Edinburgh, Scotland


Edinburgh Castle
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeEdinburgh Castle - Credit: David Clay, Flickr


Princes Street Gardens and Scott Monument
Creative Commons AttributionPrinces Street Gardens and Scott Monument - Credit: Kevin Gibbons, Flickr

Edinburgh (Gaelic: Dùn Èideann) is the capital of Scotland. The city has a population of just under 478,000.

Situated in pleasant coastal and rural scenery, it is considered one of the most attractive of European cities. To the north is the estuary of the River Forth; east is the stretch of the North Sea known as the Firth of Forth; south are the Pentland Hills; and to the west lies the most densely-populated area of Scotland, known as the Central Belt.

Because of its distinctive architecture, rich history and vibrant cultural life, Edinburgh is an extremely popular tourist destination. Attractions include Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyrood House, Princes Street, St. Giles' Cathedral, and the Scott Monument.

It is also the location of many important Scottish institutions, including the Scottish Parliament Building, the National Gallery of Scotland, the National Museum of Scotland, and three universities.

Amongst its most popular cultural attractions are the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, both of which take place annually in August.

Further out, Edinburgh has a number of distinctive and intriguingly named districts. These include: Gogarloch, Craiglockhart, Corstorphine, Burdiehouse and Joppa.

Listen on Spotify to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo


Holyrood Palace
Creative Commons AttributionHolyrood Palace - Credit: John Lindie, Flickr
National Gallery of Scotland
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNational Gallery of Scotland - Credit: LunaMoth116, Flickr
McEwan Hall, University of Edinburgh
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMcEwan Hall, University of Edinburgh - Credit: Paul Stainthorpe, Flickr
German parade float (probably for May 1st celebrations) 1930s
Public DomainGerman parade float (probably for May 1st celebrations) 1930s - Credit: Paul Walde, Wikimedia Commons

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is set in the 1930s, a fairly tumultuous period in history both at an international level and within Britain.

In Italy and Germany, the rise of Fascism and Nazism were only exacerbated by increasing worldwide support for Communism (inspired by events in Russia's Soviet Socialist Republic) and Socialism.

Poster from the early days of the Spanish Civil War (1936)
Public DomainPoster from the early days of the Spanish Civil War (1936) - Credit: unknown

Opposing ideologies and expansionist policies sparked various conflicts during this period, including the Abyssinia Crisis, the Spanish Civil War and, eventually, World War II.

Russian sculptor, Ivan Shadr, at work (1930s)
GNU Free Documentation LicenseRussian sculptor, Ivan Shadr, at work (1930s) - Credit: Mikhail Evstafiev, Wikimedia Commons

Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the USA and most European countries entered a period of prolonged economic recession known as the Great Depression, the effects of which were felt throughout the 1930s. Unemployment levels in Britain reached a peak in 1933, when almost 3 million people were out of work.

Cultural life, of course, went on. Novels published during the 1930s include Vile Bodies (1930) by Evelyn Waugh, Tender is the Night (1934) by F.Scott Fitzgerald, and Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) by George Orwell, while  films of the period include All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Duck Soup (1933) and  Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).