25 photos that chart the history of the old St James Centre in Edinburgh

With the £1bn St James complex taking shape, we take a look back at the shopping centre's history.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 17:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 17:20 pm
main pic

From a Prime Minister's visits to a 90s refurbishment, how well do you know the St James Centre?

A traffic warden directs the traffic in Leith Street Edinburgh in April 1969. The building on right is now all demolished and replaced by St James Centre.
Buildings in Leith Street Edinburgh were demolished to make way for the St James Centre in July 1974.
The designation map (plans) for the development of St James' Square (would become St James Centre) in Edinburgh, April 1964.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Work continues on the St James Centre in June 1975.
Work continues on the St James Square development (later to be called St James Centre) in 1971. Picture taken looking in to Leith Street from the junction with Waterloo Place and Princes Street.
The first section of the 100,000 footbridge linking the St James centre with Calton Hill being manoeuvred into position by a 200 ton crane in June 1975.
Shops in Princes Street Edinburgh were closing down regularly in 1981, due to a combination of high rates and poor trade. This branch of John Collier relocated to the cheaper St James Centre.
The Queen and Lord Provost John Miller outside St James Centre in Edinburgh in July 1975. The picture was taken after Queen opened New St Andrews House.
Exterior shot of the St James Centre in 1974.
Work is almost done on the St James Centre in 1973.
Conservative MP Margaret Thatcher visits the St James Centre on her first visit to Scotland as the Conservative leader in February 1975.
Looking over St James Centre at the top of Leith Street, from Calton Hill, September 1985.
Edinburgh's Cockburn Association urged the District Council to draw up a shortlist of ugly modern buildings which deserved to be demolished in July 1991 - and the nominees are ... the St James Centre.
Prime Minister John Major is mobbed by photographers and the Press during a visit to the St James Centre in Edinburgh, September 1992.
The St James Centre was voted one of the 'Seven Horrors of Scotland'
The St James Centre was home to Wilkies, Topshop and Timpsons.There will be 85 new shops and 20 new restaurants inside the new development.
The St James Centre shopping centre at the east end of Princes Street Edinburgh, undergoing refurbishment in January 1992.
Exterior of the St James after the refurbishment in 1992.
Interior of the St James Centre shopping centre at the east end of Princes Street, after refurbishment in January 1992.
The refurbishment of the interior in 1992.
Exterior of the St James Centre shopping centre at the east end of Princes Street after refurbishment in January 1992.
Inside the centre in 2002.
American scientist Dr Cyril Isenberg makes a giant bubble at the St James Centre, during the Edinburgh International Science Festival 1993.
The St James Centre and footbridge in 2002.
After being voted one of the ugliest buildings in the city, plans were drawn up to demolish the St James Centre.