Virtual crowd gathers to look back at ‘lost city’

A picture of Edinburgh Castle from the 'Lost Edinburgh' facebook page
A picture of Edinburgh Castle from the 'Lost Edinburgh' facebook page
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A WEBSITE dedicated to Edinburgh’s forgotten architectural past has been taking the internet by storm.

“Lost Edinburgh” has received more than 13,000 “likes” from nostalgic Facebook users in just one week.

Set up by friends Mike Robertson and David McLean, Lost Edinburgh features photographs going back decades, and paints a picture of how the city has changed over the years.

Despite having no architectural or historical background, David and Mike – old school friends from James Gillespie’s – have been collecting snaps of old Edinburgh from various sources over the past few years.

Mike, 25, a musician who lives in the city centre, said: “What we are trying to do is put together a ‘before and after’ of Edinburgh landmarks and places. It was something that we used to do ourselves – just going around Edinburgh with old photographs and taking them to the place they had been taken and seeing how it had changed.

“We thought about setting up a website, and then the decision to set up a Facebook page was a totally spur of the moment thing.

“The whole thing has snowballed – it’s moved a lot faster than we had ever expected.

“I think Lost Edinburgh has proved so popular because it’s an original idea and, of course, there’s the nostalgia element.”

The page, which has been flooded by contributions, features albums of areas including Portobello, Princes Street and Leith Street, masses of uncategorised snaps from all over the city and even etchings and paintings.

There is also a discussion page, where Edinburgh Facebook users have been sharing their memories.

Hotel worker David Robertson, 25, who lives in Roseburn, said: “One of the things that got me interested in the history of Edinburgh was that my grandad, Andrew Boyd, has worked in a few places which aren’t there any more.

“He played the piano at Mackies and Co, where Next is now on Princes Street, and he also worked at the Palace Picture House and Princes Street Station.”

But David admits he was astounded when he saw just how successful Lost Edinburgh had become.

“I didn’t expect anywhere near the amount of people who ‘liked’ us to do so in just in week – I thought maybe 100 people or so might be interested.

“We really just wanted to give people a window into the past and hoped that people might learn something from it.

“Sometimes you walk down Princes Street and wonder what was there before that horrible building. I think Lost Edinburgh gives people a good insight into exactly what was there before. The site is constantly under construction – much like Edinburgh itself.”

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com