The History of Leith

May 4, 2011

The Tobooth Prison and the Luckenbooths

Situated in the very heart of the ancient city, the Tolbooth stood at the north-west corner of the parish church of St. Giles, and so close to it as to leave only a narrow footway between the projecting buttresses, while its tall and gloomy mass extended so far into the High Street, as to leave the thoroughfare at that part only 14 feet in breadth. “Reuben Butler,” says Scott, writing ere its demolition had
been decreed, “stood now before the Gothic entrance of the ancient prison, which, as is well known to all men, rears its front in the very middle of the High Street, forming, as it were, the termination to a huge pile of buildings called the Luckenbooths, which, for some inconceivable reason, our ancestors had jammed into the midst of the principal street of the town, leaving for passage a narrow
street on the north and on the south, into which the prison opens, a narrow, crooked lane winding betwixt the high and sombre walls of the Tolbooth and the adjacent houses
Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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