A touch of history returns to light up New Town street

THE decoration of Edinburgh’s New Town district – with replica Georgian street lighting, in keeping with the area’s architecture – has taken its next step, in the city’s Scotland Street.

The initiative – jointly involving heritage body, Edinburgh World Heritage, and the city’s local authority – continues a programme stretching back 20 years, to 2001, with lamps installed in the New Town’s Circus Lane, followed by Lynedoch Place, Belford Road, Clarendon Crescent and Alva Street.

Says Edinburgh World Heritage, here: “The design for the Scotland Street lamps was based on one that stood next to the Heart of Midlothian on the High Street, as seen in a photograph from 1883.

“This style of lamp was used widely in Edinburgh in the 19th century, and features a conical glass cap and a large glass globe light, designed to protect the original lamps from the fierce heat of their ‘fishtail’ burners.

“The present design also incorporates a rounded glass finial, which the 19th century Holyrood Glassworks Catalogue described as a ‘crystal knob’. 

“Much of the original research and planning for the project was provided by Andrew Kerr, a long-term resident of the New Town and former trustee of Edinburgh World Heritage.”

It adds: “The design process for the Scotland Street lamps began in 2011, but was held back due to the lack of original globe lamps in the city.

“However, one was found in a Dublin Street cellar, which was used as a model. By studying old photographs, Jonathan Knox, of the University of Edinburgh, was able to create a 3D computer rendering of how the lamps would have looked.

“The streetlights were manufactured by Manchester-based Metcraft Lighting, a company that specialises in high-quality heritage and decorative lighting, and are fitted with LED lights to conform with The City of Edinburgh Council’s plans to convert the city’s streetlights to energy-saving LED.”

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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