar, 2022

The Edinburgh Seven brought nationwide attention to the campaign for women to be able to attend university. They were the first female matriculated undergraduate students at a British university. The Edinburgh Seven was formed of: Sophia Jex-Blake, Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechley, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson and Emily Bovell. In 1869 they started studying …

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Edinburgh’s Storytellers: The City’s Legacy In Literature

8th Feb, 2022

Edinburgh and Scotland have a rich literary history. 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories, dedicated to celebrating stories inspired by, written or created in Scotland. Some of the world’s best storytellers have connections to Edinburgh and the city has inspired bestselling novels, sometimes including mentions of The Real Mary King’s Close. Edinburgh’s Storytellers: Authors of …

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Burns Night: History and Traditions

8th Jan, 2022

Every January, Scotland celebrates one of the most famous people from the country’s history: Robert Burns. As Burns Night approaches it’s the perfect time to learn about why and how the day’s celebrated. You can even learn an interesting connection to The Real Mary King’s Close.   Who was Robert Burns? Robert Burns (a.k.a Rabbie …

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What inspired Edinburgh’s street names?

14th Dec, 2021

The Real Mary King’s Close is not the only street in Edinburgh with an interesting story behind its name. In a city with such a rich history, it’s not surprising that the street names reflect its past. Have you wondered what inspired Edinburgh’s street names while strolling through the city? Read on to find your …

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The Burke and Hare murders

5th Nov, 2021

In 1828, Edinburgh was a European centre for studying anatomy. Pioneering anatomy teachers taught at the Royal College of Surgeons and dissected bodies during lectures in front of many eager students. However, the strict laws around which bodies could be used led to a shortage. Burke and Hare found a way to earn money from a desperate anatomist during this crisis in a terrifying chapter of Edinburgh’s history.

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