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THE LUCKENBOOTHS

Built around 1460, the Luckenbooths or "Locked booths" housed Edinburgh's first permanent shops.

The row of seven tenement buildings is connected to the Old Tolbooth, running parallel to St Giles.

Originally exclusive to the use of goldmiths and jewellers, they later housed tenants with a variety of trades including a baker, milliner, hairdresser and "ane chymist and druggist".

Between the south wall of this building block and the wall of the Churchyard is a narrow close called the Krames, where retailers without premises began to offer their wares around 1550-60.

Lord Cockburn described this area as "The paradise of childhood' on account of the toys, trinkets and other hardware sold at stalls along this pathway.


Allan Ramsay, famous for setting up the first circulating library in Scotland, occupied an apartment in the east end of the Luckenbooths in 1726.

Later in 1786 William Creech resided here. He was publisher to members of the Edinburgh literati, notably Robert Burns, Dugald Stewart and Adam Smith, who would congregate in his laigh shop to gossip and exchange ideas.

Creech died in 1815, two years prior to demolition of the site.
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The Luckenbooths hilighted in red
 
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