Old Edinburgh in a time of change
From Jacobites to Genuises
During the period covered by this material, Edinburgh witnessed many of the events which shaped modern Scotland, from the Act of Union, to the Jacobite Risings, the achievements of the Scottish Enlightenment, and the construction of the New Town. It was also a period when the Old Town entered a long period of decline, as many people moved to spacious new dwellings to the north of the Nor’ Loch.
It was also at this time Edinburgh became known as ‘a city of genius’. Many of the greatest writers, thinkers, artists, scientists, inventors and architects lived and worked in Edinburgh during the Georgian period. One visitor famously commented: ‘Here I stand at the Mercat Cross and can, in a few minutes, take fifty men of genius by the hand’.