Edinburgh World Heritage - Life in Auld Reekie - Edina's Roses

Life in Auld Reekie - Edina's Roses

"Then, with an Inundation Big as
The Burn that 'neath the Nore Loch Brig is,
They kindly shower Edina’s Roses,
To Quicken and Regale our Noses"
Auld Reekie by Robert Fergusson

Edina’s Roses: the contents of a chamber pot

This is something that all visitors to Edinburgh at the time agreed on - at times the city smelt pretty bad.

By long held tradition the contents of residents chamber pots were emptied into the street, and scavengers employed by the council would clear up the mess and take it out of the city.

Mrs Piozzi, visiting Edinburgh in 1789, was shocked that, "Every thing most odious is brought & thrown out before the owners door at 10 o'clock of an Evening without Shame or Sorrow - Carts being provided to carry it off before Morning."

Edward Topham who visited the city in 1775 noted that the real danger lay not in the open High Street, but in the more hidden closes where: "Many an elegant suit of clothes has been spoiled; many a powdered, well-dressed maccaroni sent home for the evening..."


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