Life in Auld Reekie - Noon
"Then Bus’ness, weighty Bus’ness comes;
The Trader glours; he doubts, he hums:
The Lawyers eke to Cross repair,
Their Wigs to shaw, and toss an Air;
While busy Agent closely plies,
And a’ his kittle Cases tries"
Auld Reekie by Robert Fergusson
In 1756 the old Mercat Cross was taken away to make the street wider, but the area still remained a place to do business. In the old city, business of all sorts was conducted in the street, coffee houses and taverns nearby.
From October to July the supreme Scottish court, the Court of Session, sat in old Parliament House. The court opened at 10 o'clock, and the hopeful lawyers would pace the hall and precincts hoping for a brief from a client.
Edinburgh had many thriving merchants thanks to the port of Leith bringing goods from across the world into the city. In 1753 a new and elegant Exchange was built for them, as part of the plan to improve the city. The merchants would have none of it, and still did their trading in the open air.