Scotland Street Lighting Edinburgh Restoration, Scottish Capital Georgian Street Lights

Scotland Street Lighting Edinburgh Restoration

10 Nov 2021

Scotland Street lighting restored to Georgian glory

Edinburgh, 10th of November 2021 – Newly installed Georgian replica streetlights were switched on Tuesday evening in Edinburgh’s Scotland Street, made famous by the Sandy McCall Smith ‘44 Scotland Street’ series of episodic novels. The project, which was completed through a partnership between Edinburgh World Heritage and the City of Edinburgh Council, is part of a wider scheme to restore historic street lighting at sites across the city.

Scotland Street Lighting Edinburgh Restoration

Photos by Tom Duffin

Scotland Street Georgian Street Lights in Edinburgh

The first of this wave of streetlight restoration took place in Circus Lane in 2001, and since then Lynedoch Place, Belford Road, Clarendon Crescent, and Alva Street have all benefitted from the addition of historically appropriate lighting. 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.

Scotland Street Light Edinburgh Restoration

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.

High Street Lamp 1883:
Edinburgh High Street Lamp 1883 High Street Lamp Edinburgh 1883

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.

Scotland StreetLamp Edinburgh Restoration

Christina Sinclair, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage commented:

“The new lighting’s authentic design has improved the architectural landscape of the street and enhanced, in a modest way, the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. Additionally, there is the practical benefit of improving night-time visibility for residents and road users alike. This project perfectly demonstrates how heritage and city improvement can go hand in hand, creating a more beautiful but also more liveable city for Edinburgh’s residents.”

Scotland Streetlights Edinburgh New Town

Councilor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said:

“It’s wonderful that the lighting on Scotland Street has now been restored with such historical accuracy, enhancing this striking New Town street while also providing a safer environment for all those who live in and travel through the area. We’re nearing the end of a major project to provide the city with energy efficient LED lighting and we’re pleased to be able to incorporate this into Scotland Street’s Georgian setting.”

Photos: Tom Duffin

Edinburgh World Heritage

We are an independent charity with the aim of ensuring that the city’s World Heritage status is a dynamic force that benefits everyone. Our mission is to connect people to their heritage in everything we do – whether through the conservation of historic buildings, delivering improvements to the public realm, or engaging people directly with the rich heritage of their city.

Scotland Street Lighting Edinburgh Restoration images / information from EWH 101121

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