Visitor Attraction: The Real Mary Kings Close
Private/Public/Voluntary Sector: __Private/Public_______________Location:2 Warriston's Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PGStar Grading: Opening Times:March 30th - October 31stMonday - Sunday10 - 21.00 (last tour)November 1st - March 29thSunday - Thursday10.00 - 17.00 (last tour)Friday & Saturday10.00 - 21.00 (last tour)Prices:Adult £12.75Child (5 - 15 years) £7.25*Senior Citizen £11.25Student (ID required) £11.25* not suitable for children under 5History of The CloseFor years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries, with blood curdling tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die. Research and archaeological evidence have revealed a truer story, rooted in fact and – as is so often the case – more fascinating than any amount of fiction.. Closes were named after the most prominent citizen or the most commonly found business to be on the close. Documents show that Mary King was a prominent businesswoman in the 1630’s. At that time she was a widow and a mother of four, who traded in fabrics and sewed for a living. It was highly unusual for a close to be named after a woman at that time, indicating Mary’s standing in the town.Conceived wisdom has it that the City Chamber's site was selected because of the ruinous and burnt-out state of the High Street Closes on the chosen spot. This was true of parts of Mary King's at the High Street end - but only on its eastern side. Mary King's Close-head (see map) was still the site of the Edinburgh Fishmonger Company's Oyster Bar which advertised opening hours from eight in the morning till ten at night, selling Lobster and fresh and pickled Oysters and, on the western side, of a substantial eight+ (garrets) storey tenement, which the City could not buy outright and remained in place, dominating the City Chambers quadrangle, until its final demolition in 1897....
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