This thesis is based on an historical study of the private
pleasure gardens of Edinburgh New Town, the first of which was formed
in the reign of George III and the last some hundred years later in
the reign of Queen Victoria. Over 40 such amenity gardens - intended
primarily for the use and benefit of the residents whose houses overlooked
them were created covering in total nearly 100 acres (40 ha): with
few exceptions they remain in the hands of local residents.
A general introduction and background to these gardens is provided
in the first Section of the thesis, while the next and subsequent
sections trace in greater detail the development and history of those
gardens contained within the first and second stages of the New Town.
By concentrating on these two periods it has been possible to achieve
a greater and more rewarding insight into the subtle, but up until now
little understood relationship between the building of Georgian
Edinburgh and the evolution of the open spaces which so successfully
The pleasure gardens thus included - St. Andrew's Square,
Charlotte Square, East and West Princes Street gardens, the 3 Queen Street
gardens, Drummond Place, Royal Circus and lastly Bellevue Crescent
provide in themselves a good and interesting mixture in terms of size,
shape, age, design, management, use and varying fortune: some have
survived better than others, and one or two - notably the Princes Street
gardens have been repossessed as public ornamental spaces.
To have covered all the pleasure gardens in such depth was beyond
the scope of this thesis although several of those excluded possess a history equally as diverse and interesting. Where appropriate, however,
reference has been made to them in the text, and to aid comparison a short outline of each has been added in Appendix 2.