- The name of Mary King's Close is believed to have originated from the property owner & advocate to Mary Queen of Scots, Alexander King.
- Alexander King had a daughter called Mary.
- This 17th century close (one of the many underground streets) was built over during the modernisation of the old Edinburgh town.
- The close actually consists of a number of closes which were originally narrow streets with tenement houses on either side.
- The lower floors acted as the foundation for The Royal Exchange (built in 1753), now The City Chambers.
- The Close is located in the Edinburgh Royal Mile.
- During World War II the underground vaults were used as an air-raid shelter.
- The Mary King Close has a reputation of being haunted, with one ghost of a little girl 'Annie' becoming a local celebrity.
- It is said that she had lost her favourite doll, so now there is now a room full of gifts left by visitors for her.
- Mary King's Close is now a commercial tourist attraction re-opened to the public in April 2003 and set out as an historically accurate example of life in Edinburgh between the 16th & 19th centuries.
- Plague broke out during 1645 probably coming via the port of Leith from Europe.
- The plague epidemic initially took hold in Edinburgh including Mary Kings Close.
- There is a myth that the local council decided to try and contain the plague by incarcerating the suffers in this small community by bricking up the close for several years.
- The consequence was that those inside the close were left to die.
- It is likely that this explains why the close was nicknamed 'street of sorrows'.
- The plague in Edinburgh generally was treated with a well organised quarantine, as a result of much experience from previous outbreaks.
- Suffers indicated their illness by showing a small white flag in the window of their home.
- Essential supplies were then delivered to the suffers daily.
- The plague doctor would also make regular visits to the suffers for drainage of bubos.
- John Paulitious, Edinburgh’s first official plague doctor, actually died from the plague himself. and was he replaced by Dr George Rae on 13 June 1645.
- For his work Dr George Rae (pictured) eventually received a yearly pension of £1,200 Scots.
The Real Mary Kings Close before the makeover:
Mary Kings Close (Visitor Information Video):
Professor Malcolm Casadaban (1949-2009, RIP)
Plague Doctor (Medical History)
Black Death (Bubonic Plague)
Bubonic Plague Famous Deaths
The Real Mary Kings Close (Edinburgh)
Image Credit - Dr Rae The Real Mary King's Close (Public Domain)
Image Credit - Mary King Close Model by Shadowgate (cc)
The Real Mary King’s Close
2 Warriston’s Close
Edinburgh EH1 1PG
Tel: 0845 070 6244
Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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