The Magdalen Chapel in the Cowgate escaped demolition. Built during the sixteenth century the building was occupied by the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society.
The illustration showing the houses in the Cowgate opposite South Gray’s Close was drawn by Mrs J Stewart Smith who decided to record the buildings to be demolished under the civic planning project with pen, pencil and camera.
John Craig was appointed royal chaplain to Mary, Queen of Scots in 1561. The minister owned a house in the Cowgate which was demolished under the civic planning project.
The Earl of Argyll owned a house which stood in the courtyard of the Mint.
Originally situated close to Holyroodhouse the Mint was moved to Edinburgh Castle in 1559. It was moved again in 1574 to the Cowgate, where it operated until the Act of Union in 1707. The Mint was demolished under the civic improvement plan in 1877.
Todrick or Todrig’s Wynd connected the Cowgate to the High Street. The street was demolished under the civic improvement plan.
The house owned by Cardinal Beaton which dated back to the early sixteenth century was demolished in 1874 when the Cowgate was being cleared under the city improvement act. Many of the houses belonged to the upper class. When they moved to the New Town the interiors of the properties were divided by partitions and let out to working class citizens.
The east side of the Cowgate was the first area to be redeveloped under the ‘City Improvement Act’ in 1868. An outschool attached to Heriot’s was built in the area when the condemned buildings were demolished.
The city’s officer for health Dr Littlejohn produced a report on the city which provided the basis for the civic improvement plan.
The Smith’s Land disaster resulted in William Chambers’ aim to demolish the condemned property in the centre of the city and build new streets and tenements. The civic improvement plan got under way when the publisher was elected Lord Provost of Edinburgh in 1865.