Gladstone’s land is a fantastic but little known 17th century townhouse on lawnmarket in the heart of the old town of Edinburgh. The property was originally constructed in 1550, being extended and remodeled in 1617, which is the date given on the iconic golden eagle sign at the entrance.
Amongst many original features of the time, the property features an arcade style arched walkway, the last surviving example of such that once-adorned many of the royal mile’s properties. Arcades were a feature of the period across Europe however all other arcade frontages in Edinburgh have long been encompassed into shopfronts or demolished.
Due to the construction of the new town in the 1800’s only the poorest Edinburgh residents remained in the Old Town. The property fell into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition, but thanks to the concerted and dogged determination of locals, the National Trust for Scotland acquired it in 1934.
The interior has been completely restored and is lavishly adorned with original painted paneling, hand blown glass and small stairways and doors, a reminder of the height of 17th century people. Furniture typical of the era provides a fitting insight to how it would have felt to live at that time.
The building has seen its fair share of history and controversy over the years, including tales of disgraced highland lairds and more recently the honest business of room lets. The Georgian dining room gives a glimpse of social, commercial and financial enlightenment giving rise to the birth of the traditional afternoon tea.
Having been restored to its original glory and with many of its original features on display, today it is open for visitors to tour. A visit gives you a unique insight to live in 17th century Edinburgh and a true understanding of the historical old town.