Rose Street

Rose Street

Rose Street, Edinburgh

The history of Rose Street

Designed as part of James Craig’s New Town plan in 1767, Rose Street was named after the national flower of England, a conscious pairing with Thistle Street. In the 19th century, Rose Street gained a reputation as a seedy backwater, not a place for the respectable classes to be seen after dark… By the 1960s this had started to change, as tenement flats gave ways to antique shops and boutiques. In 1973 the transformation was completed as the section between Castle Street and Frederick Street became the first pedestrianised street in the city.

Cultural significance

In the 1950s and 60s Rose Street became well-known as the haunt of a new wave of Scottish poets.

Writers such as Hugh MacDiarmid and Robert Garioch gathered with their friends for lively debate, in places such as Milne’s Bar, the Abbotsford and the Café Royal. They often wrote in Scots or Gaelic to revive a distinctly Scottish literary style.

Why is it important to Edinburgh?

Rose Street is a significant surviving part of the original fabric of Edinburgh’s New Town, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain.

Key events

In 1830 McVitie’s provision shop opened at No.129 Rose Street, establishing the famous firm of biscuit manufacturers.

One of the first fire stations in the country was set up at No.66 Rose Street in 1824. Edinburgh was the first place in the UK to establish a proper fire service, organised by City Firemaster James Braidwood. The Rose Street station was to cover the New Town district, with a team of 12 firemen equipped with a hand cart.

Additional information

Rose Street has its origins in the late 18th century, evolving over time into the lively thoroughfare we know today.
Rose Street’s intimate scale, combined with its blend of historic architecture and modern amenities, sets it apart. It offers a welcoming and convivial atmosphere in the heart of the city.
Rose Street is situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, running parallel to Princes Street.

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