Summer Visits 2013
Ashfield House, Trades' Maiden Hospital
Wednesday 8 May & Tue 14 May
Ashfield House is the home of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh, and holds a large number of artefacts relating to their origins and histories. There are 15 historic trades, for example the Hammermen, Skinners, Wrights and Masons, Baxters, Tailers, Cordiners, Weavers, Waulkers and Candlemakers etc. Among the special exhibits is the Trades Banner, the "Blue Blanket", said to have been carried at the Battle of Flodden, (which has its 500th anniversary this year).
The exhibits in Ashfield House also include paintings, photographs, books and objects connected with the Trades' Maiden Hospital, founded in 1704, which is the Trades counterpart to the Merchant Company's Mary Erskine School. Its charitable Fund is still used today to provide bursaries to young ladies requiring financial assistance for educational purposes.
- Tour leaders
- Ian Robertson, Curator of the Trades Maiden Hospital, Ashfield House, & Henry Steuart Fothringham, Historian for the Convenery of Trades
- 61 Melville St, Edinburgh, EH3 7HL
- £5 per head (includes wine and nibbles)
- numbers limited to 25 each visit
Tuesday 9 July & Thursday 11 July
The present Freemasons' Hall was built during 1911–1912. It replaced an earlier building that had been on the site since 1858. The previous building was designed by the famous Scottish architect, David Bryce (who was a Freemason), but by the end of the century the building had become too small for the needs of Grand Lodge and it was decided to build a new larger home — the present building. The Grand Hall is the main meeting place of Grand Lodge.
- Tour leader
- Robert Cooper (an OEC member)
- 96 George St, Edinburgh, EH2 3DH
- £5 per head
- numbers limited to 20 each visit
Saturday 20 July & Saturday 27 July
Inch House (also The Inch), is a much altered, at least, 15th century L-plan tower house comprising three stories and a garret. Once known as the King's Inch, King James II granted these lands to the monks of Holyrood Abbey in the 15th century. The word Inch comes from the Gaelic for island but it has never been recorded as a true island and was more likely simply built in a marshy area.
The Winram family bought Nether Liberton in 1615 which it is believed included the Inch but is not specifically mentioned. Similarly we have no proof but it is probably James Winram who heightened the tower to a belvedere and installed the new staircase and, at the same time, created a gallery along the east facade probably overlooking the privy garden. It is impossible at this date to state what the other two wings of the Inner court might have contained. Inch House was further extended to the northeast in 1634.
It passed to the Gilmours of Craigmillar Castle in 1660 who added a west wing in the 18th century and commissioned architectural historians MacGibbon & Ross to extend and remodel significantly the property in 1891 and resulted in a rebuilt south wing and the filling in of much of the inner court. The Gilmours sold the property to the Edinburgh Corporation in 1948.
- Tour leaders
- Dr Margaret Collingwood (an OEC member), Alison MacDonald & David Hughes
- 225 Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5UF
- £5 per head (includes wine and nibbles)
- numbers limited to 45 each visit
There is very limited parking at Inch House so please park on Glenallan Drive if at all possible. The path from Glenallan Drive to Inch House is only a few hundred meters long.
Travelling from town Glenallan Drive is on the left from Gilmerton Road 500m south east of Liberton Road. The entrance to Inch Park is 200m before this and has pillars at either side. In order to get to the House you will have to follow the road to the left, past the schools. Signposts for the House refer to the "Community Center.
LTR bus services 3, 8 and 29 stop near the Gilmerton Road entrance to Inch Park. There is a path from the South East of the Cameron Toll Shopping Center's car park that leads to Inch Park and the House so LRT 7, 31, 37, 47 or 49 taking you to the Shopping Center should be appropriate.
War Poets Museum , Craiglockhart
7th and 14th July, 2012
War Poets Museum, Craiglockhart
Four groups of members and their guests visited the War Poets Museum at Craiglockhart over a couple of Saturdays in July. Each group had a guided tour of the Museum with Curator Catherine Walker and a talk from Joyce Caplan on the historical, literary and social background of the war years.
14th & 19th June and 4th July
The Breweries of the Canongate - walking tour
Conducted by John D. Martin of the Scottish Brewing Archive Association
Riddle's Court, Lawnmarket
30th May 2012
Riddle’s Court, Lawnmarket
This late 16th- century building, with late 17th- century additions, is well-known as one of the finest surviving merchant’s houses in the Royal Mile. It has recently undergone a new lease of life, becoming the headquarters of the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust.
8th June 2011
The Queen’s Bodyguard for Scotland (the Royal Company of Archers)
This illustrious institution was set up in 1676 although there is evidence of even earlier activity. The Company was granted a Royal charter by Queen Anne in 1703 and many famous personages have passed through their ranks since then including; Robert Burns, Sir Henry Raeburn, Sir Walter Scott and even the flamboyant balloonist Vincent Lunardi.
General Register House
Monday 7th and Wed 9th June 2010
In the late 13th century some of the records of Scotland were removed by King Edward I. In 1650 Oliver Cromwell also ransacked our records and some were lost in the North Sea when they were being returned in 1660, so by the second half of the 18th century, Scotland’s records, by then housed in various places in the Old Town, were in a sorry state of neglect.
Robert Burns in Edinburgh’ Walk
7th and 9th July 2009
Old Edinburgh Club members were treated to a unique event.
After his success last summer in conducting a walk around Edinburgh’s walls (exactly 100 years after the Old Edinburgh Club had organised a similar outing), Graeme D.R. Cruikshank, of Edinburgh Historical Enterprises and OEC council member, volunteered to organise a trip around sites associated with the poet Robert Burns who was born 250 years ago.
Faculty of Advocate’s Library
Summer Visit to the Faculty of Advocate’s Library - 23rd June 2009
Fifty-five Club members were welcomed by Mungo Bovey QC, Keeper of the Advocates Library.
Our group, one of three being conducted by library staff, began the tour in Parliament Hall which was the location of the Scottish Parliament until 1707.
The old city walls
A walking tour round the old city walls, 18th July 2008
On the 18th of July 1908, John Geddie, Assistant Editor of The Scotsman, conducted a ‘Ramble’ around the remnants of Edinburgh’s walls. The trip was a joint meeting of the Edinburgh Photographic Society and the Old Edinburgh Club. Exactly 100 years to the day, historian Graeme Cruickshank guided Club members and guests around the walls.
26 July 2007
In the 15th century, the merchants of Edinburgh, builders, ship-owners, farmers, etc, formed a corporation called the guildry from which the Merchant Company of Edinburgh was founded by Royal Charter in 1681.
Old College, University of Edinburgh
Tues 3rd July 2007
On the evening of the above day, forty-seven Old Edinburgh Club members and guests enjoyed a double treat. We were privileged to have a tour of the Old College conducted by Dr. Andrew G. Fraser and a rare viewing of the rooms of The Speculative Society revealed by Prof. David Purdie. Both Andrew and David are OEC council members.
Halifax Bank of Scotland Museum
19th June 2007
As every school boy knows the Bank of England was founded by a Scotsman, William Paterson in 1694, but how many of us knew that the Bank of Scotland was founded by an Englishman?
14 Jordan Lane
Sunday 30 July 2006, Visit and wine reception.
By kind permission of the owners, Richard & Grace Ellis, we were invited to see round their fascinating home, first occupied in 1844 by David Ramsay Hay, the Queen’s Limner (Painter) who worked on interiors at Abbotsford House, Holyrood Palace and many Playfair buildings.
Edinburgh, Sat 1st July, 2006
Drumsheugh Baths were designed in a Moorish style in 1882 by Sir John J. Burnet (1857–1938) who is better known for his former R.W. Forsyth store in Princes Street (now Burton’s).