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General view of Playhouse Close and Old Playhouse Close at 194, 196 and 198 Canongate, Edinburgh, from N.

DP 160529

Description General view of Playhouse Close and Old Playhouse Close at 194, 196 and 198 Canongate, Edinburgh, from N.

Date 20/8/2013

Collection RCAHMS

Catalogue Number DP 160529

Category On-line Digital Images

Scope and Content This is a view of the 17th-century, five-bayed, two-storeyed plus attic and garrett tenement surrounding Old Playhouse Close on the Canongate. The tenement was restored keeping its traditional character in 1956-7 by architects Alexander Esme Gordon (1910-93) & William Gordon Dey (1911-97). The attic dormers have pedimented, finialled gables while the garrett dormers, or storm windows, have plain timbered gables. All windows retain their traditional multi-paned sash and case style. The central arched pend, Old Playhouse Close, led to the first theatre in Edinburgh, the Playhouse, which was established here in 1747 by a well-known London actor, Mr John Ryan. It is believed that the dormers in the attic and the garrett lit the dressing rooms for the theatre. The theatre continued to operate until 1769, though did not finally close until 1786. There was a great deal of opposition to theatres in the 18th century from the Church of Scotland and the City Magistrates of Edinburgh who believed it would be a bad influence on the townsfolk. The close was also home to the city hangman, the last of whom, John High, died in 1817. The founder of Heriots school and hospital, George Heriot lived in this tenement in 1856, and Daniel Defoe is thought to have worked here as a secret agent for the English Government at the time of the Treaty of Union in 1707.


File Format (TIF) Tagged Image File Format bitmap

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Licence Type: Full

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