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Over the centuries many of Edinburgh's fine buildings have gone. Invasion and civil strife played their part. Some simply collapsed of old age and neglect, others were swept away in the 'improvements' of the nineteenth century. Yet more fell to the developers' swathe of destruction in the twentieth century. Few were immune as much of the medieval architectural history vanished in the Old Town; Georgian Squares were attacked; Princes Street ruined; old tenements razed in huge slum clearance drives, and once familiar and much loved buildings vanished.
Not many books will make you angry, but if you love Edinburgh, this one will. It is tragic discovering just how much of one of the World's great cities has been lost: and on occasion it is even worse knowing the reason why. You find yourself wondering if it was really necessary, for example, to demolish the huge medieval Trinity College Church so a platform at Waverley Station could be extended. On the other hand, things could have been very much worse: imagine how much less attractive Edinburgh would be today if plans to drive a motorway the length of Princes Gardens had come to fruition. Thankfully Edinburgh avoided Glasgow's sad fate of having a motorway bisecting key parts of the city centre.
Lost Edinburgh takes you on a fascinating journey into an Edinburgh that once was, and an Edinburgh that might have been. In the course of the journey so the author tells you the story of Edinburgh as seen through its buildings, both remaining and lost, and brings to life a long and complex history in a way that is truly admirable.