views updated May 14 2018


EDINBURGH. "Edinburgh, sir, is the metropolis of this ancient kingdom, the seat of law, the rendezvous of taste, and winter quarters of all our nobility who cannot afford to live in London." In these terms a newspaper correspondent of 1767 summarized Scotland's capital. To this list could be added the best educational facilities in Scotlandperhaps in Britainincluding a fine university (founded in 1582) and a flourishing printing industry. Edinburgh had long been central to Scottish life. It had been the seat of the royal court until James VI (James I of England) moved to London in 1603, and the Scottish Parliament sat there until the Union of 1707 saw it subsumed into that of Westminster. The popular (as distinct from the political) Reformation in Scotland began with Edinburgh merchants and professionals in the 1560s. Other Scottish revolutions (16371638 and 16891690) were made in the capital. Scotland's cultural life concentrated there and much intellectual change originated there. Eighteenth-century Edinburgh was the cradle of the Scottish Enlightenment, a true "hotbed of genius" and a cultural hub of European significance.

Given a charter in the twelfth century, Edinburgh was a "royal burgh" with its own constitution or "set" and extensive trading privileges. At the time of the Reformation, Edinburgh and its suburbs or satellites had roughly 1518,000 inhabitants; by the 1660s it contained 2530,000 people and perhaps 45,000 by 1700: easily Scotland's largest city and the second largest in Britain after London at these dates. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Edinburgh was a compact settlement, perched on a narrow ridge leading east from the rock on which stood Edinburgh's medieval castle. One main street ran for approximately 1,300 meters down this ridge from the castle to the royal palace of Holyrood. Nearly 300 steep and narrow "closes" and "wynds" (alleys) issued off this street, now known as the "Royal Mile." Growing steadily from the fifteenth century, Edinburgh expanded rapidly in area and population from the mid-eighteenth century. Starting on the south side of the city, new neoclassical housing developments began in the 1750s, reaching their apogee in the celebrated northern "New Town" streets of the 1760s and beyond. By 1800 the expanded conurbation contained more than 80,000 people.

Edinburgh was easily the richest town in Scotland, and far more prosperous than its relative size would suggest. It was already Scotland's first town in economic terms by the early sixteenth century, a position it consolidated in the following 200 years. Edinburgh paid a third of the taxation raised from all the royal burghs of Scotland in the later seventeenth century and an equal share of total excise revenue in the 1720sthis from a city with a 4 to 5 percent share of the population. Through its port at Leith, Edinburgh conducted an extensive coastal and foreign trade with the rest of Britain and the North Sea, Baltic, and Atlantic coastlines. Its occupational structure was characterized by unusually large proportions of professionals (principally lawyers, but also medical men and educators) and of servants, testifying to its wealth and economic orientation. Among the rest of the seventeenth-century population, more than half were engaged in making textiles, clothes, or leather goods, about a quarter in building trades, and a sixth in food and drink. Edinburgh's less well documented suburbs may have been more concerned with manufacturing, but the capital was Scotland's principal service center. It was Scotland's undeniable economic leader until the late eighteenth century, when Glasgow outstripped it in both size and commercial dynamism, if not in social and cultural eminence.

See also James I and VI (England and Scotland) ; Knox, John ; Scotland ; Stuart Dynasty (England and Scotland) .


Houston, R. A. Social Change in the Age of Enlightenment: Edinburgh, 16601760. Oxford and New York, 1994. The only comprehensive study of the city for the early modern period.

Lynch, Michael. Edinburgh and the Reformation. Edinburgh, 1979. Deals with more than just religion.

Youngson, A. J. The Making of Classical Edinburgh 17501840. Edinburgh, 1966. Reprinted many times, this is a classic study of the development of the "New Town."

R. A. Houston


views updated May 14 2018

EDINBURGH The capital of Scotland where local educated speech is more influenced by the norms of south-east England than elsewhere in Scotland. However, as part of the continuum of ScoE and SCOTS, vernacular speech is strong in working-class areas such as Leith and Gorgie and in the city's peripheral housing estates, showing variations due to dialect-mixing and nearby dialect boundaries.


(1) Working-class Edinburgh speech shares features with GLASGOW and other Central Scots dialects: for example, only the /o/ vowel in such pairs as cloak/clock and road/rod; /eː/ in dae do, pair poor; /I/ in buit boot, guid good; /e/ in breath, death, meal; /i/ in dead, deaf, swear; initial /j/ in yae (adjective) one, yin (noun) one, yins (rhymes with rinse) once, yaise (verb) use, yis (noun) use. There are also the stigmatized glottalization of medial and final /t/ and the epenthetic vowels in ‘girrul’ for girl and ‘fillum’ for film. (2) Although most people have a falling final intonation for statements, some working-class speakers have a Glasgow-like fall followed by a low rise. (3) The combination wa is /wɔ/ not /wa/ as in Glasgow: want, warm, wash, water. (4) The following both occur: awaw and away away, twaw and tway two, whaur and whair where (but only whae, whase who, whose). (5) Make, take also appear as mak, tak. (6) Where Glasgow has an unstressed word-final /ʌ/ as in barra barrow, Edinburgh has /e/, as in barrie barrow, elbie elbow, fellie fellow, Glesgie/Gleskie Glasgow, lumbagie lumbago, awfie awful, carefie careful, moothfie mouthful, yisfie useful. (7) The voiceless velar fricative /x/ may survive more strongly in Edinburgh than Glasgow, as in richt right, strecht/strocht straight. (8) Some speakers have ‘terminal stress’, whereby a normally unstressed final syllable is fully stressed, as in Thát's áw-fíe, véry clé-vér, He had a sáir áir-rúm He had a sore/painful arm.


(1) Some features said to originate in Glasgow also occur in Edinburgh, such as youse/yese (plural) you, and youse-yins (formerly you-yins: ‘you ones’) you people. (2) The interrogative tags eh? and Eh no? are common, as in Ye'll be wantin yer tea, eh?, Ye'll be wantin some tea, eh-no? (3) The common pause-filler is ken (y'know), as in Well, ken, ye dinny pay, ken, for ti just watch, ken Well, y'know, you don't pay, y'know, just to watch, y'know. (4) The apologetic or depreciatory tag like is widely used, as in Ah thocht ah heard ye greetin, like I thought I maybe heard you crying, Am ah gettin an invite, like? Am I getting an invitation maybe?


Local usages include bairn a child (where Glasgow has wean), bunce to share, clipshear an earwig, dobbie/doobie an idiot, doddle a lump of toffee, guttie a catapult/slingshot, henner a gymnastic feat, hillan a mound, hillock, kip a pointed hill, lummie a lum or chimney on fire, mar oot to score out, poor-oot a scattering of coins at a wedding, swee a swing.

Literary dialect

Much of Scotland's vernacular literature is by Edinburgh authors, mostly in literary Scots or in Lallans, but unlike Glasgow or Aberdeen, Edinburgh does not have a strong tradition of localized dialect writing. Among the sparse localized writings since the late 19c are pieces by the short-story writer Fred Urquhart (b. 1912) and the poet and critic Alan Bold (b. 1943), and the mixture of LALLANS and everyday Edinburgh Scots in the poetry of Robert Garioch (1909–81). An example from Bold under the pseudonym Jake Flower is:
Ah havnae missed a day's work nigh on thirty year and ah've shifted some drink no danger. Ken? D'ye ken Bertie's Bar? D'ye no? Ye must ken Bertie's Bar, everybody kens Bertie's Bar. Ye cannae come fae Edinburgh if ye dinnae ken Bertie's Bar (‘Monologue’, in Scotia Review 5, 1973).



views updated Jun 11 2018

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is an ancient settlement, archaeological evidence pushing its history back over 4,000 years. A fine defensive site, the growth of the city stretched from the castle along glaciated ridges in medieval times to Canongate and the abbey of Holyrood and southwards by Cowgate to Kirk o' Field. The growth of Edinburgh involved the incorporation of districts outside the castle and the development of trade and industry.

The ‘Old Town’ by 1700 was teeming with people, its population huddled in great tenements. The building of a ‘New Town’ across the deep troughs, gouged by glaciers centuries before, was a consequence of further population growth. The wealthy were the first to move into a neo-classical grid-square suburb with wide streets and magnificent Georgian houses. By 1801 Edinburgh and Leith housed 83,000 people, but the vibrant ‘Old Town’ housed the university (1583) and remained the centre of religious, legal, and social activity. Linked by bridges (1772–1857), the ‘New Town’ became a major shopping area, and financial services—banks and insurance companies—also took root in its spacious squares.

Edinburgh's development in the 19th and 20th cents. involved the absorption of previously isolated industrial and farming communities—for example, Burdiehouse, Cramond, Corstorphine, Colinton, Dean Village, Gilmerton, Leith, Liberton, Portobello, Swanston—and the deliberate relocation of population to large corporation housing estates from the 1930s. In 2000 the city's population numbered 450,000.

From Leith to Sighthill a swathe of industries and factories gave the city considerable economic diversity during these two centuries. Industry was represented by mining, paper-making and printing, tanning and leatherware, rubber, flour- and saw-milling, sugar-refining, ropeworks, cement, brick, tile, soap, glass, and pottery production, brewing, distilling, shipbuilding, and engineering, all served by excellent transport and port facilities; the Union canal (1822), the railways (1836–50), and the improvement of Leith docks reinforced the changing industrial economy.

Employment in the 20th cent. was increasingly dominated by the service sector. The Scottish banks, investment trusts, building societies, and insurance companies provided jobs in financial services; the supreme courts of Scotland—the Court of Session (1532) and the High Court of Justiciary—are located in the Old Parliament House (1640), and together with city courts are an important component; the universities (including Heriot-Watt (1964) and Napier (1992) ), the merchant company, private and public schools serve a wide constituency. Retailing and the distributive trades, hospitals, and other care institutions added to career opportunities for women. As the capital, Edinburgh was the administrative centre of Scotland, and from the 1930s the departments of the Scottish Office greatly added to service employment: since 1999 the revived Scottish Parliament has met in the city. Leisure and tourism have become major civic industries, the International Festival being a particular attraction. By 1981 about 80 per cent of Edinburgh's employment was in service industries.

From 1832 until 1885 the Liberals dominated parliamentary elections; with the split in the Liberals on religious issues and Irish Home Rule politics became more competitive and remained so, although Labour replaced the Liberals as a major force after 1920. At the general election of 2001, five of Edinburgh's seats at Westminster went to Labour, Edinburgh West to the Liberal Democrats.

John Butt


views updated May 14 2018

Edinburgh Capital of Scotland, in Lothian region. The city grew steadily when Malcolm III made Edinburgh Castle his residence (11th century), and it became the capital of Scotland in the early 15th century. It flourished as a cultural centre in the 18th and 19th centuries around figures such as David Hume, Adam Smith, Robert Burns, and Sir Walter Scott. Sites include: Palace of Holyroodhouse (official residence of the monarch in Scotland), Chapel of St Margaret (the city's oldest building), the Royal Mile (linking the Castle with Holyroodhouse), the 15th-century St Giles Cathedral, the home of the Protestant reformer John Knox, and Princes Street. The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1583. Museums and art galleries include the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Museum of Scotland. The new, devolved Scottish Parliament is in the city. Edinburgh hosts an international arts festival (founded 1947). Industries: brewing, tourism, chemicals, printing and publishing. Pop. (2000) 453,430.


views updated Jun 11 2018


EDINBURGH , capital of *Scotland. No trace of Jews is to be found in medieval Scotland generally. Apart from individual Jews, a community possibly existed in Edinburgh at the close of the 18th century, but the present congregation was established in 1816 with 20 families. The first minister was Moses Joel of London, who served in the office for 46 years. With the influx of Russian and Polish Jews at the close of the 19th century, the community grew and many communal institutions were founded. For many years Salis *Daiches was the rabbi. In 1968 the community numbered approximately 1,100 out of a total population of 468,770. There was one synagogue and extensive communal and Zionist activity. In the mid-1990s the Jewish population numbered approximately 500. According to the 2001 British census, 763 Jews lived in Edinburgh. There is an Orthodox synagogue.


Daiches, in: Publications of the Scottish Church History Society (1929); C. Roth, Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), 57–59; Levy, in: jhset, 19 (1960), 129–62. add. bibliography: K.E. Collins, Scotland's Jews: A Guide to the History and Community of the Jews in Scotland (1999); jyb, 2004.

[Cecil Roth]