• 1805-1813

    Riddle’s Court houses Edinburgh’s first Police Court.

  • 1827

    Edinburgh Improvement Act passed and commissioners appointed.

  • 1837

    Victoria Street and Terrace built and Riddle’s Court is given a new south elevation to fit into the early Victorian architecture. The Improvement Commissioners establish their office in Riddle’s Court.

  • 1851

    Edinburgh’s population reaches 191,303

  • 1854-1893

    During this period what today we call the Orwell Room housed the Mechanic’s Subscription Library whose purpose it was to broaden the education of working men.

  • 1859

    Cockburn Street built, providing access to Waverley Station from the High Street.

  • Education Act image


    Education Act

    The Education Act is passed – the first Act to create compulsory education in Britain.

  • 1875

    Jane Wardrop, dyer of lace and crepe lives at Riddle’s Court, as does George Hosea, a resident charged with bigamy.

  • 1881

    The 1881 Census reveals that Riddle’s Court is home to 247 residents. How many families might that have been? 40 maybe. And did this huge oven serve to cook for them all?