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‘Blessings as well as Beauties’:
The Edinburgh New Town Gardens

Connie Byrom

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Subject: Garden history
Quarto, 300 pages
Illustrated in colour and b/w (distributed)
ISBN: 1 86232 191 4
Hardback £30

The pleasure gardens attached to the New Town of Edinburgh, the subscription gardens, are sometimes referred to as pleasure grounds, or simply as the New Town Gardens. Never before have they been considered together or in relation to the building developments to which they are attached. Created for the benefit of those living adjacent or close by, their contribution to the overall appearance of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town and its later Victorian additions is nevertheless considerable. As we pass them by, the sight of green refreshes, and the rhythm of the seasonal change never fails to excite. The gardens did not evolve in the neat way that maps and plans suggest, but involved a great deal of time, effort and negotiating skills from a large number of people; and on occasions a fair bit of fighting to preserve their patch of open space for the benefit of the wider community and the lasting adornment of Scotland’s capital.

Author: Connie Byrom, who lives in Edinburgh, is an independent researcher and a lecturer in local history circles. This book is based on her doctoral dissertation completed at Edinburgh University.