Chambers Street

Old College

Chambers Street, Edinburgh

The history of Chambers Street

Chambers Street was created specifically to house the National Museum of Scotland, and named after William Chambers, then Lord Provost. The street has also been home to various other significant public and university buildings. Chambers Street also features statues to William Chambers, and to William Playfair, renowned architect.

Cultural significance

Chambers Street is culturally significant as part of Edinburgh’s early responses to the Improvement Act of 1872. The National Museum of Scotland, housed in a striking Victorian building, is a treasure trove of art, culture, and natural history. Its diverse collections span centuries and continents, offering visitors a captivating journey through Scotland’s past and beyond.

Why is it important to Edinburgh?

The street features a variety of buildings, impressive in their design and architectural features.

Key events

The foundation stone of the museum was laid in a ceremony attended by dignitaries and scholars on 23 October 1861, Prince Albert’s last public act. The first phase of the museum was officially opened on 19 May 1866, with the main hall and galleries completed by 1874 and the west wing in 1888. A further extension was opened in 1998.

Additional information

Chambers Street was established in the early 19th century as part of a visionary urban development project.
Chambers Street’s unique blend of historic and modern architecture, combined with its cultural and educational institutions, sets it apart.
Chambers Street runs parallel to the Royal Mile, between the South Bridge and George IV Bridge.

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