George Square Edinburgh

George Square was built in the latter part of the eighteenth century and the architect named it after his brother, George Brown.

The Menzieses' House No 20

The Menzieses’ House No 20

It was a very sought after and upmarket address when the Old Town began to spill out of the bands of habitation lining the Royal Mile from the castle down through the Lawn Market, past St Giles and on to Holyrood and the royal park.

Yesterday, I was in George Square to park and later retrieve the car. All around was the bustle of the Fringe Festival showing little sign of being in its final hours. Even so, I spared a moment for Bella, Charles, the Menzies’ household and the other characters I created for Bella’s Betrothal.


Bella’s Betrothal


A – Z Challenge G is for George

 George is today’s pick. I could have gone with many others, like Gary, for example, but George it is.

Beloved of the Hanoverian dynasty in the UK, George is Greek in origin and means a man who works the soil or was a farmer. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen George as the name of their son and that will no doubt have a spin-off effect in the population as a whole: like William did in his own generation.

The George of George Square

The Menzieses' House No 20

The Menzieses’ House No 20


where much of the action of my Bella’s Betrothal takes place was not, however, George iii, but George the brother of architect James Brown who built it. At the turn of the nineteenth century George Square was an immensely posh place to live and some of the wonderful buildings remain, having escaped development.

It’s quite common for streets to be called after the owner of the land or its developer. Another G I have used in my books is Grosvenor. Tobias Longreach has a town-house in London’s Grosvenor Square and I’m currently back there everyday at present as I deal with the edits for Daisy’s Dilemma. Together with Lincoln’s Inn fields, Grosvenor Square is the largest residential square in London. It has been rebuilt many times, but remains a sought after address.

Do you live in a street called after its builder? Do wish you did because your local council opted for the cause celebré of the moment?

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Bella’s Betrothal: George Square Edinburgh

Greyfriars Bobby - a capital landmark

Greyfriars Bobby – a capital landmark

Posting the statue of Greyfriars Bobby is a bit of a cheat, but I know how many of you like to see the picture of an attractive hound. He sits at the top of Candlemaker Row where some of the action with Charles Lindsay’s nemesis, Graham Direlton, takes place in my new novel, Bella’s Betrothal.
Walking briskly on and not detouring into the wonderful grounds of Greyfriars Church, brings you to Charles Street.

Charles Street

Charles Street

When I was a student in the early 70s, Charles Street was a mock Tudor extravaganza with the truly wonderful Parker’s Stores on the corner. Wonderful because, if memory serves, it was an emporium of the kind I loved to rake in. I do remember buying the dress of my dreams, clinging angora in French Blue, there one Christmas time. It wasn’t long before the whole complex of little streets and lanes was demolished and the University Refectory and Health Centre erected in their place.
None of that appears in the book, but I do use Charles Street for a little verbal sparring.
It’s when we get to the square itself, however, that I feel setting achieves the status of character. I loved George Square although I never viewed it complete because the University Library already existed before I became a student. I liked the Library building and still do, but the south side of the square was demolished to provide the site. Nonetheless, the wanderer can hear the rumble of horse-drawn vehicles and feel the breeze as a thousand ghostly skirts brush past.



Could Bella have walked on these cobbles between No 20 and the gates into the gardens? It’s the sort of question places raise in my writer’s mind. No doubt someone out there knows who lived in No 20 in 1826, there are Street Directories, but Bella’s Betrothal is a fiction, so bear with me.

The Menzieses' House No 20 The Menzieses’ House No 20[/caption

BELLA’S BETROTHAL will be published on Friday 20th September by MuseItUp. Details here: