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Planning for the Picturesque: Thomas Hamilton's New Roads to the Old Town, 1817–1858

Planning for the Picturesque: Thomas Hamilton's New Roads to the Old Town, 1817–1858 Matthew Williams The culture of ‘Improvement’ in eighteenth-century Edinburgh survived well into the first half of the nineteenth with a new emphasis on the picturesque potential of buildings, roads and bridges. Thomas Hamilton (1784–1858) was a crucial figure throughout this later period. Hamilton’s most important contributions involved the new approaches to the Old Town by George IV Bridge and King’s Bridge. He probably produced his first plan for the south approach in 1817, later collaborating with William Burn to produce a unified scheme for both approaches in 1824. He also worked on proposals for the Mound in 1822 and 1830, making a substantial contribution to a debate on the future of this area which also involved both Alexander Trotter and Alexander Nasmyth. All of Hamilton’s proposals took considerable inspiration from Picturesque theory and from similar developments elsewhere, notably those of John Nash in London. While King’s Bridge was completed with little difficulty, George IV Bridge became controversial and could only be finished by heavily compromising the design, especially that for the junction of the new road with the Royal Mile. The uncompleted scheme involved a grand new library for the Faculty of Advocates at the junction which, had http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architectural Heritage Edinburgh University Press

Planning for the Picturesque: Thomas Hamilton's New Roads to the Old Town, 1817–1858

Architectural Heritage , Volume 20 (1): 33 – Nov 1, 2009

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, 2009
Subject
Historical Studies
ISSN
1350-7524
eISSN
1755-1641
DOI
10.3366/E1350752409000181
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Matthew Williams The culture of ‘Improvement’ in eighteenth-century Edinburgh survived well into the first half of the nineteenth with a new emphasis on the picturesque potential of buildings, roads and bridges. Thomas Hamilton (1784–1858) was a crucial figure throughout this later period. Hamilton’s most important contributions involved the new approaches to the Old Town by George IV Bridge and King’s Bridge. He probably produced his first plan for the south approach in 1817, later collaborating with William Burn to produce a unified scheme for both approaches in 1824. He also worked on proposals for the Mound in 1822 and 1830, making a substantial contribution to a debate on the future of this area which also involved both Alexander Trotter and Alexander Nasmyth. All of Hamilton’s proposals took considerable inspiration from Picturesque theory and from similar developments elsewhere, notably those of John Nash in London. While King’s Bridge was completed with little difficulty, George IV Bridge became controversial and could only be finished by heavily compromising the design, especially that for the junction of the new road with the Royal Mile. The uncompleted scheme involved a grand new library for the Faculty of Advocates at the junction which, had

Journal

Architectural HeritageEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2009

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