John Horsburgh

1835 - 1924

Princes Street Gardens

Studio

131 Princes Street

John Horsburgh had a photographic studio at 131 West Princes Street from 1868 until 1898.  When he moved into these premises, the proprietors of premises in this part of the street owned West Princes Street Gardens.

John Horsburgh's studio and the other buildings were on the north side of Princes Street.  The gardens were on the side side of the street, filling the valley between Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle.

The view below is approximately as John Horsburgh would have seen it from his front window in Princes Street.  The fountain was cast in France, transported to Edinburgh in 122 pieces and installed in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872.

West Princes Street Gardens

Post carrd of the Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle in the style of an oil painting

  For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

In 1876, John Horsburgh was a member of the Committee that authorised the hand over of the gardens from the proprietors of Princes Street Premises to the City of Edinburgh.

Transfer of Ownership

In 1921, John wrote to Edinburgh Council asking for documents relating to the transfer of ownership in 1876.  He received the following memorandum in return. (The letter below is followed by a transcription):

John Horsburgh  -  Document relating to the transfer of ownership of West Princes Street Gardens to Edinburgh City Council in 1876

   Reproduced with acknowledgement to Margaret Urquhart

 

Transcription

Memorandum anent the

Transference of West Princes

Street Gardens to the City

At a General Meeting of Proprietors of Houses and Areas in Princes Street, between Hanover Street on the east and Hope Street on the west, held within the Alma Hotel 112 Princes Street on 10th December 1875 (when Mr John Horsburgh, Photographer, Proprietor, No 131 Princes Street, with seventeen others and Mr Christopher Douglas WS, their Clerk were present) proposals by the Corporation for the Proprietors  to relinquish their rights in the Gardens, so that they might be opened to the public, were declined and the Committee was authorised to entertain any fair and reasonable proposition by the Town Council which they consider equitable and which would ensure the proper preservation of the Gardens - particularly of the fine row of Elm Trees on the upper walk.

Under The Edinburgh Improvement Act 1876 and in terms of an Agreement entered into between the Corporation and the Proprietors in Princes Street the Gardens passed into the hands of the Corporation by a Deed of Acceptance, Conveyance and Renunciation dated 20th October 1876.

 

Payment for the Transfer

The following note, also received from the council demonstrates the generosity of the Princes Street proprietors in this transaction.

John Horsburgh  -  Document relating to the transfer of ownership of West Princes Street Gardens to Edinburgh City Council in 1876

   Reproduced with acknowledgement to Margaret Urquhart

Transcription

Payment for Transfer of Ownership

"No monetary consideration was paid by the City and out of their funds the Proprietors paid the sum of 500 to provide a band stand and the balance, 83-12/8d, was handed to the Royal Infirmary on 25th February 1880."

 

Here is the bandstand that was installed in West Princes Street Gardens.

The Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens

Patrick Thomson postcard  -  Princes Street Gardens  -  Bandstand

  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

This bandstand survived for about fifty five years, until it was replaced by the Ross Bandstand, paid for by a donation of 5,000 from W H Ross, Chairman of Distillers Co Ltd.

Now, in 2005, consideration is being given to replacing the Ross Bandstand.

 

Horsburgh
 

Index to Pages

   

 

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