Life in Auld Reekie - Morning
"Rakin their Ein, the Servant Lasses
Early begin their Lies and Clashes;
Ilk tells her Friend of saddest Distress,
That still she brooks frae scouling Mistress;
And wi’ her Joe in Turnpike Stair
She’d rather snuff the stinking Air"
Auld Reekie by Robert Fergusson
A turnpike stair was a long spiral staircase leading to the many different dwellings in a tenement building. In the taller tenements you might find the richer classes living on the middle floors, with poorer people above and in the basement.
Most people lived off one of the hundreds of closes and wynds, the narrow passageways either side of the High Street. Tucked away from the bustle and noise of the main street, residents could have a suprising amount of privacy with their own gardens or courtyards.
The New Town was designed very differently. Here the different social classes were divided, with the main wide streets for the rich and narrow lanes for traders, servants and craftsmen. Unlike the old city, your address gave a good indication of your social class.