Halfway down the stairs

black and white, black and white, street, urban
IMG_4494

The Halfway House, Fleshmarket Close, Edinburgh. 1/60, f/3.2, ISO800

Back to some Edinburgh street photography yesterday, after a long break. There is someting gruesome about Fleshmarket close, and not just because of the Ian Rankin novel of the same name. While it’s right in the middle of Edinburgh’s tourist honeypot, it does come with some noteriety.

The close is named after the meat market that existed here, when it was a close that led down to a slaughterhouse on Nor’Loch. The loch is long since drained and is not Waverely Railway station and Princes Street Garden’s.

It’s a good place to get some subject lighting, from the lights around the pub.

Family Ties

black and white, urban

Hamiton Gibson BellOne of the fantastic things about so much infromation being available  on-line is that one can piece together stories of those in cemetries. Perhaps it takes away from just imagining their lives, but personally I find it adds to the story.

Helen Cecilia Thomson, married Benjamin Bell in 1827. Her brother, James Gibson Thomson, married her sister-in-law, Grace Hamiton Bell in 1831. Benjamin died in the Isle of Man in 1843, with Helen living until she was 73 in the 1870’s.

James ran the family’s wines and spirit merchant business based at The Vaults in Leith, now the home of the Scottish Malt Whisky Society.

Simpson

Blogging, colour, urban

Another from Warriston Cemetry. This family name is well known and lives on with generations of Edinburgers. Sir James Young Simpson (1811 – 1870), or at least his surname, is best known for it’s association with Edinburgh’s principal maternity hospital. This tulip, I think – I’m not very good with flowers, almost radiated light from it’s centre, and sat within the monument that marks Simpson’s grave.

Simpson                       1/250, f/11, ISO160.

Simpson was a pioneer in the use of choloform in obstetric anaesthesia and at a time before the NHS would provide support to the poor. However even as a well to do Baronet and Obstetrician his family were not immune to the harshness of the age. The grave shows three of his children dying at ages 2, 3 and 15 years.

When Simpson died, it is reported that two thousand mourners followed the cortege, and 50,000 people lined the streets of Edinburgh.

Adam Black

colour, urban

These old cemetries are the resting palce for the entire social spectrum from a traceless mother with no name and a simple stone, through to this family, whose legacy appears in substantial stonework, the public record and in the history books. In this case, quite literally in ‘history’ books.

adam black1/200, f/5.0, ISO160

Adam Black created a publishing firm A&C Black (now part of Bloomsbury), that in his lifetime published three editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, twice served as Lord Provost of the city and was it’s MP for nine years. It’s little wonder his grave is marked with somewhat more panache than the unknown mother. But his legacy is perhaps not the most significant of Warriston’s residents. More about who that is in a couple of days.

 

Warriston Cemetry

black and white, Blogging, Uncategorized, urban

Tucked between the Water of Leith and Ferry Road is Warriston Cemetry. It is an overgrown cemetry with many ruinous stones and monuments. This was an unusual stone, simply saying “MOTHER” on a plain cross. It long ago had fallen off it’s plinth and is now embedded in the undergrowth, and there were no other clues of who mother was.

Warriston one1/250, f/5.0, ISO160

Edinburgh has a few overgrown cemetries. A number of cemetries were created under private ownership in the 19th Century. Many of these fell into disrepair during the 70’s and 80’s – all to be compulrsory purchased by the city council in the 90’s.

Allowing these sites and memorials to become so dilapidated is disrespectul, however I find them uniquely contemplative spaces.