This afternoon I came across these few postcards of old Edinburgh.
Edinburgh from the West End
Edinburgh from the West End of Princes Street, 1824. Aquatint by T Sutherland, after J Gendall
I thought it would be fun to compare that image with the same view captured in Google StreetView.
Edinburgh from the West End of Princes Street, 2012 - Google StreetView
St John’s, Princes Street
St John's Chapel, Princes Street, from Castle Terrace. Coloured lithograph by Nicol after W Mason, c.1845
There wasn’t much to see in the Google StreetView of the image above: mostly trees.
Edinburgh from the Castle looking east
Edinburgh from the Castle looking east. Coloured Aquatint by T Sutherland after J Gendall, c.1824
The thing I find most astonishing about this view from Edinburgh Castle is the space once occupied by the Nor Loch, to the left of the picture. The Nor Loch was filled in and the land reclaimed to create Princes Street Gardens. The road up The Mound, and the Waverley Bridge are quite prominent in the absence of other buildings, particularly the Scottish National Gallery and the National Gallery of Scotland. And how few buildings to the south-east of the castle, south of the Old Town.
View of the Old Town from Princes Street
View of the Old Town from Princes Street, looking West. Coloured aquatint by I. Clark after A. Kay, c.1814
Back in the day, I had friends who sent me postcards. These days they either e-mail, send an expensive text, or we just chat as usual via Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger). This week’s archive postcard is from Chomas, a friend of mine from school days.
Before you read the text of the postcard, you may be interested to know that Tom was the chap that I ran over on my bike somewhere between Arisaig and Mallaig. It was his fault, he’d clumsily hit a “passing place” on the single-track road while looking at his chainset. It was making a funny noise, seemingly. But not as funny a noise as him hitting a hillock at 20 mph, coming off his bike and landing on the road right in front of me.
What could I do? I hit him, of course!
To cut a long story short, his brother delivered a replacement bike that evening and took me home, with big holes in my hands, knees and hips. It was like stigmata but in the wrong places and less holy.
I’ve a feeling that this was a holiday he took shortly after that dramatic tour; I may be completely wrong.
Having a wonderful wet holiday here in Orkney. We’ve visited quite a few of the ancient neolithic sites, gone around some of the other islands, done some cycling (with difficulty ‘cos I bent the crank on my 4-day-old chainset in a slight accident) played some golf in the rain, and gone for some cliff walks in the rain.
I’ve also done some fishing. I managed to hook and land myself a terrible 4 day cold (ever heard of it) which is just starting to subside now thanks to the help of a few (hundred) tissues.
What I think he meant was: wish you were here!
I found a box of old postcards today. Expect to see them appear on the blog through the coming months.
For starters I thought I’d share with you this postcard from my school friend Alasdair — who was always known to us as “Egg” back in the day — from a holiday he enjoyed (?) in France in 1987, the year of our ‘O’ Grades.
Above: Gouffre de Padirac (Lot) – 1. Lac de la pluie (Lake of the rain)
Just in case you wondered, “Zen” was our Staffordshire Bull Terrier (a dog with a mind of its own!); named after the computer in Blake’s 7.
Travelled to France overnight and now staying on campsite in Dordogne. The British courier on our site sits drinking outside his caravan, informing everyone who passes on his views on immigration and Arthur Scargill. Have spent much time in caves. Yesterday was Bastille Day. A very painful experience for the Royalist. The weather is extremely hot. Regards to Zen.
I particularly like his seamless transition from Arthur Scargill to caves.
I don’t collect postcards so much as acquire them, and then don’t throw them out. I’ve got loads of them in my desk drawer.
You just never know when they might come in handy. Like … erm, when you want to pretend that you are enjoying an 80s-style holiday in UstroÅ„, Poland.
I have no idea why I have that postcard. (It must have been in a booklet of postcards. Notice the torn perforations down the side.) As far as I know, I don’t know anyone who’s been on holiday in Poland; besides it’s blank on the other side. I’ve never been to Poland.
And to be honest, thanks to that postcard I now don’t have to — I now know what it’s like. It looks like a lovely, relaxed kind of place, where men can hover for 20 years, much to the amusement of bystanders around (and in) the pool.
The pool is Basen kÄ…pielowy, just in case it looked familiar.