Hundreds of shoppers queue up on Princes Street for the annual sales in July 1963.
Hundreds of shoppers queue up on Princes Street for the annual sales in July 1963.

Edinburgh's Princes Street: 25 images of the Capital's main shopping street in the 50s and 60s

It’s one of the Capital’s busiest streets, situated in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, and in the 1950s and 1960s it was the location of many much-loved shops and memorable events.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 12:14 pm

Princes Street was part of the original Edinburgh New Town designed by James Craig in 1767 and was originally intended to be a residential street.

Named after the sons of King George III, it wasn’t the desirable area it is today – the proximity of the recently-drained Nor’ Loch, that took up much of the area where Princes Street Gardens is today, meant it was a initially a fairly smelly and dirty part of town.

It wasn’t until Victorian times that shops, hotels and businesses started to move in and some of the most recognisable landmarks were added, including the Debenhams building that was built in 1884 as a Conservative Club and the former Jenners department store, built in 1895.

By the time of the 1950s and 1960s it was very much the place to be seen – and to shop – and was also used for an array of colourful marches and processions.

Here are 25 pictures to take you back to those days.

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