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Writers' Museum, Lady Stair's House, Edinburgh

Just off the Lawnmarket (a stretch of the Royal Mile which runs from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse) is Lady Stair's House (see graphic above.


This was built in 1622 for a William Grey of Pittendrum who had the words "Feare The Lord and Depart From Evil" carved above the door along with his initials and those of his wife, Geida Smith (WG &GS). William Grey installed an early form of burglar defence in his house - the height of each of the main steps is uneven, making it difficult to run up and down them! 


The building was later bought by Lady Stair in 1719 and the building now bears her name. The exterior of the building was much modified in the 19th century with a balconied tower and stonework.


It now belongs to the City of Edinburgh and has been turned into a Writers' Museum dedicated to three of Scotland's most famous writers - Robert Burns (who stayed in a house opposite during his first visit to Edinburgh in 1786), Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. It is crammed with pictures, etchings, busts and memorabilia of the three writers, including bibles, pipes and walking sticks. From time to time the Museum runs special exhibitions on one of the three writers.


Items relating to the great Scottish writer and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) range from a printing press and rocking horse to published works.


Scott is best-known for his historical novels, including Waverley and Rob Roy. The Writers’ Museum’s Sir Walter Scott collection covers his literary works and private life. Visitors can see the printing press on which the Waverley Novels were produced, and a first edition of his novel Waverley. A poignant portrait by Sir Francis Grant shows Scott writing his last novel, Count Robert of Paris, in 1831.


The Museum displays Scott’s dining table, used in his Edinburgh home, as part of an elegant re-created dining room. Less elegant, but equally personal, is the rocking horse Scott played with as a boy. His chess set and private letters are also on display.


Regrettably, you are not allowed to take photographs inside the Museum.

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