The Creation Of Victoria Street

Victoria Street is one of Edinburgh’s most recognisable and picturesque locations, its elegant curve graced by a series of colourful shop fronts, making it a favourite choice of filmmakers and photograph enthusiasts alike. Constructed between 1829 and 1834, Victoria Street was one of several major improvements to the Old Town, designed to improve access around the city; previously, the only way to access the Lawnmarket and Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket was via an awkward and steep passageway.

The old West Bow, which was demolished to make way for Victoria Street, was an eclectic mix of timber-framed houses – some of the oldest buildings in the city – many of which were so closely packed that for residents to shake hands through the windows was not unknown. 

By contrast, Thomas Hamilton’s new development – originally named Bow Street until the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 – imitated the Old Flemish style of architecture: the imposing frontages, prominent arches and cobblestones leading to many Harry Potter fans noticing more than a passing resemblance to Diagon Alley.

Today, Victoria Street draws the crowds, not only for its stunning visuals, but for its assortment of independent shops. From artisan cheesemakers to old-fashioned booksellers and gift retailers to joke shops, every outlet is worthy of scrutiny for there’s sure to be something to captivate the imagination. 

Yet Victoria Street retains a sense of the past, with narrow medieval passageways interspersed between the dominant buildings, and a vibrant atmosphere that is reminiscent of the thoroughfare’s important history as a key route in the heart of Scotland’s capital.

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The Creation Of Victoria Street

The Creation Of Victoria Street Victoria Street is one of Edinburgh’s most recognisable and picturesque locations, its elegant curve graced by a series of colourful

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