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📍Edinburgh , Scotland 🏴 Edinburgh is a city that begs to be discovered, filled with quirky, come-hither nooks that tempt you to explore just that little bit further.
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From the Lawnmarket, Milne’s Court is well-hidden and the only clues are a small sign above the entrance to the pend, and the date 1690 carved into the stonework. However, if you stand back on the other side of the road and look up, you can take in the true size and scale of building. When it was completed, the size and regularity of Milne’s Court would have presented a startling comparison to its much smaller neighbours. Walking through the pend gives you a real impression of stepping back hundreds of years, emerging out into a courtyard with the seventeenth century building towering above you.
In its day the building represented the very best in lavish fashionable living. The Edinburgh Poll Tax returns for 1694 gives a snapshot of the first residents, who were mostly middle-class professionals such as Dr William Blackadder ‘Kings Physician to the forces’.
Like many Old Town houses, by the 19th century Milne’s Court had lost its middle-class residents, and living conditions for residents were appalling. A visitor in 1856, complained that the close was: “…unapproachable by any one who is not compelled by necessity to go into them.” The Census in 1871 described: “A densely populated square…irregularly numbered, very dirty, and anything but a free current of air…In one house of three rooms, on Sunday night there slept fourteen souls of different sexes and no family connections.”
Finally in 1960 the city engineer declared the north part of the building unsafe, and gave a deadline before demolition would start.
With the help of donations Milne’s Court was restored as student accommodation and opened in 1969.
Today Milne’s Court is a desirable place to live at again...just next to the Royal Mile.