Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Historic Edinburgh: Fleshmarket Close

Edinburgh is the history junkie's candy store. From its winding cobbled alleys (known as closes in Edinburgh) to the towering castle, crouched on a heap of volcanic rock in the city centre, every way you turn you run smack bang into a piece of history as perfectly preserved as a fly in amber.

I live and work in Edinburgh so I have an unparalleled opportunity to nose about its dark corners turning up delicious titbits for the discerning writer of historical to nibble on. However, as I live and work in Edinburgh it's all too easy for me to become inured to its delights and to hurry along my narrow commute paying zero attention to the treasures all around.

Well, no longer. In the spirit of sharing with my historical romance writing brethren I intend to capture some of this historical goodness; to provide a cornucopia of settings and inspiration for like minded readers and writers to enjoy. Armed with an iPhone and a pair of short-sighted eyed, I will bring Edinburgh to you, brick by historic brick.

So here is the first view: Fleshmarket Close.

If you recognise the name you're probably an Ian Rankin fan. Fleshmarket Close is the 15th of his Inspector Rebus series and a suitably creepy name for a thriller.

In actuality a flesh market was a butcher's market - and in previous lives this particular close was home to an abattoir, a fish and a vegetable market.

I love its sense of atmosphere - I can easily imagine its steeply sloped floor streaked and slippery with blood; the stench of meat and crushed cabbage leaves under foot; the tall walls pressing in as the crowds shouldered past each other on market day.

Nowadays Fleshmarket Close is redolent with the equally unfragrant scent of urine from inebriated folks who stumble down the close on the way to Waverley station, but it's also home to the Halfway House - a cosy and award winning pub serving real ale and traditional Scottish food. A great place to stop off and plot your novel!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Dorit Fuhg said...

I think this is the most interesting story about Fleshmarket Close out of all the Google search results. Great post. Great blog.
I have a photo blog with mainly Scotland pics and some visitors ask alsorts of questions, like why is that lane in Edinburgh called like that. Thanks to you I can come back to them with interesting answers.
If it's ok with you I may link to your post.
Kind regards,

Meg McNulty said...

Hi Dorit, I'd be delighted if you did! I'm glad it was useful to you :)

Dorit Fuhg said...

Done. Glad I found your blog. I had a brief read of some post and was very entertained. What a writing talent you have. Let me know when your novel is out and where to get it from.

Meg McNulty said...

Hi Dorit, how lovely of you! Please stop by any time :-). I need to start touting my novel... some way off publication yet.

Dorit Fuhg said...

Let me know when it's out. I can help to spread the word. And of course I want to read it too!

Meg McNulty said...

:-) Thank you!