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Georgian New Town – an Edinburgh case study

George Street, Edinburgh New Town, 1829

Edinburgh played an important role in the social, economic and political history of Scotland. Many of the trends discernible in the growth of Edinburgh in the eighteenth century, particularly the building of the New Town from 1766 onwards, are mirrored by developments elsewhere in Britain.

The development of the New Town of Edinburgh also played an important role in the history of RBS. The early growth of the Bank, following its establishment in 1727, was closely linked to the political, social and economic life of the capital city in which it was founded. The laying out of the elegant squares and broad boulevards of the New Town not only increased the prestige and importance of the city as a whole, but also led to a concentration of many of Scotland’s wealthiest and most powerful families within close reach of the Bank. Today the registered office of RBS is still in one of the New Town’s finest Georgian mansion houses and its archives include a diverse range of primary and secondary sources of considerable value to any study of the development of Georgian Edinburgh.

This resource examines the development of Edinburgh during the Georgian period. Comparisons can be made with Georgian towns and cities across Britain, such as Bath and London, and with similar population shifts in other eras, such as the Victorian growth of Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham.

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