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Beautifully illustrated family history books with a difference by a frequent contributor to the UK family history press. I write for Family Tree Magazine UK; Discover Your Ancestors Online Periodical and Bookazine; Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. The publishers of my family history books are Pen and Sword Books and The History Press. I tweet (and retweet) thought-provoking content designed to help you tweak your approach to (your family) history at @RuthaSymes . Do follow me.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

My Ancestor Came From Edinburgh 1821-1830


Edinburgh Diary 1821-1830


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If your ancestors lived in Scotland’s capital city, these are the events through which they lived, in which they might have participated, and which – at the very least - would have informed their everyday conversation.


1821 Steam packets are introduced between Leith and London. The Mountaineer can do the journey in 60 hours. The City of Edinburgh, is the largest steam vessel of its time and has beds for 100 people.


1822  King George IV visits Edinburgh 14th August – 29th August. He stays at Dalkeith palace but the main ceremonial business of the visit takes place at Holyrood House. After a fortnight of processions, banquets and balls, the King declares his stay in Scotland to have been one of ‘unalloyed satisfaction.’


1823  On 30th June, the foundation stone of the Edinburgh Academy (a boys’ boarding school set up to promote classical learning, especially Greek) is laid on the North side of the town.


1824 A great fire occurs on the night of 15th November in the city centre. It starts at about 10pm in a seven-storey house at the head of the Old Assembly Close and destroys many buildings in the vicinity of Parliament Square. After burning fiercely all night, the fire finally begins to abate at 9am the next morning but not before causing £200,000 of damage, rendering four hundred families homeless and killing eight people.

1825 The foundation stone of the new Royal High School on Calton Hill is laid on 28th July. The school, whose origins go back to 1128 has relocated several times. The Calton Hill building is now New Parliament House.

1826 The New Town Markets for the sale of fresh fish and poultry are opened. They are said to be the best of their kind in Great Britain.

1827 Edinburgh suffers great snowstorms on March 7th and 8th and again on April 21st.  Roads are blocked for several days and some drifts are as high as the outside passengers on the mail coaches.


1828 One of the Edinburgh newspapers reports that the city now has (amongst other things): 70 churches, 2 theatres,  13 courts of justice, 7 libraries, 11 public hospitals, 80 royal mail and stage coaches, 86 hackney coaches, 400 carriers (sedan chairmen) and 80 public houses.

1829 On 28th January, a large crowd gathers to watch the execution of William Burke, a serial murderer who, along with William Hare, has sold the bodies of his victims for dissecting purposes. Later 24,000 people go to see Burke’s body as it lies on a dissecting table at the Surgeon’s Hall.

1830 King George IV dies on June 26th. The new king William IV is proclaimed at the Cross by the Lord Provost and other officials.


Keywords: Europe, European, ancestry, ancestors, family history, genealogy, Caledonian, Scotland, Scottish

[This article first appeared in the now obsolete Discover My Past Scotland 2010]