Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Eighteenth Century Bill Bryson Brought to Life

The letters of an English visitor to Edinburgh in 1774 will be re-created in a series of short films.

Sep 28, 2010

The films are planned as part of the on-going EWH project looking at life in Georgian Edinburgh and how the city changed with the building of the New Town.

Edward Topham visited Edinburgh over the autumn and winter of 1774-5, and during his stay he wrote letters to friends in London describing his experiences. The letters now provide a fascinating insight into everyday life in Edinburgh at the end of the 1700s, covering topics as diverse as food, manners, dancing, crime and even executions.

The six short videos will be filmed around the Old and New Towns, with an actor playing the part of Edward Topham against the backdrop of some of the most atmospheric locations in the World Heritage Site. To support the films, downloadable PDF’s will also be produced with specially commissioned artwork to help illustrate Topham’s experiences.

Topham on…haggis

“A dish not more remarkable or more disgusting to the palate than in appearance… I could scarcely help thinking that I had been served the debris from a butcher’s floor.”

Topham on…dancing reels

“It is a dance peculiarly adapted to the Scotch, who are little acquainted with the attitude of standing still.”

Topham on…the New Town

“The New Town itself has been built upon one uniform plan, which is the only means of making a city beautiful.

Topham on….Scottish ladies

“..the Scotch ladies drink more wine than an English lady could well bear; but the climate requires it…”

Topham on…Scottish manners

“I must say, in honour of the Scotch, that I never met with a more agreeable people, with more pleasing or more insinuating manners…”

Read more about Edward Topham's Letters from Edinburgh.

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