The Political Economy of Place

  • David McCrone
  • Brian Elliott
Part of the Edinburgh Studies in Culture and Society book series (ESCS)


Visitors to Edinburgh in the late eighteenth century were generally struck by three things: by the appalling squalor, the great density of population pressed into the multi-storey tenements, and the close proximity to each other of the different social strata. The social ranks were not segregated by street or district at this time, but simply by the level of the tenement they occupied. The wealthier and nobler families lived in the middle floors high enough to be spared the worst of the smells which filled the street and lower apartments, but not so far up the stairs as to make the climb wearisome. Smout cites a contemporary report which revealed that:

one tenement in the High Street had a fishmonger’s house on the ground floor, a respectable lodging-house on the second floor, the rooms of the dowager Countess of Balcarres on the third floor, Mrs Buchan of Kelly living above that, the Misses Elliots, milliners and mantuamakers above that, and the garrets occupied by a great variety of tailors and other tradesmen (Smout, 1969:370).


Political Economy White Collar Worker Property Market Investment Company Royal Commission 
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Copyright information

© David McCrone and Brian Elliott 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David McCrone
    • 1
  • Brian Elliott
    • 2
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK
  2. 2.University of BritishColumbiaCanada

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