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Whose Town? Victorian Edinburgh

Whose Town? Victorian Edinburgh
Whose Town? Victorian Edinburgh
Whose Town? was an educational resource built on the heritage collections of the City of Edinburgh. It was developed by Edinburgh City Libraries in partnership with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries and Edinburgh City Archives. The resource was launched in 2011 and unfortunately is no longer available in its original format, however, we have created exhibitions here on Capital Collections to provide schools with access to even more material and to allow a wider audience access to the fascinating stories told in Whose Town?

We are also working on recreating the life stories as digital trails on Our Town Stories.

Whose Town? looks at Edinburgh from 1850 - 1959 to discover the city's past through the lives of the people who lived there. We have used people who lived in Victorian times, at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the Second World War and in the Fifties. There are fourteen lives to discover as well as exhibitions about each of the four eras.

Victorian Edinburgh
Queen Victoria reigned from 1837-1901 having assumed the throne at the age of 18. By the middle of Queen Victoria's reign, Edinburgh was a city transformed - from the medieval Old Town confined to the Castle Rock, it had spilled across the surrounding land in a series of developments that became known as the New Town.

Many families still lived in great poverty, particularly in the Old Town. By the end of the Victorian era there was a growing recognition of the problem and plans were being drawn up to provide better housing for the poorer classes. Much of the work in the city revolved around manufacturing industries such as distilleries; engineering works; rubber works; biscuit factories; paper mills and publishing houses, and for the upper classes, banking and insurance.

The Victorian period was a time of great change. There were huge advancements in industry and science and significant cultural and political progress. This is reflected in developments in Edinburgh such as the introduction of the telephone in 1880; electric trams replacing horse drawn ones from 1887; and the completion of the Forth Rail Bridge in 1890.

By the end of the 19th century, Edinburgh was beginning to consume the villages surrounding it, growing ever bigger. In 1841 the population of Edinburgh was 56,336, but by 1891 it was 269,407 (today the population is 448,624).

Discover the people who lived in Victorian Edinburgh in separate online exhibitions:
Florence Morham who grew up in the wealthy Grange area
Levi Prinski, a boy who arrived destitute and alone on the streets of Edinburgh
Robert Louis Stevenson who spent his childhood and student days in Edinburgh.

Whose town? was supported by funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund.