The Nor’ Loch

The Auld Toun Blog explores Edinburgh’s stories and gives updates about our latest news.

The Auld Toun Blog explores Edinburgh’s stories and gives updates about our latest news.

You may have taken a stroll through Princes Street Gardens on a summer’s evening, but did you know it was a loch?

IMG_3812The Nor’ Loch was originally a marsh and in 1640 was flooded by King James III, in order to add to the Castle’s defences.

As Edinburgh grew in density, the Loch became more an more polluted. It was used for smuggling, dumping and allegedly, disposing of bodies and drowning witches.

In the 19th century, the Loch was drained to make way for Waverley train station and to deal with what had become, quite a disgusting body of water. On draining the Nor’ Loch, several skeletons were found, including two in a wooden box, allegedly of a brother and sister who were thrown in the Loch as punishment for incest.

In 1820, just as Burke and Hare were committing their terrible crimes, Princes Street Gardens was opened. If you take a walk today, you can see the shape and depth of the space and imagine a Loch right in the middle of Edinburgh!

Lost Edinburgh: The Nor’ Loch

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